What is a conditional fee agreement?
Here at the Compensation Experts, we know it can be complicated to understand all of the different terms relating to compensation claims, especially if you’re still recovering from a personal injury. That’s why we’re here to help explain all the different things you might need to understand when you start thinking about making a claim. A conditional fee agreement is a kind of funding arrangement for compensation claims – keep reading to find out more about how this might be the best option for your claim.
What is a conditional fee agreement?
When you begin making your compensation claim, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether you’ll be able to cover the cost of a solicitor. Conditional fee agreements, also known as CFAs, help remove this stress entirely by minimising the cost of hiring a solicitor.
A conditional fee agreement is a legal funding arrangement. It means you only ever have to pay your solicitor for their services if your case claim is successful, once you receive the compensation pay-out that’s been awarded to you.
These agreements are the updated equivalent of the old ‘No Win No Fee’ claim agreement before it was legally changed to make legal expense payment fairer.
While conditional fee agreements still provide almost exactly the same benefits as No Win No Fee claims, the success fee of the case is no longer paid in full by the claimant’s opposing side. Instead, a portion of your compensation is set aside to cover this success fee and any remaining solicitor expenses.
How does a conditional fee agreement work?
When you bring your claim to a solicitor, they’ll begin by assessing its potential success based on your accident, injuries, and your claim’s overall potential. There are a variety of personal injuries that can qualify as grounds for a CFA agreement. These can include, but are not limited to:
If your lawyer believes there is a good chance of success for your claim, they’ll begin working with you to construct a conditional fee agreement.
This CFA agreement will be clearly outlined before you and your lawyer start working on your case. This will include agreeing upon the success fee that you’ll have to pay should your claim be successful, as well as any other potential legal costs you may have to cover if the opposing side can’t cover it all.
It’s important to note, however, that not every claim is suitable for a conditional fee arrangement, especially if its odds of success aren’t guaranteed. If you’re unsure whether your claim qualifies for a conditional fee agreement, speak to our expert team. We’ll assess your claim’s chance of success and how much you could potentially claim.
How much do conditional fee agreements cost?
With conditional fee agreements, the majority of a claim’s cost will be paid for by the opposing side. The exception to this is your success fee.
Unfortunately, there is no set CFA cost for a success fee. The amount someone might pay will be determined on a case by case basis, based on their accident, injuries, and the level of compensation awarded
However, you don’t need to worry about your CFA cost taking a substantial amount from your compensation. While you won’t be able to agree on a set monetary value, you will be able to agree on a percentage. But more importantly, this percentage cannot be more than 25% of your total compensation, meaning you will always receive the majority of your compensation upon winning a claim.
Besides a success fee, you may also be required to cover various remaining legal expenses should the payment from the opposing side not cover everything. However, these expenses are by no means extravagant. They can include, but are not limited to:
- Barrister fees for court
- Medical reports
- Accident reports
- Travel expenses
What happens if I win a conditional fee agreement?
If your conditional fee arrangement is successful, you will be awarded your compensation, which must be paid in a set time by the opposing side. You will then have to pay your solicitor the agreed success fee and any remaining legal expenses.
If the opposing side fails to pay compensation within the agreed-upon timeframe, your lawyer will take them to court in order to force them to pay, but you will not be required to attend.
What happens if I lose a conditional fee agreement?
If you lose your conditional fee arrangement, you’ll pay nothing to your solicitor as a success fee. More importantly, you’ll also pay nothing to the opposing side in legal expenses unless under exceptional circumstances. These circumstances might include:
- Making a claim where you had no legal grounds to do so
- Making a claim in order to exploit the legal system
- Showing clear dishonest behaviour during the claims process
- Making your claim to financially benefit someone else
However, you may still have to pay certain other legal expenses to your solicitor should the need arise.
Why should I make a conditional fee agreement?
Conditional fee agreements provide you with peace of mind while also curbing the potentially large legal expenses associated with normal claim agreements.
If you choose not to opt for a conditional fee arrangement, you might have to pay a substantial fee upfront for the services of your solicitor, as well as further payments should the claim take a while to process. In the end, this money may very well be wasted as there is no guarantee of success.
With a CFA, you ensure that you don’t pay a penny if you lose, and your solicitor will fight all the harder to win your case to ensure they’re paid for their services.
Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with experienced solicitors with years of experience in winning conditional fee agreements. If you want to make a conditional agreement or a no win no fee claim*, get in touch with our team and we’ll put you in contact with the solicitor that’s right for you.
*Conditions may apply