Will there be anything to pay if I do not win my claim?
Many people worry about the legal costs of bringing a cycling compensation claim, especially if they are not sure if their claim will be successful.
Before proceeding with your claim, your solicitor will discuss your accident and injuries with you to establish the nature of your claim and the likelihood of success.
Some of the questions your lawyer may ask include:
- How did you fall from your cycle?
- Where did your accident happen?
- What time of day was it? Were you displaying lights?
- Are your injuries mainly cuts and bruises or do you also have broken bones or dislocations?
- Were you wearing a cycling helmet?
- Was anyone else involved? e.g. a pedestrian, motorist or another cyclist?
Once you decide to bring a claim, you are likely to be offered a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a "No Win, No Fee" agreement). This means that should your claim be unsuccessful, there will be nothing to pay.
How does the "No Win, No Fee" agreement work?
The agreement works by the solicitor sharing the risks and costs of legal proceedings with the claimant.
The arrangement is that the claimant only pays the solicitor's fees if the case is won and the claimant receives compensation.
The risk to the solicitor is that if the case is lost, the solicitor will receive no payment for their work.
Does this mean I will have to pay the solicitor if my cycling injury claim is successful?
The fee you pay to your solicitor will be through a deduction from your compensation award. Although the exact amount will not be known as the start of the case, it will be agreed as a "success fee" percentage within the details of your Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
In personal injury claims the maximum deduction is restricted to 25% of your total damages payment.
The total damages payment will consist of general damages for your pain and suffering and special damages to recover any costs you have incurred through your injury (including loss of earnings, cost of travel to hospital, cost of care).
Damages for pain and suffering will be assessed by the court according to the severity of the injuries and the effect they may have on your future.
For example, if you have sustained a head injury through a collision with an oncoming vehicle, the impact on your future is likely to be longer term than if you had dislocated a shoulder. This would be reflected in the compensation awarded.
What about the other costs?
Other costs - known as "disbursements" - are those paid out by your solicitor to other parties in support of your case. These include:
- Fees to a barrister to represent you in Court
- Costs of any medical reports by a GP or consultant
- Accident report and expert witness costs
Most of the time these are also paid for by the Defendant and are reimbursed to the solicitor.
What about the defendant's costs if the claim is unsuccessful?
In the event that your claim was unsuccessful you would technically be liable to pay the defendant's costs
However your solicitor would arrange an After the Event insurance policy to protect you from those costs if at any point it became likely that the claim might not be successful. The policy would pay for all unrecovered costs, meaning that there was nothing for you to pay.