What are Legal Fees?

By Rebecca Hennessy

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Legal fees can be confusing – there’s a lot of technical words and unless you actually work in law (and sometimes even if you do!), it’s difficult to wrap your head around.

In Personal Injury, Legal Fees consist of 3 things:

  1. “Costs” – the lawyer’s costs running your cost
  2. “Disbursements” – money that lawyers pay out for things like medical reports, court fees etc.
  3. “Success Fees” – additional costs for winning a case

There have been many changes in Legal Fees over the years:

  • Previously, you had Legal Aid where your fees were paid by the government if you earned under a certain amount,
  • Then you had 100% Success Fees where the Defendant paid 100% extra (over the lawyer’s costs) if the lawyer was successful,
  • Now you have capped Success Fees where the client pays a limited amount if the lawyer is successful

Lawyers do not have to work on a “No Win, No Fee” basis – generally, if your case doesn’t win, the lawyer’s costs don’t get paid, so “No Win, No Fee” is quite a big risk for the lawyer to take.  If you assume that 50% of the cases are successful, the lawyer will also lose the other 50% of cases that they’ve worked on, and not get paid for those.

Previously, the Defendant paid a Success Fee if the case was won, and that was 100% of the lawyer’s Costs – so if the lawyer spent £3,000 winning the case, the Defendant would pay those Costs (of £3,000) and a Success Fee of 100% (i.e. another £3,000), making £6,000 in total.  This effectively made up for the 50% of cases that might have lost.

In 2013 however, the law changed, preventing lawyers from recovering Success Fees from Defendants.  The Success Fee is now recovered from the client however it is limited to a maximum of 25% of your compensation.

Your lawyer should always advise you to ensure any settlement is in your best interest, not theirs.

Call Rebecca on 01613 597168 or Alec on 01613 597167 or email claims@accident-at-work.legal to find out about more about no win, no fee, legal costs and making a claim.

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