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 claim: professional fees and disbursements.
This is the time the lawyer has spent working on your case, as well as the time of the legal assistants and/or paralegals who have assisted in the preparation of your claim.
‘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.
These are expenses that third parties charge the law firm to access your information or to progress your claim. Examples of disbursements include the cost of medical reports, medical records, court fees, barrister fees and freedom of information fees, among others.
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 disbursements incurred by the law firm in preparing your claim.
Sometimes, payment of the disbursements can be recovered from insurers, like WorkCover or the TAC. If you are able to recover the cost of disbursements that have been incurred by your law firm, you will only be responsible for paying the unrecoverable expenses that have not been recovered from the other side.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of your case, it is important that you are aware of your obligations in relation to payment of disbursements.
‘No Win, No Fee’ firms can charge an additional fee to recognise the risk that they will not be paid if the claim is unsuccessful. In Victoria, the amount of uplift fees can be up to 25% of the professional fees charged for your case.
At Redlich’s, we do not charge an uplift fee. We aim to keep our costs low so you can receive more of your compensation, so you can ‘Get back to better.’
To find out more about ‘No Win No Fee arrangements’, call Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988.