In 2013 the way personal injury claims are funded and paid for changed as a result of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. The act substantially altered the amount of legal expenses that lawyers can recover from the losing party and greatly altered the process of ‘no win no fee’ that solicitors have used for several years to make sure that victims of carelessness get their rightful damages.
In the new rules Mercury Legal Online will continue to fight for the rights of those hurt or injured through no-fault of their own, without any risk to yourself. The latest rules can be confusing and difficult to understand but be assured that once you speak to us you will not have to pay any money whatsoever up front, and even if your case is unsuccessful by no fault of your own you’ll never be required to pay anything to us.
Many in the legal sector believe that the act will deny innocent accident and injury victims access to justice as firms will not survive financially and indeed we have already observed a few firms either closing down permanently or else no longer running personal injury cases. Rest assured that we are not going anywhere and will ensure that you get the help and advice you may need when you need it most.
What do the new changes mean to you?
To begin with there is some good news. Under the act all personal injury awards for claims accepted after the April 1st 2013 will be raised by ten percent.
A big difference you will notice will be in relation to the funding options we offer you when we take your case, and the way we deal with our expenses when your claim is settled successfully:-
Private client funding – this has always been offered to our clients and although we do make people aware of it, it’s not a funding option we’d recommend. Under private client funding you pay us our fees as the case goes along and you look to recuperate the expense when your compensation is paid.
Damage based agreements (DBA) – although damage based agreements have been in existence for several years the new act now has allowed them to be used for personal injury cases. Very simply, and there are several rules related to the agreements so this is not intended to be a guide to the law, if you enter a DBA then when you win your case you have to pay your solicitor up to twenty-five percent of your award depending on what was agreed at the start. In the majority of cases we feel that most of our clients won’t benefit from a DBA and even though we’ll explain them fully to you, it is improbable that we’ll finance your case this way as it will not be in your best interests.
Conditional fee agreements (CFA) – conditional fee agreements are the funding option that most clients are familiar with and are generally generally known as ‘no win no fee’ agreements. Under the new acts we can and do still offer this to our clients although the rules have now changed:-
You still pay nothing at all up front and we’ll meet all of the expenses on your case such as solicitor’s costs, medical assessment report costs, Court fees, etc.
If your case is unsuccessful through no-fault of your own then you will not have to pay anything to anyone so you are at no financial risk.
At the start of your claim we’ll perform a risk assessment and consider how likely it is your case will be successful, the amount it is likely to cost us to win (both in terms of time and money) and the complexity of your case. Based on the outcome of the risk assessment we shall expect you to pay a portion of your award towards our costs at the end of your case. This is limited to a maximum of twenty five percent of the costs we have accrued and is only payable if you win. Bear in mind that because of the new rules your claims award will have been increased by ten percent to help pay for this and ensure that you keep the majority of the damages you deserve.
Don’t let the latest funding rules deter you obtaining the claims you are rightfully and legally entitled to. Nevertheless it still costs you nothing to enquire with Mercury Legal Online to see if you may be able to make a claim and you will still pay absolutely nothing if you lose through no fault of your own.