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How Do I Get A No Win No Fee Compensation For Medical Negligence?

Introduction

With over 225,000 deaths each year in the United States from medical malpractice, it is imperative that patients can seek out compensation for the damages inflicted on them. However, as some may be daunted by the long-drawn and time-consuming process of filing for medical malpractice claims, we’re here to offer an alternative –– a no win no fee medical malpractice compensation. In this article, we’ll break down what No win no fee services are and how you can minimize your legal fees whilst still getting the appropriate compensation.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is defined as any act of negligence performed by a medical professional that results in an injury or harm to the patient. Essentially, it is a failure to exercise an accepted standard of practice of the medical community.

A medical negligence claim must be made within three years for it to be considered by a judge.  In other words, court processes must be issued no later than three years after the malpractice occurred or your realization of its occurrence. If there had been severe suffering after the occurrence, or the plaintiff is a minor under 18 years old, mentally ill, or developmentally disabled, they may be exempted from the three-year limit.

Hence, it is best to file your claim as soon as possible to ensure that your legal representatives and yourself have sufficient time to prepare your case and increase its chances of success.

How Do I Get A No Win No Fee Compensation For Medical Negligence?

What Are No Win No Fees?

No win no fees, also known as the conditional fee system, allow you to only pay legal fees to their legal representative if you win the case. It is a suitable option for you if you are a victim of medical negligence but your insurance policy does not cover it.

Before a solicitor agrees to take your case on a no win no fee basis, the case will be carefully researched to ensure that you have a higher chance of winning, which is usually around 60%.

Most solicitors are unlikely to take on risky cases with a small chance of success. Nevertheless, no win no fee gives more people access to legal representation regardless of their financial background, even if they are unable to pay upfront.

How To Fund Your Claim

You will need funds to pay for a solicitor who will be your official legal representation. There are several ways you can source for the financial means to pay in the UK –– such as public funding, insurance, and private payment.

Public Funding

The Legal Aid Agency can provide you with some financial support if you are dealing with exceptional cases, such as giving birth to premature children and them sustaining a severe brain injury from birth to the first eight weeks of their life. These cases are exceptional when the failure to provide legal services is a potential violation of The Human Rights Act, or when they are deemed so by the Director of Legal Aid Case Work.

Insurance

Your insurance company may cover medical negligence claims, though there is a maximum amount that can be claimed. You will have to contact the society affiliated with your insurance company. These solicitors will collect legal expenses insurance through other insurance policies you are under –– such as your home, health, and car insurance.

Private Payment

The alternative to no win no fee is private payment. However, not many choose private payment as you will have to pay the legal fee in full regardless of the outcome of your case.

Conditional Fee Agreement And Solicitors

You will need to sign a conditional fee agreement with your solicitor at the start of the claim. The agreement is a legal document that lists the terms and conditions of your payment. if your medical malpractice case wins, you will need to pay your solicitors the legal fee and success fee. The legal fee is the cost of hiring the lawyers, which is determined by the law firm. The defendant usually covers your legal fees if you win the case.

The success fee is an agreed percentage of your compensation that you pay your solicitor.

win you. The exact percentage would be discussed at the start of your case, typically when you sign the agreement. The success fee is usually 25 per cent of your compensation. The success fee also depends on the riskiness of the case, the likelihood of settling, and the nature of the damages. This must be paid by the claimant due to the Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act passed in 2013.

Disbursements

Although you will not have to pay for legal fees if you lose in a no win no fee case, you may still have to pay disbursements. Disbursements are additional costs incurred to help your case, including consultation with specialist medical personnel or barristers, medical records and other reports, courts, and travel. Such consultations are necessary as medical malpractice claims are complex and can only be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Disbursements are paid for by the defendant when you win the case. However, should you lose, you may have to pay the disbursements of your case, as well as the defendant’s costs. To protect yourself from such financial losses, it is recommended that you take out an after the event insurance (ATE).

ATE Insurance

ATE insurance covers the defendant’s costs and any other fees that were incurred after you take out the policy. The costs depend on the riskiness of your case and the amount of financial protection you need. The premium is typically due after the case, which allows you to pay it via your settlement if your case wins. Even if your case loses, you may not have to pay.

Before you can secure ATE insurance, the insurance company will evaluate the case based on several factors. Like your solicitor, they reject cases with a low chance of success. They may also refuse coverage if your compensation is considered too little. If you are unable to secure ATE coverage, you should consult your solicitor and look for other avenues of funding. You can also choose to drop your case if you think it is too financially risky.

Although it is not compulsory to take out ATE insurance in the United Kingdom for no win no fee claims, we highly recommend doing so. Taking up ATE will greatly decrease or even eliminate your financial losses even if your case loses. Your solicitor will be able to help you get an ATE insurance policy that is suitable for you and reasonably priced as they have much experience working alongside insurance companies. Hence, securing ATE insurance is an indicator that you have a strong case with a high chance of winning.

Conclusion

A medical malpractice claim can be a time-consuming, difficult process that possesses a significant financial risk to you. Hence, a no win no fee claim with ATE insurance coverage may be the most suitable option to give you peace of mind. It is best to seek legal representation to ensure that you will be properly compensated for your suffering whilst keeping the entire process as smooth sailing as possible.

 

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