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Medical Negligence No Fee?
Medical Negligence No Fee

How Can A Medical Negligence Solicitor Act For No Fee?

We have all seen the advertisements for a no win no fee solicitor, but how can any solicitor act for no fee? Solicitors have traditionally been known for charging high legal fees, so have they changed the whole of their pricing structures to help more people? No business can operate without making a profit, so how can solicitors act for no fee? This article explains how the system works to give you peace of mind.

Medical negligence 'no win no fee' agreements are still a relatively new model for solicitors and their clients alike. It was only when legal aid was removed for adult medical negligence cases that no win no fee agreements were introduced (children those under 18 years of age and other people without mental capacity can still qualify for legal aid). Until that time if you qualified for legal aid, the Legal Aid Board, as it was then known, would fund your solicitor's fees while they investigated your claim. If your claim was successful, they would generally ask you to repay your solicitors fees from your compensation.

However, legal aid was removed for medical negligence cases to reduce the amount of funding that the Legal Aid Board required. So that medical negligence victims could still gain access to justice, the government introduced 'no win no fee' agreements. Under these agreements your solicitor ultimately shares the risk of your claim winning or losing with you.

Whereas solicitors used to be paid by the Legal Aid Board at intervals throughout the case, 'no win no fee' agreements mean that they ultimately have to decide to 'gamble' on your claim being successful. If they are right and you win your claim for medical negligence, their legal costs for all of the work carried out on your case will be paid for by the National Health Service Litigation Authority. They will be paid their basic legal costs, plus an additional fee (known as a success fee) for the risk that they took when they took on your claim. There is often negative publicity about the success fee, but what has to be remembered is that for every medical negligence claim that a solicitor is ultimately successful for, he or she might have taken on three or four other medical negligence cases which, after considerable time and money investigating, proved not to be successful.

This happens because unlike many personal injury cases, medical negligence is a much harder legal claim to make. Usually expert medical evidence will be required to advise whether the claim is ultimately likely to be successful. Many solicitors will bear the cost of this advice (often in excess of one thousand pounds) to discover whether their client can make a claim. If the evidence does not support the case proceeding, the solicitor has to advise the client and close their file. If they are acting under a 'no win no fee' agreement they receive no payments whatsoever for all of the work they have undertaken to this point.

Summary.

A medical negligence 'no win no fee' agreement can allow many more injured patients to find out whether they can make a claim for compensation without having to spend thousands of pounds of their own money on legal fees. Without these agreements many people would not be able to afford to make a claim even if they had very good chances of success. The reward for the solicitor if they do win a claim is that they will receive the bonus payment (the success fee) which covers the high risks that they take when so many cases have to be abandoned after medical evidence is received which does not support the claim being taken any further.

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Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

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