What Does “No Win, No Fee” Really Mean?
“No win no fee” cost agreements are a unique way to offer legal services to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. Put simply, a lawyer’s payment is contingent on a successful outcome. The idea is that people who can’t afford to pay legal fees are not deterred from pursuing a claim.
However, these agreements can operate in a variety of ways depending on the firm. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the arrangement simply means that if you don’t win, there is nothing to pay. This isn’t always the case. There are important details and considerations you should be aware of.
What Defines a Win?
A “win” will broadly be defined as a successful outcome, meaning it could be a court judgement, a settlement or any other resolution of the case. This can also include a settlement that is much less than what you had hoped for.
While subject to strict legislation, each lawyer’s client agreement will be unique in some ways, making it crucial to pay close attention so you aren’t met with any surprising costs at the resolution of your case.
What Are the Actual Fees Involved?
The “fee” generally relates to the lawyer’s professional charges and may not include other costs associated with the claim. This is especially true of costs related to litigation, such as expert’s fees or court fees.
You may also be charged for legal outlays, which are the expenses the lawyer incurs investigating and running your claim. This includes things such as the cost of obtaining medical and hospital records as well as expert reports, police reports, company searches and other legal evidence.
“No Win, No Fee” Does Not Make Litigation Risk Free
The most important thing to understand about “no win, no fee” arrangements is that it does not make litigation free of risk. While you may not have to pay the lawyer’s professional fees, you may still be burdened with other costs associated with court action, which can cost thousands of dollars.
It’s also important to keep in mind that if the case is lost, claimants usually have to pay the defendant’s legal costs. A good lawyer will advise you against taking court action if your case is unlikely to succeed but, in some cases, the client may still be confident and wish to proceed. Decisions about your case ultimately fall on you to make, which is why it’s crucial to be aware of the risks.
What Are the Fees after a Win?
When your matter is resolved, statutory payments such as WorkCover, Medicare and Centrelink must first be deducted followed by the cost of legal outlays. From the leftover amount, the most we can take is 50 per cent. However, this 50 per cent rule only applies in situations where professional legal fees exceed the compensation you are entitled to receive after other costs have been deducted.
In cases where you are expected to receive more than the total amount of fees, you will simply keep the larger amount after those fees are deducted. The 50 per cent rule is governed by legislation and ensures that clients who settle for modest amounts are treated fairly.
Brisbane Injury Lawyers’ “No Win, No Fee” Service
At Brisbane Injury Lawyers, we take care of paying legal outlays, such as medical records and specialist reports, meaning you don’t have to worry about paying anything upfront. The costs of outlays are paid back to the firm from your settlement.
We offer our “no win, no fee” service for a variety of claims including:
For more information or to get an assessment on your claim, call us today on (07) 3171 9313 or contact us online.