Any employee who is injured in an accident at work would be entitled to claim compensation from an employer providing their case meets specific criteria. If you were involved in a workplace accident and you were injured, once a solicitor is satisfied that your personal injury claim is valid, they would offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. To find out more about Conditional Fee Agreements and how they work, please read on.
Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) Explained
A Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA and it is a legal contract between a solicitor and you. Having signed a CFA, it means that you can file an accident at work claim against an employer without having to worry about the following:
- Having to pay an upfront fee or ongoing payments as your case progresses. In short, you would be able to file a personal injury claim against an employer without any financial risk to yourself
- You would not have to pay for the legal representation a No Win No Fee lawyer provided should your claim not be successful
- You only have to pay the agreed “percentage” as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement when you are awarded compensation for the injuries you sustained. This is known as a “success fee” and the amount is deducted from the amount of personal injury compensation you receive by the solicitor who represented you
Conditional Fee Agreements were introduced as a way to help people who are injured in the workplace or elsewhere seek compensation from a third party when Legal Aid was withdrawn. A CFA lays out the Terms and Conditions of what a No Win No Fee lawyer would do and the percentage that would only be payable on a successful personal injury claim.
What is the Maximum I Would Pay a No Win No Fee Solicitor?
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) capped the percentage a No Win No Fee lawyer can charge you at 25% of the total personal injury compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim. However, there may exceptions to the amount a solicitor may charge for the legal representation they provide which are as follows:
- The Conditional Fee Agreement you sign states otherwise
- You agree to contribute to the legal costs involved
As such, it is extremely important that you read the Conditional Fee Agreement very carefully before you sign it.
What is After The Event Insurance (ATE)?
As previously mentioned, you would only have to pay a No Win No Fee lawyer the agreed percentage if you win your accident at work claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you would not have to pay for the legal representation provided. The solicitor’s fees in an unsuccessful personal injury claim would be paid by an insurance policy that is set in place at the outset of your case which is known as an “after the event” insurance otherwise known as an ATE.
This “after the event” insurance covers the costs that are incurred by the Defendant too and should this insurance not be in place, it would mean you would have to pay the Defendant’s legal costs should you lose your accident at work claim. In short, “after the event” insurance underwrites a No Win No Fee agreement and as such, protects you from having to pay any legal costs should you lose your case.
If your accident at work claim is upheld, the cost of the ATE policy is paid by your employer’s insurers (Defendant) and if you lose your claim, you would not incur any costs.
How No Win No Fee Compensation Works
Working with a No Win No Fee solicitor is straightforward. The solicitor you contact would initially assess your claim and once satisfied that you have a strong claim and that your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own, they would ask you to do the following:
- Sign a No Win No Fee agreement which sets out the Terms and Conditions and the percentage you would only have to pay on a successful accident at work claim
Once you have signed the No Win No Fee agreement, the solicitor would then be able to start working on your claim by doing the following:
- Gather evidence to support your accident at work claim against your employer
- Write to your employer’s liability insurance provider – the Defendant – notifying them of your intentions to seek compensation for injuries sustained by making an accident at work claim
The solicitor would follow the necessary pre-action protocols when communicating with an insurance provider who would then consider all the evidence they were provided with which supports your accident at work claim against your employer. This would include all the medical evidence relating to your injuries. If your claim is undisputed, the insurance company would enter into negotiations with your solicitor, bearing in mind that 95% of personal injury claims are settled without the need of going to court.
What Damages and Losses Would I Be Awarded if I Win a No Win No Fee Claim?
If your accident at work claim is successful, you would be awarded both “general damages” which would compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity, and “special damages” to compensate you for all the financial losses you incurred due to having been injured in the workplace through no fault of your own.
General damages and special damages you are awarded would be paid by your employer’s liability insurance provider who would also be liable for all your legal costs.
Your No Win No Fee solicitor’s “success fee” would be directly deducted from the personal injury compensation you are awarded in a successful accident at work claim against a negligent employer.
What If My Accident at Work Claim is Unsuccessful?
Should you lose your accident at work claim against an employer, you would not have to pay for the legal representation provided by a No Win No Fee lawyer and there would be no legal costs to pay either.
However, some Conditional Fee Agreements only provide cover for a solicitor’s fees and may not cover the following:
- A barrister’s fee
- Medical expert fees
- A Defendant’s legal fees
As previously mentioned, this is why it is extremely important that you read a No Win No Fee agreement very carefully before signing it and to only sign the contract once you are happy with the Terms and Conditions as well as the “success fee” you would have to pay on a successful personal injury claim.
What Is a “Success Fee” in a Conditional Fee Agreement?
A “success fee” is the percentage you would have to pay a No Win No Fee lawyer which is only payable if you win your accident at work claim against a negligent employer. If your case does not succeed, you would have nothing to pay for the legal representation you received. With this said, the maximum percentage a No Win No Fee solicitor can charge is 25% of the total amount of accident at work compensation you receive.
You can sometimes negotiate the percentage payable with the solicitor you contact so it is always worth discussing this before you agree to enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement with them.
Would a No Win No Fee Solicitor Work on My Accident at Work Claim?
A No Win No Fee lawyer would need to assess your accident and work claim to establish whether an employer could be held liable for the workplace injuries you sustained. For a personal injury claim to be valid, it would need to meet the criteria below:
- That the workplace accident occurred in the last 3 years
- That you were not responsible for the injuries you sustained or that you were partly liable with your employer also being partly responsible
When you contact a No Win No Fee solicitor, they would typically assess your claim against an employer in a no obligation, initial consultation which is free of charge. The consultation can be done over the phone but should your accident at work claim be complex, you may have to attend a face-to-face meeting with the solicitor. Either way, there is no charge attached to the consultation and should you choose not to file an accident at work claim, you have the right not to continue with your case.
Should the solicitor believe that your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained in an accident at work and that you have a strong case, they would then offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This takes all the worry of finding the funds to pay for legal representation off the table leaving you to place your focus on your recovery.
The solicitor would also arrange for you to be examined by a specialist who would provide a medical report detailing the extent of your injuries and how they might negatively impact your future well-being and ability to work.
What are My Workers Rights If I Am Injured in an Accident at Work?
If you are injured in the workplace through no fault of your own or because you were partly responsible for the accident occurring, you have the right to do the following:
- To seek compensation for workplace injuries you sustained whether minor or more severe
- To file a personal injury claim against an employer without the worry of being sacked from your job because you do
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
Worker’s rights are protected in the United Kingdom. An employer must ensure that an environment is as safe as possible for you to work in whether onsite or offsite. Employers must set in place all “reasonable” measures to ensure the risk of a workplace accident happening is kept to a minimum and if they fail to do so, an employer could be held liable for any injuries an employee or other person sustains in the workplace.
Your employer must abide by all the regulations that are set out by the Health and Safety Executive and other government legislation and this means they must do the following:
- To make sure that you are given adequate and ongoing training so that you can do the jobs you are tasked to do in the workplace safely
- That you are made aware of all working practices and procedures
- That you are provided with the correct personal protective equipment so that you can carry out a job safely
- That all the machinery, tools and other equipment you use in the workplace is kept in good working order and regularly serviced to a manufacturer’s recommendations
- That risk assessments of a working environment are regularly carried out to identify hazards and dangers
- To set in place all “reasonable” measure to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees
If you are injured at work because your employer failed in any of the above which resulted in an accident, you could sue them and be awarded compensation for the injuries you sustained.
What is the Time Limit to Making an Accident at Work Claim?
There is a strict time limit that must be respected if you want to file an accident at work claim against an employer and the sooner you contact a solicitor the better the chance there is that they would agree to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. With this said, the 3 year time limit to filing an accident at work claim starts at different times depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident that left you injured. This is explained as follows:
- 3 years from the date you were injured in the workplace
- 3 years from your 18th birthday if the accident at work that left you with an injury have occurred before you turned 18
- 3 years from the date you were diagnosed as suffering from a health issue that can be linked to the workplace accident that resulted in you being injured
Could I Lose My Job If I Seek Compensation for a Workplace Injury?
The law is very clear when it comes to whether you can be sacked from a job because you file for compensation for the injuries you sustained in the workplace and it states that your employer would be acting unlawfully if they fired you for no other “good reason” than because you chose to make a personal injury claim against them.
If you are treated unfairly or detrimentally, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible and this is true if your employer threatens to make you redundant or fire you because you seek compensation for workplace injuries against them. The chances are that you would be entitled to file more legal action against your employer for acting in this way towards you.
Should I Sue My Employer If I Am Injured in a Workplace Accident?
As previously mentioned, your worker’s rights are “protected” in the United Kingdom and this includes when you suffer any sort of workplace injury or develop a medical condition because of the work you do. With this said, for an accident at work claim to be valid, it must meet specific criteria which are as follows:
- That the workplace accident occurred in the last 3 years
- That you were not responsible for the injuries you sustained or that you were partly responsible
An employer must hold valid liability insurance which must meet the legally required cover of £5 million. The policy must be issued by a recognised insurance provider and an employer should ensure that the policy is clearly displayed in the workplace. When you are injured in the workplace and you file a personal injury claim against your employer, it would be their liability insurance provider who handles the case.
The personal injury compensation you would be awarded in a successful claim would be paid by the insurance company with the majority being settled before they even go to court providing an employer does not deny liability for the workplace injuries you sustained.
What Are The Benefits of Working With a No Win No Fee Solicitor on an Accident at Work Claim?
Work-related personal injury claims can be complex legal procedures and you need to abide by specific pre-action protocols to ensure that you get things right from the outset. An experienced accident at work lawyer has all the know-how of dealing with insurance companies and understands what evidence is needed to validate a claim against a negligent employer.
But there many other benefits and advantages of working with a No Win No Fee lawyer when making an accident at work claim and this includes the following:
- Your case would be assessed by a No Win No Fee lawyer in an initial, no obligation consultation which can be done either over the phone if your claim is straightforward or in a meeting should your case be more complicated. This consultation is free of charge which means you would not have to worry about paying for legal advice when you need it the most
- Lawyers can access legal libraries which they can base your claim on when necessary
- Working with a No Win No Fee lawyer on an accident at work claim means you can focus on your recovery rather than worrying about how to pay for the legal representation you need as there would be no upfront or ongoing fees to find as your personal injury claim against an employer progresses
- Solicitors have vast experience when it comes to communicating with an employer’s liability insurance provider
- The amount of compensation you would be awarded in a successful personal injury claim would be expertly negotiated by the No Win No Fee solicitor who represents you and should your case be more complicated and therefore it takes longer to reach a final settlement, the solicitor would ensure that you receive interim payments in the meantime
A major benefit of having a No Win No Fee lawyer work on your personal injury claim, is that they would arrange for you to be seen by a specialist or consultant who would provide an all-important medical report detailing the injuries you sustained in an accident at work. An accident at work solicitor would also ensure that you receive ongoing medical care should your injuries be such that you require long-term treatment.
To find out more about No Win No Fee agreements, please follow the link below:
If you would like more information on your worker’s rights, the following link provides essential reading: