One of the most popular questions I get asked is how much will it cost to bring a claim?
As well as being one of the most popular questions it is also one of the most difficult to answer, right alongside, ‘how long will my claim take?’ the cost of your claim can depends on many different aspects, such as what kind of representation you use, or whether or not you use legal representation at all or bring a claim yourself. However, the main aspect that will affect the cost of your claim is how you choose to fund it.
There are a variety of options available to you when it comes to funding a claim, these can include:-
- Bringing a claim yourself, when you do not use a legal profession and bring a claim independently using your own knowledge and skills. The only thing you will pay for in this instance is your disbursements aka court fees, medical expert fees etc.
- Self-funding a legal professional, when you pay for a claim out of your own pocket, usually by paying money on account each month to your legal representative.
- No Win No Fee Agreement, when you only pay legal fees if your claim is successful, and those fees come from a portion of your compensation.
- Insurance company, if you have legal cover on an insurance policy (usually home or car) you can use that policy to bring a claim at no cost to yourself but like a no win no fee agreement you could lose a portion of your compensation to legal fees if successful and you will not get to choose your solicitors, you will have to use the insurance companies firm.
IF YOU ARE USING A SOLICITOR AND SELF-FUNDING.
This is probably the most expensive option as you will be paying the solicitor’s hourly rate. Hourly rates can range from firm to firm and are dependent on how experienced your solicitor is. However, while they can range from firm to firm there are limits to what a solicitor can charge, the Guideline Hourly Rates can be found here.
As you will see, even the lower grades are expensive. However, if your claim is successful, you can bring, as part of your claim, a claim for costs which the Defendant will have to pay. But this will likely be negotiated on and it is unlikely you will recover the full amount.
As well as the hourly rates you will also have to pay your solicitors disbursements.
Disbursements are items your solicitor needs to purchase to continue your claim, such as your medical records, the medical expert’s report, court fees, etc. These can range from £50.00 for your medical records to hundreds (sometimes thousands) of pounds for medical expert reports, and court fees, see this link for court costs.
IF YOU ARE BRINGING A CLAIM THROUGH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.
This is probably the most cost-effective way to bring a claim. If you have selected the option on your car or home insurance that covers you for legal claims, then your insurance company will use their in-house solicitors to run the claim on your behalf. They should also pay for the disbursements. However, each policy is different, and you will need to check very carefully to see what you are and are not covered for.
This also has the downside of meaning you cannot choose which solicitor firm you use, you will likely have to use the firm the insurance company uses, although sometimes your insurance company will let you use a local solicitor. If you do use your insurance companies solicitors then it is likely that you will never meet your solicitor, all contact will be done via telephone, post and possibly email.
IF YOU ARE USING A SOLICITOR ON A NO WIN NO FEE AGREEMENT?
A No Win No Fee Agreement means you will not pay any legal fees unless you win your claim. If you are unsuccessful, then these charges will be written off, and if your claim is successful, the Defendant will pay the bulk of your legal fees. The part of your legal fees you will pay if successful is limited to 25% of your compensation.
However, you may still have to pay disbursements. Your firm may ask for money up front for this (is successful these costs can recovered from the Defendant).
IF YOU ARE BRINGING THE CLAIM YOURSELF WITHOUT A SOLICITOR?
In this situation, you will not have to concern yourself with legal fees as the solicitor is no longer involved in the claim. However, you will be running the claim without the benefit of a trained and experienced legal professional.
In conclusion, the cost of your claim will depend on how your claim is brought, if it is brought privately, through your insurance company, or on a No Win No Fee agreement.