Qualified one way costs shifting

QOCS is the catchy shortened version.

Since 1 April 2013 a new concept has been introduced for personal injury cases. If a Claimant’s case fails the unsuccessful Claimant does not have to pay the legal costs of the successful Defendant, but if the Claimant wins the Defendant pays the Claimant’s legal costs.

That sounds pretty extraordinary as for as long as I can remember the loser in personal injury claims paid the legal costs of the successful party.

So where is the catch? It lies in the qualified bit, which means the concept is not as clear as it first looks. Continue reading “Qualified one way costs shifting”

Legal cover and legal protection

Legal cover or legal protection are terms used for legal expenses insurance

Legal expenses insurance is designed to allow you to bring a compensation case without worrying about having to pay legal costs. I think of it as allowing the client to sleep at night not worrying about legal fees.

Legal costs are the fees of your own solicitor and the solicitors who represent the Defendant, plus the expenses the solicitors incur such as medical fees, police report, and barrister fees amongst others.

Many people have bought legal expenses insurance as an add-on to another policy. It is worth taking the time to understand how it works.You should not have to worry about legal fees
Continue reading “Legal cover and legal protection”

Changes to personal injury compensation claims

Why are changes coming to personal injury compensation claims?

The insurance industry lobby has won its argument that too many people are claiming compensation or personal injury and that the legal costs they pay are too high. If you do not change the rules insurance for drivers and employers will become even more expensive.

I do not agree with the arguments of the insurance industry but congratulations to them for persuading the politicians. Despite the country facing a major financial crisis the politicians are dedicating huge amounts of time to personal injury compensation claims.

The changes likely are:

  1. Legal aid will be more limited than it is today.
  2. If your lawyer is working under a conditional fee agreement, or no win no fee as it is called, the success fee will no longer be recovered from the other side. If solicitors and barristers want their success fee then the client will be paying it.
  3. If you buy after the event litigation insurance you will pay the premium win, lose or draw. To day you can recover it with your solicitor’s fees, expenses, and success fee.
  4. The reasons for these changes are the insurance industry complains it is costing them too much money, and the politicians believe someone claiming compensation should be at some financial risk.
  5. The risk of a claimant paying the other side’s costs if a case fails is to be limited. There may be no liability to pay those costs at all, or a financial limit may be set, and this may depend on how much money you have. Continue reading “Changes to personal injury compensation claims”

Paying the cost of personal injury claim

Paying the cost of a personal injury claim

Today a claimant bringing a personal injury compensation case can be protected from the risk of paying the other side’s fees if the case goes wrong and you have to pay legal costs. This risk can be covered by legal expenses insurance, trade union support, by having legal aid in the few cases for which it is available, and after the event insurance. Continue reading “Paying the cost of personal injury claim”

Referral fees

Referral fees are paid by solicitors for instructions

What are referral fees?

You will read and hear about referral fees in the media.

A referral fee can be paid by a solicitor in return for being put in contact with a client. Referrals are made by estate agents, banks, building societies, insurance companies, insurance brokers, and a whole host of other agencies. They are being paid a fee for introducing legal work to a solicitor. It is quite usual in the conveyancing and personal injury fields of law.

These referral fees are perfectly legitimate but in certain instances the payment of a referral fee and the amount must be made known to the client. Referral fees between solicitors do not have to be made known to a client, but if a referral fee is paid to a non-solicitor introducer then the payment should be made known, and in writing. Continue reading “Referral fees”

How is a personal injury solicitor paid?

How a personal injury solicitor is paid and how to protect yourself from costs awards

How are personal injury solicitors paid?

There should be no mystery about how a personal injury solicitor is paid for the work carried out in your personal injury claim for compensation. You as the client must be given detailed advice.

Please note this page applies to personal injury cases with funding arranged before 1 April 2013. Funding means that agreement as to how you will pay your solicitor and deal with the risk of paying the other side’s legal costs has been finalised. For cases funded beyond 1 April 2013 do read this page for general guidance, but then click here as the law has changed quite significantly.

The basic cost is an hourly rate multiplied by the time spent on your case. Most personal injury solicitors will follow the Guideline Rates set by the Advisory Committee on Costs. These are based on the experience of your solicitor and the cost of practising in the various regions of the country, London being more expensive than Exeter for example .

A solicitor’s bill is made up of a charge for their time, plus VAT, and the expenses incurred on your behalf, known as disbursements. For these purposes I will put all those terms together and call them solicitors costs. Continue reading “How is a personal injury solicitor paid?”

I want to change solicitor

Do you need to change your solicitor?

I want to change my solicitor is something you might be thinking, but is it possible and how do you go about it?

“Mark Thompson took over my personal injury claim after I became disgruntled with the representation of the law firm recommended by my insurers. From day one the quality of service was in a different league and I could not speak too highly of this firm. Five star professionalism.” You can see what clients say by clicking here.

I do take over cases from other solicitors. This does not mean the current solicitor is poor, it usually means you are not receiving the time and attention you deserve. Working with a solicitor is a personal experience, and it should be personal.

Call for help without obligation on 01392 314086 Continue reading “I want to change solicitor”

Recovering costs

Recovering costs from the other side

It might surprise you to learn there is no automatic rule which says if you win your case your costs will be paid by the losing side. It happens in the vast majority of cases, but it is not an absolute rule. The practice comes from the affordability of the costs to the losing party, as that party is usually either insured or a trade union member. If there is such financial backing behind a losing party then it is very very likely a costs order will be made against them. Continue reading “Recovering costs”

Conditional fee agreement

Conditional fee agreement

No win no fee

Conditional fee agreement is the proper name for “no win no fee.” It means your own solicitors fees are only payable by you in the event of success. Success is defined in the agreement, but in compensation cases it usually means recovering a compensation payment in your favour. There is a lot to understand. Continue reading “Conditional fee agreement”

Legal aid

Legal aid

Legal aid is a thing of the past in most personal injury cases.

The legal aid system was set up for the right reasons, to allow those who could not afford a solicitor, to use one. If the case was unsuccessful your own solicitor would receive some payment from the legal aid fund, your expenses/disbursements would be paid, and you would have no bill to pay. depending on your financial circumstances you may have paid a contribution towards your legal aid, but the contribution was nothing like the full legal bill. Continue reading “Legal aid”

Legal expenses insurance

Legal expenses insurance

Lots of people have this insurance as part of policies on their car, motorcycle, van or house. The policy can be bought as a stand alone policy, but few people search it out. The policy will allow you to pursue a compensation case, and cover your liability to pay your own solicitor’s costs and disbursements, and those of the other side, if your case fails.

Your legal expenses insurer must be satisfied the case has reasonable prospects of success, and this is necessary all through the case. Just like the after the event insurance the insurer can pull out if those prospects are no longer reasonable. Continue reading “Legal expenses insurance”