No win, no fee - the pitfalls

A keyboard with a large No Win No Fee button

As personal injury lawyers, Allan McDougall Solicitors occupy similar territory to several other law firms. The field of personal injury is as competitive as any other. Regular jingles on local radio ads verify that! The term “no win, no fee” is often banded about in some advertisements as though it were some magic, free service.

The main pitfall for an injured person seeking a lawyer to represent them is that they may not appreciate that “no win, no fee” is by no means free – unless you lose. If the case is successful, however, a percentage will be deducted by the law firm as their fee. The percentage deduction from damages is something of which an injured person should be very aware.

This sort of arrangement is known as a damages-based agreement and is now enshrined in Scot’s law. That means that from the outset, a client will enter into a contract with their solicitor agreeing, at that stage, a percentage of the total amount awarded which will be deducted in the name of costs if the case is successful.

It is essential that an injured individual is aware of their options when it comes to choosing and instructing a solicitor. There will be differences in the percentages suggested by different law firms, and clearly in a high value claim, it can make a significant difference to select a solicitor who is suggesting a lesser percentage. It is important to check the solicitor’s track record and be satisfied that they have adequate specialism in personal injury work, while also being mindful of the percentage deduction being suggested by them. We suggest that an individual should ensure that they are entering into a percentage deduction which they consider palatable. Failure to be mindful of this at the outset might make a very significant difference to the outcome and the amount of money reaching the client’s hand.

At Allan McDougall Solicitors we are privileged to be panel lawyers for some major trade unions, and in terms of their legal services schemes, a member is entitled to 100% of their damages. We cannot speak highly enough of the legal service available to such union members, and it is always a good idea to consider union membership and the benefits it may provide.

We adopt an entirely client-focused approach when considering the percentage deduction in all cases referred to us. As experts in the whole spectrum of personal injury cases, we have a grasp at the outset as to the complexities which a case will involve and what therefore we would regard as a fair deduction. Many firms do not offer such a bespoke approach and apply a blanket percentage deduction irrespective of the fact that a case may be relatively straight forward. Our approach is always to seek to minimise the deduction from damages which will be awarded to our injured client.

If you are considering claiming compensation and would like to have a confidential discussion about your options, please get in touch.

Email David Harris
Call our personal injury claims team free on 0808 560 0872
Arrange a callback by using our enquiry form

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