Funding a Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence Claim

How much will it cost to pursue an injury claim?
 
The thought of legal costs can be daunting, and can put people off pursing a Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence Claim. There are several funding options available to a person wishing to pursue a Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence Claim. This article aims to provide a brief overview of the funding options available to you. However, should you require more detailed information then please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist team at Headinjuryuk on 0800 073 0988.
 
Legal costs are made up primarily of two components, legal fees and disbursements. Legal fees relate to the work that your solicitor does on your matter to progress your case. Disbursements are any additional expenditure that may be incurred, for example the fee for obtaining your medical records, an expert’s fee for writing a report or a barrister’s fee for advising or representing you in court.
 
Funding Options for Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Claims
 
The various funding options include: 

1) The Privately Paying Client – This is when you, the client instructs a solicitor independently and pays both the legal fees and the disbursements yourself. Few Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence cases are funded this way, it is more common in other areas of law such as conveyancing or family matters. 

2)  Before the Event Insurance (BTE) – You may have an existing legal expenses insurance policy such as a motor insurance policy or home insurance policy, which may cover a Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence claim. This is very common in road traffic accidents as the parties are usually insured and the insurer will meet the cost of any litigation. You should check your policy documents to see whether they cover such a claim. If so, the legal expenses insurer will pay both the legal fees and the disbursements.

3) Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA) – A CFA is often referred to as a “No Win No Fee Agreement”. This is a written agreement between the solicitors and you, the client. 

If you lose your case - you will NOT ve expected to pay your solicitors legal fees (however, you may have to pay for disbursements incurred, this will depend on the terms of the policy). In addition, if you lose your case the court may order you to pay the winners costs.

Therefore it is common to enter into a CFA in conjunction with an ATE policy. In doing so you would not have to pay your solicitors legal fees or disbursements and the ATE policy would cover the cost of the other sides legal fees and disbursements.

If you win - you will have to pay your legal fees, disbursements and a success fee. The success fee will be a percentage of the total legal fees. However, it is likely that the court will order to the losing side pay you legal fees, disbursements and the success fee.

This is how at HeadInjuryUK we can offer to fund your case at no initial cost to yourself. We make no deductions fro your compensation as our costs and disbursements are recovered from the other side.

4) Legal Services Commission (Legal Aid)

Public funding is available in clinical negligence cases, but not personal injury cases. HeadInjuryUK's specialist lawyers haev a franchise from the legal services commission, which means we can offer public funding for clinical negligence claims when certain criteria is met. Babies and children are usually likely to be eligible for legal aid. The LSC awards legal aid to those who meet certain conditions:

a) Financial Means Test

The financial eligibility tests look at you and your partner’s income and capital. Some income-based benefits will automatically meet these requirements. These benefits include:

 - Income support 

- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 

- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

- Guarantee credit part of Pension Credit

In assessing your eligibility the LSC will consider you capital and equity. In doing so they will consider your disposable income and any other assets such as:

- Income (if over £18,000.00 pa.)

- Savings (if it exceeds £8,000.00 it is unlikely you will be eligible)

- Investments such as Shares and insurance policies

-Valuable items such as boats, caravans and jewellery

- Equity in the home (if over £100,000.00 it is unlikely you will be eligible.


b) Legal merits tests
 

The legal merits test looks at factors such as the case’s likelihood of success and the medical evidence available. The LSC will also consider whether bringing the case will be in the public’s best interest. We must also satisfy the costs to benefits ratio. You must be able to show that the prospects of success are good and, that the likely damages outweigh the likely costs.

There are two tiers of assistance available to the client, which include:

1) Green Form/Legal Help - the LSC will fund 2 hours worth of work for anyone who qualifies on the means test. This allows your solicitor to assess a case and complete, if appropriate, the application forms for full legal aid.

2) Full Legal Representation - This is full Legal Aid Certificate. If your solicitor considers that the case warrants futher investigation they can apply for full Legal Aid. The LSC assesses the application. If granted, usually you are allowed an initial £3,500 (to include disbursements and legal fees, but not VAT) to investigate the case. Increases can be applied for so long as the case has merits and satisfies various criteria and you remain financially eligible.

 

 

What our clients say

We know that we have been extremely fortunate to have had such a consummate PI lawyer in Andy acting on our behalf but we have also been blessed by having had his support, trust, friendship and loyalty throughout. We cannot ever thank him enough.

The compensation Nicola has received has helped her move from a tiny council flat into a massive bungalow which has been specifically adapted. It has enabled her to have a better life.

If it was not for the help of my solicitor I don't know where I would have been today. He provided a great deal of emotional support and secured compensation at various stages from the insurance company to fund my treatment and allow me to live. He was there from start to finish.

Higgs & Sons acted for us for 5 years until our daughters claim for personal injuries was finally settled. Ian remains a trustee of our daughters trust fund and we now look upon him as a friend.