By Charlie Brown

Getting legal representation is an expensive undertaking. Few people can afford these fees even when they have a strong case. Therefore, presented with a situation where you don’t have to pay any fees until a settlement is reached, is a very welcome reprieve. No Win No Fee or what is known as a contingency basis is a welcome solution for those who cannot afford legal fees.

What does this mean?

In very simple terms, No Win, No Fee means:

– That the legal fees are payable once your case has been won and a financial settlement or
award granted to you by the court.
– Your lawyer then gets their fees from a percentage that you had agreed upon before they took
up your case.
– You might still be expected to cover the court and any other costs associated with your case.

Your lawyer must determine whether the expected cash settlement will be sufficient to cover their fees. You have the mandate to determine whether what money is left over will be enough to allow you to receive sufficient compensation, especially if there are damages that you are expected to pay.

In some instances, your lawyer may consider other factors that you are allowed to claim as part of an injury against a third party. For instance, you may claim for loss of income or emotional distress, or any other serious circumstances arising from the incident that got you into the courtroom in the first place. There must be evidence to back up these claims and it must be presented to the court so that they can award a monetary compensation.

However, lawyers attempt to settle cases out of the court to avoid the rather costly legal fees. This sometimes results in a lower settlement than the one the court might grant, but there is the advantage of not risking losing the case. Any lawyer will advise you to try an out of court settlement first.

When does a financier come in?

If it is decided that the case must go before a judge, your lawyer might consider getting a financier to cover those pesky and expensive legal costs. The financier takes care of all the legal requirements and once the case is won and a cash settlement awarded, the financier gets a percentage in addition to the lawyer’s fees.

Should the court not award any money, the lawyer and the financier cannot claim any money from you. In effect, they suffer any losses incurred. This means that you do not owe them any money and they cannot hold you liable for any legal fees.

You must be very careful, however, to highlight the point of ‘No Win, No Fees’ in your contract with your lawyer and also with the financier. Failure to do so may lead to you being held responsible for costs related to your court case once it is over.

A No Win No Fee option is a win-win situation for you as a client because whichever way the case goes, you are not expected to pay any money unless it is awarded by the court, which means you can leave all the worrying to your lawyers and the financier who must fret over fees and returns.

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