Engaging a lawyer on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis has become common practice in Victoria, particularly in relation to claims for compensation after suffering a personal injury.
Before you sign a cost agreement, it is important to understand what ‘No Win No Fee’ means in practical terms. This will help you to decide if this service is the best option for you and your family.
There are two types of legal costs that can be incurred in the preparation and conduct of your matter.
This is the time the lawyer spent working on your case, as well as the time of administrative staff who assisted in the preparation of your claim.
These are expenses that third parties charge the law firm to access information or to progress your claim. Examples of disbursements include the cost of medical reports, court fees, barrister fees, freedom of information fees etc.
‘No Win No Fee’ typically means that you do not pay professional fees unless your case is successful. However not all law firms define a successful outcome the same. It is important that you review your cost agreement and the definition of a successful outcome closely to understand when you might be required to pay professional fees.
Most ‘No Win No Fee’ agreements do not extend to disbursements. This means that, if the law firm incurs any expenses on your behalf and your claim for compensation is ultimately not successful, you may still be required to pay the cost of preparing your claim.
Sometimes, payment of the disbursements can be recovered from large insurers, like WorkCover or TAC. This can be the case even if your claim is unsuccessful. If you are able to recover the cost of disbursements that have been accrued by your law firm, you may only be responsible for paying the expenses they have not been able to recover from the other side.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of your case, it is very important that you are aware of your obligations in relation to payment of disbursements.
To find out more about ‘No Win No Fee arrangements’, call Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988.