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Introduction

(a) There are a number of different ways to fund a personal injury claim. This document provides an overview of the options, to help you to make an informed decision, about how you will fund your personal injury claim. If you have any questions arising from this document, please let us know.

Legal Aid

(b) Legal Aid is not available to fund personal injury claims. Legal Aid may be available in extremely limited circumstances for certain clinical negligence claims resulting in the serious disability of a newborn child. We will have discussed this thoroughly with you if it applies to your claim.

Funding Your Own Claim on a Private Basis

(c) If you choose to fund your claim personally, your liability will be as follows;

(d) We will have discussed the cost-benefit analysis with you and advised you as to whether we feel that this would not be in your best interests and is therefore an unnecessary financial risk. However, you are of course, free to ignore our advice and proceed as you see fit.

Funding Through a Third Party

(e) You may have the benefit of legal expenses cover through membership of a trade union or through your employer. If you are a member of a trade union or believe that your employer may fund your claim then let us know and we will check that they are happy to do so and for you to instruct us.

Legal Expenses Insurance

(f) Legal Expenses Insurance may protect you against having to pay our fees and any charges we incur in acting for you such as medical fees (these charges are known as ‘disbursements’) and may also protect you against having to pay the legal fees and disbursements of your opponent.

(g) Legal Expenses Insurance is often contained within other types of insurance policies such as Home Contents or your motor policy. Please check whether your policies or any policies belonging to your spouse or partner contain legal expenses insurance. Some insurers have their own panel of solicitors, so you will need to check that your insurers will cover us for acting for you. If you have any doubts then let us know and we will investigate it for you.

(h) It is very important that you do check any existing policies that you may have as this will avoid unnecessary expenditure for you. If you do not tell us that you may have existing cover, then we will proceed on the basis that you do not. As a result, we may, at any point during the case, advise you to take out a Legal Expenses Insurance Policy to cover the costs of your claim and you will have to pay the policy premium. If you have this type of cover, any work which we do on your behalf prior to confirmation of cover from your insurer will be at your expense, regardless of whether cover is subsequently granted or not.

Conditional Fee Agreement

(i) You may wish to fund your claim by entering into a Conditional Fee Agreement with us. These agreements are often referred to as ‘no win no fee’ agreements because under such an agreement you will not have to pay our legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful.

(j) If your claim is successful you will be liable to pay our legal costs and disbursements plus a ‘success fee’ (to reward our firm for the risk we take when we make our fees conditional upon the success of your claim). You will usually be able to recover part or all of our costs and disbursements from your opponent but you cannot recover our success fee, this must be paid by you.

(k) The success fee will never be more than 100% of our costs (i.e. you might pay double the amount of our fees) and cannot be equal to more than 25% of the damages (as specified by law) that you are awarded.

(l) If your claim is unsuccessful you will still have to pay our disbursements You will not normally have to pay your opponent’s costs and disbursements unless;

  1. Your claim is found to be fraudulent on the balance of probabilities;
  2. You have failed to beat your opponent’s Part 36 Offer to Settle i.e. your opponent offered you a payment to settle out of court which was higher than the amount of damages that you were awarded at court;
  3. The case has been struck out because you have disclosed no reasonable cause of action or where it is otherwise an abuse of the court’s process.

We may advise you to consider After the Event insurance (see below) to cover the risk that you fail to beat a Part 36 offer, if this becomes necessary.

(m) We have assessed the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and we are prepared to enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement with you. Should the case change, and particularly if it transpires that you have failed to disclose any relevant information to us, we reserve the right to withdraw from the Conditional Fee Agreement and you may become liable to pay our past and future fees on a private basis.

(n) Substantial information about this type of funding is provided in the terms of our Conditional Fee Agreement and the attached document entitled ‘CFA: What You Need to Know’. If you are interested in this type of funding then please read the terms carefully before signing the agreement. Please do not hesitate to ask us to clarify any term of this agreement for you.

Damages-Based Agreement

(o) We must make you aware that it is now possible to fund personal injury claims on the basis of a Damages-Based Agreement. However, Hattons Solicitors LLP does not offer this type of funding to clients. You may of course, find other firms who do offer this type of funding for your claim.

(p) We have nevertheless, set out a brief explanation of how a Damages-Based Agreement would work, to allow you to make an informed decision about the best way to fund your claim.

(q) A Damages-Based Agreement is also a ‘no win no fee’ agreement as under such an agreement you will not have to pay our legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful and you do not recover any damages from your opponent.

(r) If your claim is successful and you are awarded damages, then you would pay us a percentage of the damages recovered as our payment. The law sets a limit on the percentage of your damages that we can take as our payment. The maximum percentage of your damages that we can take is 25% of the damages awarded to you relating to;

  1. General damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity; and
  2. Damages for pecuniary loss other than for future pecuniary loss.

You will also be expected to pay any disbursements that we incur on your behalf.
You will usually be able to recover some of the basic costs and some disbursements from your opponent. Where this happens, this amount will be payable to us and will reduce the amount of your damages that you will have to pay us.

(s) If your claim is unsuccessful you will still have to pay our disbursements. You will not normally have to pay your opponent’s costs and disbursements unless;

  1. Your claim is found to be fraudulent on the balance of probabilities;
  2. You have failed to beat your opponent’s Part 36 Offer to Settle i.e. your opponent offered you a payment to settle out of court which was higher than the amount of damages that you were awarded at court;
  3. The case has been struck out because you have disclosed no reasonable cause of action or where it is otherwise an abuse of the court’s process.

We may advise you to consider After the Event insurance (see below) to cover the risk that you fail to beat a Part 36 offer, if this becomes necessary.

After the Event Insurance

(t) We have explained that if your claim is unsuccessful you will still have to pay our disbursements and the costs and disbursements of the other side. Therefore, to protect you against this possibility we may recommend later that you take out an insurance policy known as an ‘After the Event’ policy (ATE). This is of course, provided that you do not have any existing Legal Expenses Insurance in place (as discussed above).

(u) You will be liable for the cost of the insurance policy premium should you accept our advice to take out After the Event insurance.

(v) If we do recommend that you obtain such a policy we will recommend a suitable policy to you and, on your instructions, will arrange this policy. You are not obliged to take out the policy we recommend and you should seek independent financial advice if you have any concerns about our recommendation. Similarly, if we do not believe that taking out a policy is in your best interests, we will advise you accordingly.

(w) We will set out the reasons why we believe that you need an ATE policy and why we believe the policy that we have recommended meets those needs in a ‘Demands and Needs’ statement. We are not financial advisers and do not conduct an analysis of the insurance market when making any recommendations and only do so because we are confident that that policy will meet your requirements.

(x) This firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts.

This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/register

(y) We are required to inform you that the Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society. Complaints are handled by the Legal Ombudsman.

Our Costs

(z) Whether or not you choose to enter into a ‘no win no fee’ agreement with us, we are obliged to point out how our costs are calculated.

(aa) As of the 30th April 2013 – all new claims submitted via the MOJ Portal costs are calculated as follows:

(bb) If your claim relates to a road traffic accident and is for Personal Injury and Loss of Amenity only for less than £25,000.00, then our charges may be fixed to set prescribed amounts, or Fixed Recoverable Costs, depending upon how your claim is dealt with procedurally. Instead of Hourly Rate charges, or Predictive Charges the charges will be calculated on the following basis (or such other amounts as may be prescribed from time to time by the Civil Procedure Rules):

  1. STAGE 1 – For early notification of the claim to the Defendant and their Representatives/Insurers, to include all of the information within our knowledge of the accident to allow them to make a decision on liability, and only where the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers have admitted liability for your accident within 15 business days, or in MIB Uninsured claims within 30 business days, after the date of notification of the claim to them – Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £200.00 (base costs).
  2. STAGE 2 – Following Stage 1, when liability has been admitted; and when medical and all other supporting evidence in respect of your claim is submitted to the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers, resulting in a total settlement of the entirety of the claim within the prescribed time limits for achieving a negotiated settlement of your claim – For Claims worth less than £10,000, Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £300.00 (base costs). For Claims worth between £10,000 and £25,000, Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £600.00 (base costs).
  3. STAGE 3 – Following Stages 1 and 2 and where agreement on the value of all aspects of your claim has not been reached, we shall prepare documents stating the final position in respect of your claim which will be sent to Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers and to the court with a request that the court make a final determination as to the total value of your entire claim for compensation.

Should Stage 3 be concluded without any attendance at court by us or the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers, referred to as a paper hearing – Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £250.00 (base costs).

Should Stage 3 be concluded requiring an attendance at court by us or the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers, referred to as an oral hearing – Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £500.00 (base costs).

If we provide advocacy services in the case then the charges then we will make a charge of up to £500.00 per hour depending upon the length and complexity of your case and the skill and experience of the advocate in attendance.

(cc) If your claim relates to an employer’s liability or a public liability claim, and is for Personal Injury and Loss of Amenity only for less than £25,000.00, then our charges may be fixed to set prescribed amounts, or Fixed Recoverable Costs, depending upon how your claim is dealt with procedurally. Instead of Hourly Rate charges, or Predictive Charges the charges will be calculated on the following basis (or such other amounts as may be prescribed from time to time by the Civil Procedure Rules):

  1. STAGE 1 – For early notification of the claim to the Defendant and their Representatives/Insurers, to include all of the information within our knowledge of the accident to allow them to make a decision on liability, and only where the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers have admitted liability for your accident within 30 or 40 business days, depending on the type of claim after the date of notification of the claim to them – Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £300.00 (base costs).
  2. STAGE 2 – Following Stage 1, when liability has been admitted; and when medical and all other supporting evidence in respect of your claim is submitted to the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers, resulting in a total settlement of the entirety of the claim within the prescribed time limits for achieving a negotiated settlement of your claim – For Claims worth less than £10,000, Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £600.00 (base costs). For Claims worth between £10,000 and £25,000, Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £1,300.00 (base costs).
  3. STAGE 3 – Following Stages 1 and 2 and where agreement on the value of all aspects of your claim has not been reached, we shall prepare documents stating the final position in respect of your claim which will be sent to Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers and to the court with a request that the court make a final determination as to the total value of your entire claim for compensation.

Should Stage 3 be concluded without any attendance at court by us or the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers, referred to as a paper hearing – Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £250.00 (base costs).

Should Stage 3 be concluded requiring an attendance at court by us or the Defendant or their Representatives/Insurers, referred to as an oral hearing – Fixed Recoverable Costs will be £500.00 (base costs).

If we provide advocacy services in the case then the charges then we will make a charge of up to £500.00 per hour depending upon the length and complexity of your case and the skill and experience of the advocate in attendance.

(dd) If you have just one opponent who admits responsibility for your injuries our costs should not exceed £3,000.00 plus VAT and the expenses are likely to be limited to about £1,000.00. If proceedings have to be issued, the costs will increase and we will give you further information at the same time as we are required to provide estimates to the Court. A claim of this sort if settled without proceedings may be concluded within 9 to 12 months and occasionally much sooner. If proceedings have to be issued it may take about another year to resolve the dispute finally.

(ee) Please note that whilst the above is an estimate of your total costs liability at this stage this figure may change throughout the course of your claim. We will endeavour to notify you of any changes. We have a duty to advise you of costs estimates every six months but we will not do this in the event there has been no change unless you request a specific confirmation.

(ff) If you choose to fund your claim on a private basis, our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, including emails, telephone calls, preparation of any detailed cost calculations and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary. From time to time we may arrange for some of this work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by us. For all such work, our charges will be calculated at a rate of £225.00 per hour. This rate is normally reviewed with effect from 1 January each year. This method of charging is called Hourly Rate Charging.

(gg) Disbursements:

To progress this matter, we may need to incur some other expenses directly on your behalf which are called ‘disbursements’. These may include:

In The Event You Become Liable To Pay Our Bill of Costs

(hh) Where you have opted to enter into a ‘no win no fee’ agreement with us and you personally become liable for our costs and you fail to settle one of our invoices on time, we may exercise a lien over any papers of yours that we hold at that time. This means that we may keep papers and other materials belonging to you until you settle our invoice.

This also extends to any fee due to a medical expert which has been incurred due to your failure to attend any medical examination appointment without having provided the appropriate notice of your non-attendance to us.

(ii) We will only do this if it is reasonable in all the circumstances and with due consideration to ensuring your position is not prejudiced and your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998 are not infringed.

(jj) Should the case arise where we issue you personally with an invoice then payment is due within 28 days. If you fail to pay our bill we may charge you interest (on a daily basis) on the unpaid element of the bill (at a rate no higher than the rate payable on judgment debts at the date of this agreement). Unless otherwise agreed, the interest period will begin 28 days following the delivery of the bill until payment.

(kk) In addition to the above; and by accepting our terms of business, you authorise Hattons Solicitors LLP to deduct any monies owed or due to us from any damages or interim payments received on your behalf in respect of this matter.

(ll) You are entitled to object to the bill by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman and/or by applying to the court for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.

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