Being injured in an accident that was the fault of someone else or suffering a worsening medical condition after negligence is something the victims can take action over.
The law allows the public to take civil action for acts that were not criminal but resulted in harm being caused. A personal injury claim is a way of addressing and righting the injustice that has occurred.
But how a claimant is able to fund their personal injury claim will depend on where in the UK their accident happened.
Claims in England and Wales
In England and Wales, the ability to make a personal injury claim is a comparatively simple prospect for the public. That’s because the law allows claimants to pursue legal action on a No Win No Fee basis.
The most common form of No Win No Fee arrangement is a conditional fee agreement (CFA). It means there’s no risk to the claimant if their claim was to be unsuccessful. It also means there is no upfront fee, making the process of claiming more accessible to people who may not have been able to afford it otherwise.
The No Win No Fee claim covers all personal injury – accidents at work, road traffic accidents, slips and falls and other accidents – as well as medical negligence.
Claims in Scotland
The rules around No Win No Fee differ slightly in Scotland. Personal injury claims can be processed under a speculative fee arrangement, which is similar to a conditional fee agreement. There are no fees if the claim is not successful and a success fee in the event it is.
In many ways, claims run the same way they do in England. Solicitors don’t take an upfront fee and there’s nothing to pay if the claim is not successful. There is then a success fee to pay if the claim is won. This is up to 25% of the compensation awarded.
However, medical negligence is the major difference. Making such a claim is still possible in Scotland – it just can’t be done on a No Win No Fee basis. Fees will depend on what the individual solicitor and firm charges.
Claims in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, the law around civil litigation is very different. No Win No Fee is not available to pursue any kind of civil claim – personal injury or other.
According to the UK Parliament: “Personal injury claims not reliant on legal aid are funded in a variety of ways, including commercial arrangements between lawyers and insurers, trade union support, and informal practices adopted by smaller firms.
“Many personal injury cases in Northern Ireland operate under what are in practice CFAs, although they are not recognised as such. A successful claimant can only claim costs from a defendant to the extent that the claimant has incurred a liability to pay costs to his or her own solicitor.”
So although personal injury claims are available to everyone who has suffered from an accident that wasn’t their fault, a where an accident happened will have a significant impact on the way the case is processed.
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