It is very important that you and your solicitor discuss how to fund an abuse claim and that you choose the right method of funding. Here are some examples of the types of funding methods available:
No win – no fee agreements (or conditional fee agreements)
‘No win – no fee’ agreements (which is also known as a conditional fee agreement) are a popular and effective way to fund a medical negligence claim. Under this agreement your solicitor does not recover any of his/her costs if your claim is unsuccessful. They only recover costs if the claim is successful.
Under this agreement your solicitor will include a success fee. The level of the success fee is assessed according to the risks of your claim being unsuccessful, whether you are funding disbursements (such as medical records, reports and court fees) and how long the case is likely to take to conclude, as your solicitor must wait until the end of your case before they are paid.
The success fee can be 100% of the legal costs incurred, but is capped at a maximum of 25% of certain parts of your damages (see below). Insurance should be taken out to cover you in the event that you lose your case. If you win your case and recover damages, you will be responsible for the success fee and for a proportion of the insurance premium (see below).
The maximum success fee that your solicitor can charge you is 100% of the costs that they incur, but you will only be responsible for this up to a limit of 25% of the damages you recover for your injuries (general damages) and past losses (special damages) less any recoupable benefits by the Department of Work and Pensions. The cap of 25% will include VAT.
The other side will pay your basic costs and damages if you win your case. If you lose your case your solicitor receives nothing. Your solicitor may recommend that you take out ‘After the Event Insurance’ to cover you against the risk of having to pay any costs and expenses to your opponent.
For more information, get in touch.
Before the event legal expenses insurance
When you buy your home and contents insurance, you may also be aware that some insurance companies offer to provide legal expenses insurance as well. It is sometimes called ‘legal protection insurance’ or ‘family legal protection’, but essentially, these products are very similar.
The purpose of this cover is to provide you with financial protection when either bringing or defending a claim. Often, your insurance company will agree to fund a medical negligence claim if your case fits into their acceptable criteria.
For more information, please get in touch.
After the event insurance
This is an insurance policy that may be taken out following the incident which gives rise to your claim. A premium is payable depending on the amount of cover required and the merits of your claim. It is usually taken out in conjunction with a No win – no fee agreement, and is often required where your solicitors are funding your disbursements under such an agreement.
In successful medical negligence claims, part of the after the event insurance premium will continue to be payable by the defendant (the part that relates to your liability to pay for one or more experts reports on liability or causation and the costs of the reports are not allowed under the costs order. You may be responsible, therefore, for the portion of the insurance premium that applies to the protection against adverse costs orders which might be made against you.
The general principle, however, is that you will not be responsible for the other side’s legal costs and expenses if you lose your claim unless you fail to beat a formal offer to settle, if you act unreasonably during your claim or if you abandon or discontinue their claim.
For more information, please get in touch.
In certain very-limited circumstances, Legal Aid is still available for some types of abuse claim and some firms do still offer legal aid in those cases. However, with the funding arrangements explained above, we will ensure that you are in at least the same or arguably an even better position than you would be with legal aid, in the event that you were eligible. We will explain this more fully when we speak to you.
We are based in Hove, but our legal services cover the South East and all across the UK. For more information, please get in touch.