DGM Solicitors is a wholly independent law firm. We have no affiliations with insurance companies and aim to achieve the maximum compensation for our clients. We feel this can only be achieved by a truly independent law firm.
No Win, No Fee is a term that most people have heard of, but how many people actually know what it means? This page should help you understand the process, including some of the new changes which have come into effect since the 1st of April 2013.
“No Win, No Fee” Agreements or Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA) to give them their legal term, are by far the most common method of funding personal injury claims. Put simply, the CFA means that a solicitor will take on your claim at no cost to you and will only recover costs if successful.
DGM Solicitors takes on nearly all cases on a CFA basis and will fund your claim until it settles. If we are unsuccessful then we will not charge for our services.
Our service guarantees the following:
If your claim is successful we will receive a portion of our costs from the losing party and a portion of our costs from you. This will be taken from your damages at the end of your case and we guarantee that this will not be more than 25% of any damages you receive. This allows us to fund your case until settlement (including any treatment costs required) and allows us to take the risk of not being paid, should we lose.
If your claim is unsuccessful we will not charge you for the work carried out in your case. Unfortunately you may still be liable for other costs involved in bringing your claim, such as court fees, medical reports or any other reports (Police reports, hospital records etc.). These costs are known as “Disbursements” and are required to bring your claim. These costs can be considerable, particularly in higher value claims.
In addition to this your opponent may make a low offer to settle your claim that if you fail to beat at court will mean you have to pay their legal fees that could leave you with little or no compensation even if you win.
We have seen a number of other solicitors advertising No Win No Fee and guaranteeing no charge if you lose. Although this is partially true in that they will not charge for their fee, they may not advise you of the real cost should you lose. To protect you against these costs we advise our clients to take out an ‘After The Event’ (ATE) insurance policy.
An ATE Policy will protect you against having to pay your opponent’s costs and disbursements should your claim be unsuccessful.
Prior to the 1st of April 2013 the cost of the ATE was recoverable from the losing party ensuring that claims could be run risk free and the Claimant would receive 100% of their damages.
Due to changes introduced by the Government, the cost of the ATE Policy is no longer recoverable from the losing party. The aim of this was to reduce the cost of claims for insurance companies as well as shifting some of the risk to Claimants in the hope that this would lead to a lower number of claims.
You do not have to take out an ATE Policy but in some cases we strongly advise you to protect yourself against any cost risks so that if your claim is unsuccessful there are 100% No Costs to you. The policy will also protect you if your opponent makes a low offer to settle your claim that you fail to beat at Court.
Benefits of taking out an ATE Policy
Unfortunately since the recent changes the cost of the Policy must be paid for out of your damages. The Policy is only payable if you are successful. You do not need to take out the ATE and we will not force you to do so but we are under a duty to protect you from risk. The subject of ATE is very complex and not all solicitors will explain this to you and may advise you not to take out a Policy. If you require any advice on an ATE Policy please contact our team on 01244 457472 we are happy to answer any queries you have, even if you are not one of our clients.
This is by far the most common question we are asked when we take on a claim. In actual fact, it is impossible to give you a figure. You may see “Compensation Calculators” advertised online with promises of 10’s of thousands of pounds for injuries. In truth, it is impossible to value your claim without the correct evidence. Although there are rough guidelines, every injury is different. Injuries affect us all in different ways and this is dependent on a number of factors including age, sex, occupation and previous medical history.
Once you have seen a medical expert we will have a better understanding of your injuries and can then place a valuation on your injury claim. If you enter into a No-Win No-Fee agreement the damages you will be awarded are 10% more than claims which were made prior to April 2013, this is to offset the deduction solicitors now have to charge the client.
We deal with all personal injury claims on a “No-Win No-Fee” basis. This covers your own legal costs but not your opponents’ costs or the disbursements incurred such as medical reports, engineer fees and court fees. To protect you in this instance we can arrange to take out an After The Event (ATE) Insurance Policy.
Although DGM Solicitors will not be paid if you lose, certain costs will need to be paid, for example the cost of a medical report, GP records, Court fees or other expert evidence (all known as disbursements). In addition to the disbursements you may be liable for your opponents’ costs. An ATE policy covers you against having to pay these costs and if you lose, unlike other policies our policy is self-insuring meaning it will pay for itself if you lose. So we can truly say that there are no costs if you lose your claim. We arrange the policy on your behalf and it only becomes payable if you win your case. The cost is taken from your damages at the end of the case. You are not required to take out this Policy and we will never insist that you do. If you do not require the Policy, please let us know at the outset of your claim or when you return the paperwork and we will cancel the Policy.
If you have any Legal Expenses Insurance on your motor or home policy, we can sometimes use this instead of the ATE Policy. If this is the case we can cancel the ATE Policy and utilise your own Policy.
Almost all cases settle outside of Court. Some statistics suggest around 98% settle without a Hearing. Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced to go to Court especially if a Defendant will not accept liability or if they make you a low offer to settle and a Judge is required to make a decision. We will take all steps to avoid Court Proceedings but if they are required you will be kept fully informed and given detailed advice.
You can claim for most losses you have sustained in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Common losses include:
Provided you can provide evidence for your losses and they are as a result of the accident, then usually you can claim these back from the Defendant.
This is not an easy question to answer. If the Defendant admits liability straightaway and your claim is relatively straightforward then your case can be settled within a few months. Sometimes liability is denied and we have to fight for your compensation, this can take considerably longer, but we aim to do all we can to speed up the process on your behalf. After all we do not get paid until we succeed.
Some serious injuries will take longer to settle than others as these require more detailed evidence and time to ensure that the claim is dealt with properly. In more serious claims, we can request payments from the Defendant part way through the claim process leagly known as an interim payment; this can assist when you may not be working.
When you are involved in an accident, particularly a Road Traffic Accident, you may be required to report the accident to your insurer. Your insurer may pressure you into using their “panel firm” as well as their hire cars and repair garages.
Often these “panel firms” are the same firms that defend personal injury claims. As a purely independent Claimant firm, DGM Solicitors can ensure that you are our main concern, not the insurers.
You may have heard of insurance companies now buying out law firms to ensure that they profit from their own cases. This is a subject of great concern for independent solicitors, including DGM Solicitors. It is no secret that insurance companies have lobbied the Government into reducing costs and the number of claims being made against them. In summer 2013 the Managing Director of Personal Lines at Directline Insurance, openly stated that the levels of general damages paid to Claimants were too high. In 2013 Direct Line announced that they have set up a law firm to deal with all aspects of claims on behalf of its policyholders. The same company stating payments for injury claims are too high, now own a law firm set up to deal with personal injury claims on behalf of its policyholders!
The defendant insurers have called me and offered me money to settle without a solicitor, what shall I do?
This is becoming increasingly common, especially since the changes introduced in April 2013. Insurers often obtain victims’ details from their own policyholder and call them direct to make offers to settle without legal representation. This is very dangerous and we advise all or our clients to reject insurers’ advances.
This is very underhand and often the injuries are worth much more than insurers’ offers. Insurers do this to save money, they know full well that with the right legal representation, your claim could be worth much more and it is simply a tactic employed to save insurers money. Without the correct legal representation you could be at risk of under settling a claim considerably. In a recent case one of our clients nearly accepted £1,500 direct with the insurer. Since attending a medical with one of our experts it transpires his claim is worth over £10,000 and he required an operation on his knee as well as a considerable amount of time off work.
You are free to choose to repair your vehicle at any garage of your choice. You are not required to use their own body-shop. You can use your own franchised dealership to repair your vehicle. If you drive a prestige vehicle you may wish to use the dealership rather than an insurer body-shop that deals in volume repairs. We can arrange to have your vehicle repaired in a garage of your choice, we won’t let you get bullied by the insurers.