Navigating legal costs – understanding No Win No Fee in your personal injury claim in NSW

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Carroll & O'Dea

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Established over 120 years ago, Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers offers expert advice and strong advocacy for clients. With a commitment to high-level service and legal expertise in all areas, they blend tradition with modern skills.
Demystifies the concept of "No Win No Fee" & provides clarity on how it operates within personal injury claims in NSW.
Australia Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
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Personal injury claims can be daunting, both physically and emotionally, for those seeking compensation for injuries suffered due to the negligence of others. In New South Wales (NSW), individuals pursuing a personal injury claim may encounter the term "No Win No Fee" in relation to discussing their legal costs. Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers on a case by case basis, may offer no-win-no-fee arrangements. This article aims to demystify the concept of "No Win No Fee" and provide clarity on how it operates within personal injury claims in NSW.

Understanding "No Win No Fee"

"No Win No Fee" is a legal arrangement commonly known as a conditional fee agreement. In the context of your personal injury claim, it means that if your case is not successful and you do not receive compensation, you will not be required to pay your lawyer's legal fees. This arrangement is designed to alleviate the financial burden on individuals seeking justice and compensation for injuries sustained through no fault of their own.

Key components of "No Win No Fee" agreement

i. Free initial consultation

Legal practitioners who offer "No Win No Fee" services typically provide a free initial consultation. This allows you as the injured party to discuss the details of your case with a lawyer, who will assess the merits of the claim and advise you on the likelihood of success. This means you will not lose anything by obtaining some advice from a lawyer as to whether it is in your best interest for you to make a claim.

ii. Conditional agreement

If your lawyer believes that your case has merit, a conditional fee agreement is then established. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions, including the circumstances under which you are liable to pay legal fees. It is essential to carefully review and understand this agreement before proceeding with your legal representation. If you do not understand any of the information provided to you, you can ask your lawyer to further explain the agreement, what it means and also obtain independent legal advice.

iii. Legal fees and disbursements

In the event of a successful claim, legal fees, and disbursements (which are out-of-pocket expenses incurred during a claim such as clinical notes and reports) are typically covered by the compensation awarded on a party/party basis.

In most cases, if your lawyers agree to act on your behalf, part of that agreement is that they will pay all the necessary disbursement expenses to bring your case to a successful resolution. This means paying for the medical records and reports required by your lawyers to advance your claim. Normally, if you do win, you agree to pay the interest that your lawyer incurs on the amount that they paid for your disbursements.

iv. Party/Party legal costs

Ordinarily, the court will order that an unsuccessful litigant pay the successful litigant's costs of a court case. As a rule of thumb, party/party costs cover about two-thirds of the total amount of costs that have been incurred.

It is important to understand that a "no-win, no-fee" agreement does not operate to remove your liability to pay an opponent's legal costs if you lose the claim. If your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, you will usually be ordered to pay a proportion of the costs of the other side. This is a serious consideration, and your lawyer should keep you informed of your prospects of success at throughout the preparation and negotiation of your case.

All the work that your lawyer does on your claim should be clearly recorded. You should only be charged by your lawyer in accordance with the costs agreement that you signed before any work is started on your claim.

v. No upfront costs

Ordinarily, with "No Win No Fee" agreements, individuals are not required to pay upfront legal costs. The financial risk is shifted from you as the injured party to the lawyer, creating a more accessible avenue for those seeking justice without the worry of financial strain.

vi. Disbursement reimbursement

You should confirm whether disbursements will be reimbursed from the compensation amount or if they will be treated separately. It might depend on the circumstances of your claim or the nature of your claim as to how disbursements are paid. Understanding these details ensures financial transparency in your claim.

If you ever have any concerns regarding your legal costs, and how they are calculated, it is important to discuss them with your lawyer.

"No Win No Fee" arrangements play a significant role in making legal representation more accessible to individuals pursuing personal injury claims in NSW. They help level the playing field, allowing those who have suffered injuries to seek justice without the immediate financial burden of legal fees. As with any legal agreement, it is crucial for you to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of the agreement before entering into a "No Win No Fee" arrangement.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Navigating legal costs – understanding No Win No Fee in your personal injury claim in NSW

Australia Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration

Contributor

Established over 120 years ago, Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers offers expert advice and strong advocacy for clients. With a commitment to high-level service and legal expertise in all areas, they blend tradition with modern skills.
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