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Personal injury claim(9 Posts)
I have a personal injury claim currently going through, it's been ongoing for over 2 years and will be going to court soon if no settlement is agreed.
What I want to know is, is it reasonable for me to ask my solicitor how much to expect should I get a payout? So far I've avoided this as for me it's (honestly!!) about the principle before the money, but I am obviously curious. Are the solicitors' expected fees any indication as to what sort of payout to expect? E.g. If they expect my legal costs to come to 30k, does that mean they'll be expecting me to get more than that as it's on a conditional fee agreement so they can only claim up to 30% of any settlement?
I feel really bad asking but I can't help wondering and I really don't understand how it all works!!
Solicitors fees are completely separate from damages so don't expect a similar figure. The 30% is what they can take from your damages not the total amount of their fees (the rules changed a few years ago and fees that could be claimed from the insurance company were capped. In order to make a profit solicitors have been forced to take a cut of damages, something they didn't do previously. 30% is the maximum they can take. So for example if your solicitors fees are £30k but the insurance company are only ordered to pay £15k that means they can't demand the other £15k from you, just 30%. So if you were awarded 10k they could only take £3k and would have to take the loss on the rest of the fees. Hope that makes sense)
The solicitors should have valued your claim when you went for a medical. That's what the medical is for, to assess the extent of the injury and how long they expect it to impact on your life (ie an injury that will heal in 6 months will be worth a lot less than one that last 24 months).
Ask them what the claim has been valued at, they should give you a rough figure for example between £3000 and £4500. The actual amount awarded could be anywhere on that scale, but at least you'll have a ball park figure.
If you have a copy of your medical report you can check the JSB guidelines online yourself for a rough estimation. Again, it's only a ballpark figure, and if it's going to court then it will be the judge who decides the final amount.
Thanks for the replies. The injury is something that has affected me for life so it's a big thing.
I just didn't understand how they would take on a case with large projected fees if they knew they could only take 30%. Does that make sense? They knew at the beginning the costs would be high so are they expecting my pay out to be high?
I just want to add that this really isn't a small thing I'm claiming for. I had to give up my career and can no longer care for myself due to what happened. I'm not a money grabber, I swear.
They won't only get 30%, the insurance company will still pay a large portion of their fees, the judge may order them to pay all if they feel it's reasonable. The 30% is just the maximum they could potentially take from your claim.
I've not worked in personal injury for a few years (not a solicitor but did claims handling and accounts) but I know it's no longer an easy process and the fact that you've got to the court stage shows that the claim is serious. I don't think it's money grabbing at all, your future earnings have been drastically affected by someone else's mistake/negligence and you deserve to be compensated for that.
Here's a link to the guidelines to give you a rough estimate of potential damages www.rcsolicitors.co.uk/site-login/resources/documents/personal-injury-damages-guide.pdf
Thank you so very much, DaisysStew. That makes so much more sense than the idea I had in my mind!
All the info and advice is so appreciated, it's been a very long and stressful few years. I'm going to give my solicitor a call tomorrow morning and ask what their rough estimate is. I'll also check out the websites you mentioned.
Again, thank you
From the solicitors point of view, they effectively work for free unless you win and 30% of compo is at least the same or more than you get awarded. If it looks like a big loss for the solicitors, they will be pushing for a settlement asap.
I think you should ask them for peace of mind. It's not money grabbing and they are used to such questions. They will poss be surprised you haven't already asked!!
you need to be more actively involved tbh. i would ask how they are assessing your damages. what evidence have they obtained so far, which experts have they instructed?
If it's a conditional fee agreeement they will get their base costs paid by the other side. If you entered into the CFA after April 2013 then the solicitors are not entitled to claim any uplift from the defendant but instead are entitled to seek an uplift from your d'managed but that is capped at a maximum of 25% of general damages and past losses. You will also be liable to pay any ATE insurance premium. Whilst costs should be proportionate to the sums in issue, they are not necessarily a good
guide as to the value of your case. You should have been given an indication of likely value - if you haven't, get in contact with your solicitors and ask for one.
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