Are you Googling “what does no win no fee mean”?
If you’ve been hurt on the road, at work or in a public place and are considering making a compensation claim, you probably have more than a few questions about how the “no win no fee” system works, and what, if anything, you’ll end up paying for legal fees.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about lodging a claim, without the legal jargon.
What is “no win no fee”?
Basically, if you sign up to a “no win no fee” agreement with a lawyer, then that lawyer will work on your case without the “certainty” of payment until a “win”.
In one way, this takes a significant risk away from the injured party when deciding whether to make a claim. It also means the lawyer will be motivated to do everything possible to get that “win” so that they can get paid!
As your lawyers, we will share your risk by putting our time and right to payment on the line until we get that “win”.
What is a “win”?
In legal terms we call it a “successful outcome” or “successful conclusion”.
A claim is considered to be successful once someone makes a reasonable offer of payment, which will lead to the ultimate resolution of the claim. At that time you become liable for the legal fees incurred, however they are not payable until the conclusion of the matter, when the money hits the bank.
Will I have to pay anything upfront?
No. There are two different types of legal fees:
1. Professional fees: the fees charged for our time spent working on your matter.
2. Disbursements: things your lawyers have to pay to others to get you a result, for example: getting evidence from police, medical records and paying for specialist medico-legal reports.
We will cover the expense of the outlays as your claim progresses, then these are repaid to us from the settlement monies when the matter is finalised.
All clients have the choice whether or not to fund their own disbursements. Most clients choose not to, either because they can’t afford to, or they simply prefer that the lawyers bear that risk, which we offer to do.
How do lawyers calculate their professional fees?
Professional fees are sometimes charged by the hour. We have a full team of people – from admin assistants to senior lawyers – who will work on your case. They spend time on things like, preparing the arguments, reading and understanding the evidence, attending meetings with you and the insurer etc. Normal service stuff.
Professional fees are also sometimes charged by the job. For example, compiling a brief to a doctor depends on the size and volume of the brief, rather than the time it takes to put it all together (it’s more cost effective this way for you!). Also, if we went to court to lodge a document, we just charge for item, and not the time it takes, so you avoid paying for waiting at the registry because another clerk from another firm is clogging up the queue.
Will I get a breakdown of costs?
All work completed on your matter is logged and recorded. It will say who did the activity and how long it took.
As your claim nears the final stages an assessment, an assessment will be done on your file to calculate our total legal fees based on the hourly rates of the various persons who did the work.
This assessment is sometimes performed internally, but often we use an independent cost assessor to provide an accurate and independent assessment of the legal fees payable.
What is the 50/50 cap?
A lot of people have questions about how much of their final settlement amount will be taken up by legal fees. What if I settle for less than what the lawyers will charge?!
Well, that can never happen.
Queensland laws don’t allow lawyers to charge the client any more in legal fees than the client gets in their hand. This is called the 50/50 rule and it trumps any assessments or calculation of legal fees.
The bottom line is: If your claim is successful, you can not be left with nothing or owing any monies.
The settlement award will:
- Cover any repayments to relevant government bodies
- Repay your outlays
- Pay your legal professional fees and;
- Produce an in-hand amount for you.
What are “relevant government bodies”, and why do I have to repay them?
When a claim settles, the insurer must notify government bodies such as Centrelink, Medicare etc for a charge/clearance. They are required to do this. If there is any monies owed for payments or services related to your injury, the insurer will repay that money to the relevant organisation on your behalf.
For example, if you attend a GP and are bulk billed for a consultation related to the compensable injury, then Medicare is entitled to be paid back the amount of the consultation that they covered in the first instance.
Don’t worry, these don’t eat into your settlement because we add these amounts into the claim from the insurer as part of your overall settlement. It’s kind of like, the insurer pays you to pay back Medicare.
Centrelink operates a little bit differently though, and its best to speak to us about how it works.
Who pays me my final cash-in-hand settlement amount, and how much will it be?
After the relevant government bodies have been repaid, the rest of the settlement monies are forwarded to our trust account under your name.
From there, we will repay the outlays that have been incurred to progress your matter.
The amount left over after statutory refunds and outlays is called the net settlement. The most a lawyer can charge for professional legal fees is half of the net settlement.
How do I sign up for a no win no fee claim?
If you have more questions about whether you are eligible to lodge a claim, call (07) 3180 0908 or email email@example.com for a confidential, obligation-free consultation.
We’re here to help YOU!
You can also get help in your preferred language, if you’re not a native English speaker.
We have a multinational team including:
- Mandarin speaking lawyers
- Cantonese speaking lawyers
- Japanese speaking lawyers
- Farsi speaking lawyers
- Dari speaking lawyers
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