Georgia Briscoe, Director of Medical Neglience
No Win No Fee – chances are you have heard this phrase on the TV or radio and wondered how such a thing could work in practice. What happens when you win? What happens if you lose? Are No Win No Fee companies reputable? The idea of hidden charges and fees, or being left with a huge legal bill, can understandably be very worrying.
Rest assured, No Win No Fee just means exactly that. If your claim is not successful, providing you have cooperated with us throughout, you walk away without having to pay a single penny and we write off all our fees.
At Patient Claim Line, we know that the last thing you need if you’ve suffered personal injury or medical negligence is to be worrying about hidden charges and fees. That’s why we make it easy for you to bring a claim without fear of unexpected costs. We ONLY work on a No Win No Fee basis, and we NEVER ask for money upfront. That’s our promise to you.
What is ‘No Win No Fee’?
‘No Win No Fee’ is a type of legal agreement that essentially makes it easier to pursue financial compensation for medical negligence and injury, no matter your own personal financial status. With No Win No Fee, you won’t have to pay to have your claim assessed and you won’t have to pay legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful.
At Patient Claim Line, we believe that nobody should have to pay upfront to seek fair compensation for medical negligence or personal injury that wasn’t your fault.
How does a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim work?
You could be eligible for a No Win No Fee medical negligence claim if inadequate or improper treatment by a medical professional has resulted in your experiencing:
- An accident or injury
- Pain (acute or chronic)
- Trauma (physical and/or emotional)
- Birth injuries or birth defects
- The worsening of an existing medical condition.
To find out if your claim is likely to be successful, talk to one of our specialist team today!
How do you start a No Win No Fee claim?
Making a medical negligence claim is simple and straightforward:
- Your solicitor will determine if your claim has a good chance of success.
- Your solicitor will draw up a No Win No Fee agreement for you to sign – this is known as a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ (CFA).
- Once you have a CFA in place, your solicitor will begin gathering evidence to support your claim.
The type of evidence your solicitor will gather depends on your claim but may include obtaining medical reports and records. Your solicitor will also contact the insurance company or legal representative of the opponent (defendant) to notify them of the claim.
What is a No Win No Fee CFA?
CFA stands for ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ and is just another name for ‘No Win No Fee’. It is a straightforward contract that you sign with your solicitor. Payment is conditional on the success of your claim.
Will I have to go to court?
In nearly all cases, No Win No Fee medical negligence claims are settled out of court by your solicitor and the lawyer or insurance company of the defendant. They will offer you a settlement, which you can either accept or reject. Your solicitor will advise you on any offers. If an agreement is not reached after a reasonable amount of negotiation, or the defendant does not accept liability, the case may proceed to court.
To take your claim to court, you will need a barrister. Our barristers will also work on a No Win No Fee basis and we will make sure you have the very best representation. Again though, nearly all cases settle well before court.
What happens if you win your No Win No Fee case?
If you win your case and your claim is successful, either in court or through settlement, you will be awarded damages. These damages include:
- General damages – in respect of your injury
- Special damages – to account for such things as loss of earnings, out of pocket losses and the cost of any treatment either now or in the future.
How do No Win No Fee solicitors get paid?
If your case is unsuccessful, then your solicitor does not get paid and will write off all of their fees under the terms of the ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement. Essentially they will have undertaken all of that work for free.
In successful personal injury and medical or clinical negligence claims, your opponent pays all of your solicitor’s legal fees. Under the terms of the conditional fee agreement, solicitors are entitled to deduct up to 25% of your compensation for what is called a ‘success fee’ – paid in return for taking the risk of not getting paid in the event the claim does not succeed. Following a change in the law in 2013, general compensation was increased by 10% to help offset these costs.
At Patient Claim Line, we will always advise you of the success fee before we enter into any agreement. We are completely transparent.
In addition, your solicitors will charge an amount relative to the difference in costs incurred and recovered. This is called a shortfall. The amount of the shortfall applicable to your case will be confirmed to you upon specific request and no later than when you discuss your paperwork.
What does this mean for your take-home compensation? In practice, if your claim is successful, you will likely be awarded a slightly higher amount than you might have been awarded in previous years. This will help to cover your solicitor’s fees and legal costs. That way, you get to take home at least 75% of the compensation you have been awarded, if not more.
What happens if you lose your No Win No Fee case?
If your case is unsuccessful and you are not awarded damages, and you cooperated throughout, you don’t pay any legal fees. It’s that simple!
To make sure you’re protected against any other costs of making a claim, such as court costs or any costs of obtaining medical treatment records and reports, solicitors typically offer something referred to as ‘After the event’ (ATE) insurance. You would take out an ATE insurance policy at the start of your claim to help cover what might be considered ‘hidden’ fees (because they are unknown at the start of the case).
Most companies charge up to £900 for ATE insurance, but Patient Claim Line offer you this insurance for free!
Are there time limits on when I can make a medical negligence claim?
In the UK, medical negligence claims generally have to be brought within three years of the ‘Date of Knowledge’ or ‘Date of Discovery’. This means the date when the medical negligence was first identified. This may be the date of injury itself, or could be days, weeks, months, or even years later, when your symptoms or injuries are attributed to earlier treatment (or lack of treatment).
Why is there a time limit on medical negligence claims? The reason is threefold:
- Pursuing a legal claim closer to the time of injury or discovery gives you a better chance of success – more medical evidence is likely to be available to support the claim
- A timely and successful claim means you receive compensation earlier, helping you to cover immediate medical costs related to the injury.
- The cap on litigation means that medical practitioners are freed from the constant worry of retrospective claims.
There are some exceptions to the three-year limit. In general, though, it’s best to obtain legal advice as soon as practical if you have concerns over medical negligence. If you are unsure if your claim qualifies, talk to Patient Claim Line advisor today.
Why choose Patient Claim Line?
The experienced legal team at Patient Claim Line has helped thousands of individuals who have been affected by a medical mistake. We are the UK’s highest rated medical negligence specialists on Trustpilot and we will fight on your behalf to get you answers and compensation. Unlike most firms, medical negligence is all we deal with, and our legal team has over 400 years combined experience in this area of law. Patient Claim Line is owned and operated by the UK’s largest Medical Negligence firm, Fletchers Solicitors.
Our No Win No Fee service means there are no upfront payments and it costs you nothing to find out if you have a case. Not sure if you have a claim for medical negligence? Take our 30-second claim test to find out!
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Meet the team
Chief Legal Officer
Adrian joined us in December 2011 as Head of Serious Injury, leading the department through a period of significant growth, whilst working with customers following catastrophic and life changing events. In spring 2017, Adrian was appointed our Chief Legal Officer and oversees all of our legal teams, ensuring our customers are always at the heart of everything we do. Adrian has been named in the Legal 500 as one of the top 10 leading individuals for personal injury in the North West for the second year running.
Director of Medical Negligence
Georgia is the Head of Medical Negligence and has an impressive wealth of knowledge. She has over 15 years of legal experience and is responsible for overseeing the whole medical negligence team. Within her role, Georgia ensures that all of our cases are dealt with the utmost efficiency and professionalism.
Director of Medical Negligence Serious Injury
Peter is dedicated to supporting victims of catastrophic medical negligence injuries and endeavours to provide a clear and coherent approach to claims. He recognises the effects serious injuries can have and therefore ensures his customers’ need for support is met. Peter also has a vast amount of experience working with customers who have been injured abroad and is able to act under international law to provide the best outcomes.
Head of Medical Negligence Fast Track
Christian is Head of Medical Negligence Fast Track at Fletchers and has specialised in clinical negligence claims since qualifying in 1997; having dealt with a wide variety of claims throughout his career. He is also featured in the Legal 500 as a recommended claimant solicitor in the North West.