If you suffered an injury in the workplace through no fault of your own because you were involved in an accident at work, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against your employer. This would allow you the opportunity of being awarded compensation for the injuries you sustained whilst carrying out your job. However, for an accident at work claim to be successful, there are certain criteria that come into play which includes when the incident that left you injured occurred and that your injury happened through the negligence of a third party whether it is your employer or a work colleague.
The Necessary Criteria For Filing an Accident at Work Claim
The criteria required to file an accident at work claim against an employer are detailed below:
- Limitation – this covers the time limit associated with a work-related personal injury claim which is 3 years
- Causation – this covers how the incident occurred and whether your injuries were sustained as a direct result of being involved in an accident in the workplace
- Liability – this covers who can be held responsible for your injuries because you were owed a “duty of care” from an employer
A solicitor who specialises in accident at work personal injury claims would assess your case to establish whether you have a strong claim against an employer and that therefore, the chances of a court ruling in your favour are high. A firm of solicitors would typically offer you a free initial consultation which allows them to do so and once your claim has been assessed and a solicitor feels your claim is greater that £1,000, many would offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis.
You would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is a legally binding contract that sets out the percentage you would pay for the legal representation you receive which you would only have to settle if your accident at work claim is successful. Should your claim be unsuccessful, you would have nothing to pay because the solicitor you work with has agreed to take the risk by signing a CFA. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) was introduced in 2013 which set out that “success fees” must be capped at 25% of the money you are awarded in a successful claim. Before this legislation was passed, it was the “defendant” who paid the “success fees” and not the claimant.
The Time Limit Associated With Accident at Work Claims
It is worth bearing in mind that although there is a 3 time limit associated with accident at work claims and other personal injury claims. As such, it is worth seeking legal advice sooner rather than later because if you leave it too late and there is only a few months left to file a claim, a solicitor may not want to take on your case.
The reason being that it can take weeks to several months to gather all the information and evidence that is required for an accident at work claim against an employer to be successful. Negotiating the right level of compensation you rightly deserve can also take up a lot of time, more especially if the severity of your injuries means you need ongoing treatment and care.
Is It Worth Working With a Solicitor on a No Win No Fee Basis?
Anyone who suffers an accident at work that leaves them injured through no fault of their own, is entitled to file a claim for compensation against a negligent employer. Working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis means a lot of stress and worry is taken off the table because signing a Condition Fee Agreement with a firm of solicitors who specialise in accident at work claims means the following:
- You do not have to find any upfront fees or retainers therefore filing an accident at work claim against an employer does not carry any financial risks
- If your claim is unsuccessful, you would have nothing to pay for the legal representation you received
- You only pay a “success fee” to your solicitor once you have been awarded the compensation you rightly deserve whether a court rules in your favour, or your case is settled before it goes before a judge
What is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) in Work-related Personal Injury Claims?
A Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA, is a legally binding agreement between you and the solicitor who represents you in filing an accident at work claim against a negligent employer. The system was introduced in 1998 when Legal Aid for personal injury claims was no longer available as a way of providing workers who were injured in the workplace the opportunity of making a claim against an employer.
The agreement sets out the agreed percentage you would have to pay if your claim is successful known as a “success fee”. It also sets out just what a solicitor who works with you on a No Win No Fee basis would do and how payment would be made on successful claims.
It is worth bearing in mind that if the compensation you are awarded in a successful accident at work claim does not cover the legal costs incurred, a solicitor cannot ask you to pay the balance because the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) capped the percentage a No Win No Fee solicitor can request at 25%. However, they can request you pay the balance for the following reasons:
- The Conditional Fee agreement you entered into states a solicitor can request you pay the balance
- You agreed to contribute to the costs
As such, you must read a CFA thoroughly before signing it so you are aware of all the costs set out in the agreement. With this said, a solicitor who works with you on a No Win No Fee basis, would have taken out what is known as ATE insurance which is a policy the firm of lawyers takes out at the beginning of your claim.
ATE refers to “after the event” insurance and it also covers costs that are incurred by a Defendant. In short, After the Event insurance underwrites your Conditional Fee Agreement which in turn means the policy offers you protection from having to pay any fees if your accident at work claim is unsuccessful. The Defendant pays for the cost of the policy should your claim be successful but if you do not win your case, you would not have to pay the cost of an ATE insurance.
How Do No Win, No Fee Compensation Claims Work?
Working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis having signed a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is a straightforward legal process. A solicitor would assess your accident at work claim against a negligent employer and whether you case is strong enough to win in court – bearing in mind that many work-related personal injury claims are settled before going before a judge. A No Win No Fee solicitor would ask several questions when assessing your claim which would include when the accident occurred and the cause of your injury.
You would then sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is a legally binding contract between you and the solicitor which sets out the “terms and conditions” of the No Win No Fee agreement which includes the percentage you agree to pay for the solicitor to work on your claim which is often referred to as a “success fee” because you only have to pay this when you are awarded compensation either by a court or your employer’s insurers should they decide to settle “out of court”.
What Happens When I Win a No Win, No Fee Claim?
When your accident at work claim is successful and you are awarded an amount that reflects your injuries which includes general damages, special damages as well as financial losses and the out of pocket expenses you incurred, you would pay the “success fee” you agreed with your solicitor which is set out in your Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The amount is deducted directly from the amount you are awarded which means you are never “out of pocket” when working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis.
What happens if I My No Win, No Fee Claim is Unsuccessful?
Should your accident at work claim be unsuccessful, you would not have to pay anything for the legal representation you received when you sign a Conditional Fee Agreement. However, it is very important to read the fine print of all CFA’s to make sure that the contract covers all the costs and not just the solicitor’s fees.