Professional Legal Advice Still Needed Under Revamped 'No Win No Fee' Rules
Legal expert argues that major changes to how personal injury cases are dealt with don't signal the death of 'no win, no fee' claims and has urged residents with genuine injuries to ensure they still obtain professional legal advice.
Government ministers recently introduced a number of significant reforms to rules affecting personal injury claims, which have banned referral fees paid to claims management and insurance companies as well as upfront cash incentives to the victims of accidents, whilst also introducing substantial changes limiting the payout of 'no win, no fee' agreements.
"The changes were heralded by many as the death of 'no win, no fee', but this isn't actually the case," Jemma Jones of PCB Solicitors explained. "Conditional Fee Agreements - the formal term for a 'no win, no fee' claim - still exist, and many of the core principles remain intact, such as claimants not having to pay any upfront legal fees. The major change introduced means that the 'success fee' lawyers receive is now paid by the claimant, deducted from any damages or compensation they receive, rather than by the defendant as was previously the case. however, it is not all bad news for the claimant,as the reforms have increased the level damages that the individual will receive by 10%."
While the reforms are intended to cut frivolous claims, there are fears that because success fees will now be deducted from any compensation awarded, as opposed to the defendant picking up the costs, many potential claimants will actually be discouraged from bringing a case and attempt to settle the matter directly with a defendant's insurance company, which is likely to see them receive lower compensation than they could recover if they had obtained proper legal advice.
"The best course of action to take for anyone with a genuine personal injury claim is to get professional, impartial legal advice to assess whether they should pursue a case. You may find that the opposing party's insurer will try to agree a quick settlement without fully considering any medical evidence, or you may be contracted by a completely separate company who deals with high volume claims using inexperienced and unqualified staff. We recommend that anyone with a potential claim gets in touch with a local professional firm where their case will be dealt with by a qualified lawyer who will give you the best possible advice and who will have your best interest at heart."