No win no fee is the most popular option for funding a personal injury claim. It allows you to make a compensation claim without paying any solicitor fees upfront and with no financial risk.
No win no fee solicitors work on a conditional fee agreement, meaning you only have to pay for their services if your claim is successful. If your case fails, you do not pay them anything. This removes the stress and worries from pursuing compensation for an injury or illness caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault.
A conditional fee agreement can be used in any type of personal injury claim, including road traffic accidents, accidents at work, medical negligence and accidents abroad. Your personal injury solicitor will determine who is liable for your accident and negotiate to get you the best compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
If you make a no win no fee claim, you do not have to worry about paying any legal expenses if you lose your case. At the beginning of your claim, your solicitor will take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf, which covers all the legal expenses for you and the defendant if your case is unsuccessful.
A Guide to No Win No Fee
Can I make a no win no fee claim?
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident that was not your fault, you might be eligible to make a no win no fee claim. No win no fee solicitors will offer you a free initial consultation to determine whether you are eligible for compensation.
As a general rule, a claim should be possible as long as there is evidence to show that:
- Another person owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- Their negligent behaviour led to an accident
- You suffered an injury or illness as a result
Your solicitor will refer to relevant legislation to establish a breach of duty. Depending on the type of accident you were injured in, this could be:
- The Occupiers' Liability Act 1957, if you had an accident in a public place
- The Highways Act 1980, if you were involved in a road traffic accident
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 if you were injured in the workplace
After hearing the specifics of your accident, your solicitor will identify the liable party and help build a solid case to secure the compensation you deserve.
For a free consultation with some of the best no win no fee solicitors, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you are eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
How does no win no fee work?
If you have valid grounds to make a no win no fee claim, you will be assigned an experienced solicitor who is right for your case, without having to pay any upfront fees.
At the beginning of your claim, you will be asked to sign a conditional fee agreement which states that you do not have to pay your solicitor for their services unless they win your case. When you are offered a no win no fee service, it usually means that you have a strong claim with a good chance of success.
Furthermore, when your claim is based on a conditional fee agreement (no win no fee), you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not win compensation for your injuries. Your solicitor will take out legal expenses insurance on your behalf, which provides full coverage for all the legal costs you and the defendant incurred if you lose the claim.
In other words, you will not lose a single penny if your no win no fee injury claim is unsuccessful. You only have to pay anything if and after you receive compensation for your damages. The costs payable when you receive compensation may include:
- The cost of the insurance policy.
- Some basic legal expenses that might not be recoverable from the defendant, such as the cost of a medical record that was not useful in the claim.
- A success fee to your solicitor compensating for the risk they took by offering you a conditional fee agreement.
All costs are fully discussed and agreed upon before taking on your case, so you will never be faced with any hidden costs or unexpected fees when hiring our no win no fee solicitors.
How to start a no win no fee claim?
If you want to pursue compensation on a no win no fee basis, the first thing you should do is find out if your claim has merit. You can easily do this by contacting an experienced solicitor by calling 0800 678 1410 or entering your details into our online claim form.
They will ask you a few questions about your accident and injuries and who you believe might be liable for what happened. If you have valid grounds to make a claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service, which means you do not have to pay them unless your case is successful.
After a free initial consultation, your solicitor will guide you through the steps of your no win no fee claim. When possible and relevant, there are several pieces of evidence you could provide to help support your claim, including:
- Medical records of your injuries and any treatments you received.
- Photographs of the accident scene, capturing what caused your injuries, such as a car accident, faulty machinery at work or a pavement defect.
- Pictures of your injuries and any damage to your property.
- When appropriate, the name and contact details of anyone involved in the accident and their insurance details.
- The contact details of any witnesses to your accident.
- Your notes about how the accident happened and how it affected your life.
- A police report, if you were the victim of a hit and run accident or a criminal assault.
- An accident report, if you were injured at work or in a public place such as a supermarket, shop or hotel.
- CCTV or dash cam footage, when available.
- Evidence of any financial losses and expenses you incurred due to the accident, such as medication costs, physiotherapy or transportation fees.
Your solicitor will also help you gather everything you need to build a strong case, and they will notify the other side of your allegations of negligence. They will then negotiate on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
To start your claim, or for an informal chat about the no win no fee claims process, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What are the benefits of making a no win no fee claim?
The main benefit of making a no win no fee claim is that you can take legal action without carrying any financial risks. This funding option for personal injury claims offers many other advantages, including:
- It is accessible to anyone who suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence and wants to take legal action.
- You have the certainty of getting an honest opinion about your chances of success, seeing that there is no advantage for no win o fee solicitors to work on a case that is unlikely to be successful.
- No win no fee motivates your solicitor to do their utmost to win your claim, as they would not be able to recoup their costs otherwise.
- You do not have to pay any fees upfront and only have to pay a percentage of your compensation award to your solicitor if the case is successful.
- It removes the stress and worries about paying legal fees out of the equation, whether you win or lose the claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, the costs will be covered by your After the Event insurance policy.
No win no fee makes the whole claiming process less stressful. Your solicitor will take care of all the work while you can focus on your recovery. Furthermore, being assured that you will not be left with out-of-pocket expenses should help to give you peace of mind.
What type of claims can no win no fee solicitors help with?
No win no fee can be used to fund almost any type of personal injury claim. Some of the most common types of accidents that no win no fee solicitors deal with include:
Road traffic accidents
Thousands of people suffer a life-changing or fatal injury on UK roads each year, and many more are involved in less severe road accidents. In 2020, there were 1,516 deaths and over 22,000 severe injuries, or the equivalent of around 64 a day. If you have suffered an injury in an RTA that was not your fault, you could make a no win no fee claim.
Accidents at work
In 2020/21, 1.7 million people suffered from a work-related illness, 441,000 sustained an injury in the workplace, and 123 tragically died on the job. The industries with the highest workplace injury rates are agriculture, construction and motor vehicle repair. Employers must take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of employees. A breach of duty could make them liable to pay you compensation in a no win no fee claim.
Medical negligence can be devastating to the patient and their family. It may include misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, prescription errors or birth injuries and could lead to severe long-term complications. All healthcare professionals are expected to provide a reasonable standard of care and always keep in mind the patient's best interest. If you suffered an injury due to substandard care, whether through NHS negligence or a private healthcare provider, you might be entitled to compensation.
Besides physical injuries, a criminal assault can cause severe emotional and psychological trauma that might affect your life forever. Violent crimes include physical and sexual abuse, terrorist attacks, assaults and domestic violence. If the abuser is unidentified or is unlikely to have the means to pay you compensation, you could make a no win no fee claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Accidents in public
Your local council must ensure that all public spaces such as the streets, playgrounds and parks are properly maintained and safe for the public. Likewise, business owners must provide secure premises for clients and visitors. Some of the most common accidents in public places include slips, trips and falls, falls from a height, sports injuries and dog attacks. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you might be able to make a no win no fee injury claim for compensation.
If you suffered an accident or injury abroad, the language barrier and cultural differences might make your situation even more stressful. Whether you were injured while working or had a holiday accident abroad, you should still be able to claim compensation if another person was at fault. However, the time limit to start legal proceedings might be much shorter than three years, so you should speak to a no win no fee solicitor as soon as possible.
The accidents listed above are just a small sample. You could be eligible to make a no win no fee claim for many other types of accidents and for various injuries and illnesses.
How much compensation will I receive?
The circumstances of your accident and its effects on your life are unique to you and will determine how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. Your solicitor will consider every aspect of your no win no fee claim and negotiate the maximum compensation award possible for your injuries and financial losses.
Compensation for personal injury claims is split into two parts, known as general damages and special damages:
These cover the impact your accident had on your quality of life and any changes you had to make to your lifestyle and include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Having to give up a sport or hobby
- The loss of a unique career
- Reduced quality of life or life expectancy
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
Special damages are awarded to compensate you for the financial impact your injuries had on your finances and may cover:
- Medical expenses such as medication and surgery
- Long-term rehabilitation and counselling
- Travel and accommodation costs
- Adaptations to your home or vehicle
- Mobility or hearing aids
- The cost of future care and assistance
- Lost wages, including future losses if you are unable to return to work
It can be challenging to calculate a suitable award for general damages, so the courts and solicitors refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College. Their guidelines provide recommended compensation amounts for injuries to all body parts and for different severities, e.g. mild, moderate or severe. According to the Judicial College guidelines, you could receive:
- £1,760 - £379,100 for a head and brain injury
- £240 - £4,345 for whiplash
- £1,960 - £151,070 for back injuries
- £2,020 - £240,590 for a leg injury
- £5,630 - £281,520 for an arm injury
- £3,950 - £100,670 for post-traumatic stress disorder
As you would expect, the lowest amounts listed above are recommended for injuries classed as mild, whereas the highest amounts are for those classed as severe.
After you receive your compensation, there will be a few deductions from your award, including a success fee paid to your solicitor and the cost of the ATE insurance premium.
What percentage do no win no fee solicitors take if my claim is successful?
Solicitors usually charge by the hour for their services, and in a personal injury claim, this could amount to a substantial sum. Therefore, few people would risk investing a lot of time and money into pursuing compensation with no guarantee that they will win their case.
No win no fee removes any financial concerns from the equation if you want to make a claim. Instead, it is your injury solicitor who takes the risk of offering you a conditional fee agreement. If they believe you are entitled to compensation and have a fair chance of success, they will not require any upfront fees to take your case on.
That means they could spend months or years fighting to win compensation for your injuries and not get paid in the end if your case is unsuccessful. This gives claimants the confidence that their claim has merit and that no win no fee lawyers will do their best to win.
However, to compensate for the risk taken by offering you a no win no fee service, solicitors will take a success fee for winning a personal injury claim. Until 2013, the defendant had to pay the success fee if you won the case, but a change to legislation means this now has to be deducted from the claimant's compensation award.
Success fees are negotiable but cannot exceed 25% of your compensation for general damages and past financial losses, and you will discuss this with your solicitor before you sign anything. No deductions can be made from any compensation you receive for future economic losses, such as future loss of earnings if you are unable to return to work due to your injuries.
Furthermore, the compensation total is automatically increased by 10% to help offset the impact of the success fee when making a no win no fee claim.
What happens if I lose my no win no fee claim?
If you lose your no win no fee claim, you won't have to pay a penny. You have complete financial protection due to the following:
The conditional fee agreement between you and your solicitor
If your solicitor believes you have a valid claim, they will accept your case without asking for any upfront fees. Once they have accepted your case, you will receive the conditional fee agreement contract, which states that you do not have to pay a single penny if your case is unsuccessful. You will only have to pay your solicitor a success fee if you receive compensation.
The After the Event (ATE) insurance policy
At the beginning of your no win no fee claim, your solicitor will take out ATE insurance on your behalf. This is a legal expenses insurance you can purchase once you become aware that you will be involved in a legal dispute (hence why it is called 'after the event' insurance). ATE covers all the legal costs incurred by you and the other side involved in the claim, including:
- The defendant's solicitor fees
- The cost of police and medical reports
- Court and counsel's fees
- Travel expenses
- Expert witness fees
The ATE policy is considered a disbursement and is self-insuring, so if you lose the case, it will pay for itself. You only have to pay the ATE premium if your claim is successful.
The conditional fee agreement and the ATE insurance are a standard part of any no win no fee claim. They offer full financial coverage if you lose the case, so you can take legal action regardless of your economic situation and without taking any financial risks.
To start your claim, speak to an experienced no win no fee lawyer by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How long does a no win no fee claim take?
How long your claim might take to conclude will depend on your unique circumstances and will vary depending on factors such as:
- The type of accident you are claiming for
- The type and extent of the injuries you suffered
- The need for future care and assistance
- The time needed to collect evidence for your claim
- Whether the other side admits liability for your injury
- Whether you settle out of court or go to trial
- The estimated value of your claim
In other words, the more complex a claim is, the longer it will usually take to settle. For example, in straightforward cases such as a whiplash claim, you could receive compensation within four to nine months after starting legal proceedings. On the other hand, a high-value medical negligence claim for an injury such as brain damage may take up to five years to conclude.
If you believe you have grounds to make a claim, you should contact a no win no fee solicitor as soon as possible. On average, it may take at least three months to gather evidence of how the accident occurred and the injuries you sustained.
After preparing your claim, your solicitor will send a claim notification form to the other party, informing them of your allegations of negligence. They have 14 days to acknowledge your claim and up to four months to investigate it and send a letter of response.
If they admit liability for your accident, you can begin to negotiate a settlement. Both parties can make multiple offers until you agree on a compensation award acceptable to both parties, which might take weeks, months or even years.
If the other side denies responsibility for your injuries and you have to go to trial, it may take up to a year to receive a court date. Negotiations can continue up until that point, and more than 95% of all no win no fee claims are settled between the two parties without going to court. Once you are awarded compensation, you can typically expect to receive the money within a month.
Is there a time limit when making a no win no fee claim?
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years to make a no win no fee claim, which starts to countdown from either:
- The date your accident took place; or
- The date you became aware of your injury or illness, which is known as the date of knowledge
Usually, if you do not take legal action within the time limit, your case becomes statute-barred, and you can no longer claim. In rare cases, the court might allow an extension of the time limit depending on the extent and reason for the delay.
There are some exceptions to the three-year limitation to make a no win no fee injury claim, such as:
- In child injury claims, a parent, legal guardian or other person acting as a litigation friend can start a claim on behalf of the child at any time before they turn 18. Afterwards, the victim has until their 21st birthday to take legal action in their own name.
- There is no time limit to claim injury compensation for an individual who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings due to a traumatic brain injury or a pre-existing condition such as Alzheimer's.
- In wrongful death cases, a close family member could claim for compensation within three years from the date of death or after receiving the post-mortem results indicating that negligence may have been the cause of death.
- Compensation claims for criminal injuries must be made through the CICA within two years of the incident and after reporting it to the police.
- Military personnel injured in the line of duty could claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years after a traumatic event.
- The time limit to start a claim for an accident abroad varies from country to country and may be as short as six months. In this situation, it is especially important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
As a general rule, the sooner you start a claim, the easier it is to gather evidence, speak to witnesses and secure the compensation you deserve. To find out what time limit applies to your case, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a no win no fee solicitor.
How to choose the best no win no fee solicitors for my claim?
Choosing the best no win no fee solicitor for your case involves some comparative research. It is important to consider that some firms specialise in certain accident types, such as car accident claims, medical negligence or industrial injuries. So you need to make sure that the solicitors you choose have experience working on cases similar to yours.
All of the no win no fee solicitors that we work with throughout the UK provide a free consultation service. This enables your solicitor to understand and assess your case but is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions about the service they can offer.
During your free claim assessment, you can expect the following:
- The solicitor will ask for information about your accident, such as what happened, who you believe to be at fault, what injuries you have suffered and any evidence you may have to support your claim.
- The solicitor will explain how they can help you and provide information about the claims process, such as how long the case is likely to take.
- If you are eligible to make a claim, the solicitor will offer to take your case on a no win no fee basis and explain how this works.
- They will confirm the percentage that will be payable from your compensation if your accident claim is successful.
- It is then up to you to decide if you would like to proceed with hiring the solicitor or not. The consultation is provided free of charge and without any obligation to proceed, so if you choose to go elsewhere, you are free to do so.
To enable the solicitor to fully assess the strength of your case and offer you a no win no fee arrangement, it is important that they have sufficient information. Providing as much information and evidence as possible during your initial discussion is therefore extremely helpful. In doing so, your solicitor will be able to fully evaluate your claim and provide you with accurate legal advice.
Do I need to use no win no fee solicitors near me?
Most people who want to pursue compensation for a personal injury decide to seek legal advice and will often search for local solicitors on the internet. But not all local firms provide a no win no fee service, and they may focus on areas of the law that may not be relevant to your case.
Luckily, you do not need to attend a solicitor's office to make a personal injury claim, so you do not need to use a local no win no fee solicitor. Instead, you can correspond by telephone, letter or email. You will not have to attend their office to sign any documents, as electronic signatures are now universally accepted.
If necessary, your solicitor will come to visit you at home or the hospital. Furthermore, if your claim requires you to attend a medical assessment, this will be arranged at the nearest hospital to your location.
Since the onset of the electronic era, the number of physical meetings between claimants and solicitors has fallen dramatically. When seeking legal representation, there are more important aspects to consider than proximity, such as their experience and track record of winning personal injury claims.
Nonetheless, big personal injury companies provide a nationwide service and have many offices around the country. If you prefer a face-to-face meeting with your solicitor, it could be arranged by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
Is no win no fee the same as a conditional fee agreement?
If you want to recover damages for a personal injury, you will likely use a no win no fee service to fund your compensation claim. No win no fee claims are usually formalised by a conditional fee agreement (CFA) offered by no win no fee solicitors.
Once your solicitor accepts your claim, you will receive a copy of the CFA. Once you read it, you can ask your solicitor any questions you might have regarding the contract. The main points of the CFA state that:
- Your solicitor does not get paid for their services unless they win your case.
- If you receive compensation, you have to pay a success fee to your solicitor and cover any disbursements that cannot be recovered from the losing party.
The Ministry of Justice decided on a success fee cap that solicitors can charge, which is a maximum of 25% of your compensation for general damages and past financial losses. However, no deductions can be made from your award for future care and assistance needs.
The conditional fee agreement only covers your solicitor's fees. If your case is unsuccessful, you would still have to pay the defendant's costs and any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by your solicitor, such as medical reports and court charges.
However, to ensure you don't have to pay a penny if your case is lost, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf as part of your conditional fee agreement. You only have to pay for the cost of ATE if your claim is successful.
Are there other options to fund my personal injury claim?
No win no fee is the preferred option for funding a personal injury claim, and most cases are funded using this service. However, there are other ways to finance an injury claim, including:
- A damages-based agreement - this is a form of no win no fee arrangement between you and your solicitor in which you agree to pay them a percentage of your compensation if they manage to secure a specific financial benefit. This may be a better option if you have a high-value claim.
- Before the Event (BTE) Insurance, also known as legal expenses insurance, is taken out preventively before an accident happens. BTE insurance is typically offered as an extra option as part of your motor, travel or household insurance. Depending on the terms and limits of the policy, it may not always be enough to cover the costs of larger claims.
- Legal aid, also known as public funding, used to be available to anyone who was unable to afford legal representation in a personal injury claim. Now, it is only available in some specific circumstances, such as claiming for a severe birth injury or if you have been accused of a crime and face the prospect of going to prison.
- Trade Union Funding - if you are a member of a trade union, this may grant you free access to no win no fee lawyers, which may also extend to close members of your family. This means that if you win your claim, you do not have to pay an insurance premium and could keep more of your compensation award.
- Self-funding means that you agree to pay the solicitor's fees yourself, and you do not have to pay a success fee if you receive compensation for your damages. This could be a cheaper option, but on the other hand, if your claim is unsuccessful, you would have to pay all the legal costs and disbursements for you and the defendant, which makes it a risky option to fund a claim.
Based on the particulars of your case, your solicitor will be able to advise you on which funding option suits you best. If you feel you may have a valid compensation claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
Can I make a no win no fee compensation claim on behalf of somebody else?
Yes, if a loved one suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence and cannot claim themselves, you could act on their behalf. If their claim has merit, a no win no fee solicitor will accept the case without asking for any upfront fees.
In these circumstances, you would be classed as a litigation friend, acting on behalf of the injured person. Your duties as a litigation friend include:
- Consult with no win no fee solicitors
- Attend court hearing if necessary
- Pay any fees requested by the court
- Take decisions about the claim
- Approve and sign legal documents
- Consider any settlement offers
To be able to claim on behalf of someone else, your solicitor will send an application to the court supported by evidence showing that:
- You can represent the victim in a fair and competent manner
- You have no conflict of interest with the person in question
If you fulfil these requirements, you could assume the role of a litigation friend for:
- A child under 18 years old, whether you are one of the parents, a legal guardian or a family friend. Once the child turns 18, they can represent themselves, and your role as litigation friend will end.
- An adult who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings due to:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- An intellectual disability such as Down syndrome or autism
- A mental health condition such as bipolar disorder or severe depression
- A neurologic illness such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease
- A traumatic brain injury or stroke
- An individual with a language barrier who might have difficulty pursuing a no win no fee injury claim of their own accord.
- A loved one who passed away due to someone else's negligence.