No Win No Fee Lawyers – Your Guide.
If you’re injured and looking for a personal injury lawyer, a no win no fee lawyer is an excellent option that means you shouldn’t have to pay anything upfront, and you shouldn’t be out of pocket if your claim is unsuccessful.
However, some no win no fee lawyers, including some very well-known firms, still expect you to pay them if they’re unsuccessful with your case. This is because their no win no fee agreements cover their professional fees but not their costs.
In this article, we explain in simple terms why we believe the Law Partners no win no fee guarantee is the best and fairest agreement in Australia and one of the reasons we’ve grown to become the largest specialist personal injury firm in Australia.
We also expose some of the hidden fee traps in some personal injury costs agreements that you should watch out for, and explain which questions you should ask to make sure you choose the best no win no fee lawyer for your claim.
What’s a no win no fee lawyer?
A no win no fee lawyer offers to run your case for you and you only need to pay them if you win. They generally only take on claims they believe they can win. But they can’t guarantee they’re going to win, and with some, it can be quite hard to tell who pays their costs if your case is unsuccessful.
We believe all no win no fee lawyers should be very clear on what happens if your case is unsuccessful and who pays your costs.
Read on to learn what questions you should ask and how to understand the difference between no win no fee costs agreements.
How much do no win no fee lawyers take?
The first step in choosing the best no win no fee lawyer is to understand how they charge for their services, and what you’ll have to pay for if your claim is successful. Here’s a simple explanation of how most personal injury lawyers structure their fees in Australia.
Once your case has settled, your no win no fee lawyer will take amounts from your settlement in line with their costs agreement. These amounts are to cover their professional fees, disbursements, and barrister fees, outlined below:
Professional fees are the fees you pay to your no win no fee lawyer if they win your case. Personal injury lawyers in NSW can’t take a percentage of your compensation payment – this rule protects you from being charged large fees for very little work.
Your no win no fee lawyer is only allowed to take fees for the services they’ve provided, through an hourly rate, or as set amounts for each of the services. However, your lawyer can cap their fees so that you know your fees can never exceed a certain percentage of your settlement.
If your lawyer doesn’t put a cap on their fees, then you won’t know what is the maximum amount they could take from your settlement. But you can still ask for an estimate, and you can ask them to update their estimate regularly to make sure there are no nasty surprises.
At Law Partners, we cap our fees so you can be confident there will be no surprises after your case settles.
Disbursements are the costs your lawyer pays when they run your case and they can make up a large part of your bill. Disbursements can be for services like:
- Medical reports
- Forensic accounting reports
- Other expert reports
- Court fees
Disbursements vary greatly depending on the complexity of your claim, but generally run into the thousands of dollars.
If your no win no fee lawyer hires a barrister for your case, the barrister’s fees will be deducted from your settlement. Barrister’s fees for personal injury claims typically range from $5,000 to $10,000.
Are no win no fee lawyers a safe option?
When an offer sounds too good to be true, it’s good to approach it with caution. If you choose the right no win no fee lawyer, it’s an excellent option that allows you to get a professional legal team working for you to run your personal injury claim and fund all the up-front costs for you.
However, before you choose a lawyer, consider the following ‘fee traps’ in some no win no fee costs agreements, and how to spot them:
Before you sign with a no win no fee lawyer, make sure you’re 100% clear on who will pay your costs if your case is unsuccessful. Despite advertising themselves as ‘no win no fee’, some personal injury lawyers could still hit you with a large bill, even if you don’t receive any compensation.
For example, a law firm might say something like: “If you don’t win, we won’t charge you anything for our work”. What this is likely to mean is they won’t charge you for the work they’ve done, but they’ll still charge you for the costs they’ve incurred (disbursements) and barrister fees – and this can run into many thousands of dollars. So in this case the no win no fee agreement means that if your lawyer is unsuccessful, you won’t receive any compensation but you’ll still be hit with a bill to pay.
Needless to say, no win no fee lawyers who take this approach should be avoided.
At Law Partners, we pay all your costs upfront, so you won’t be out of pocket. But some lawyers will ask you to pay upfront for expenses like the expert medical reports they need as evidence for your case, or for travel expenses or court fees.
We believe this is unfair to you, and not a true ‘no win no fee’ arrangement.
Some no win no fee lawyers will pay the up-front costs and barrister fees for you, but then charge you excessive interest on these costs at the end of your claim. Choose a firm that is fair and only charges interest to cover their own costs.
With Law Partners, you can be confident you won’t come across any of these fee traps. Our no win no fee agreement has established a new benchmark for fairness in personal injury law in Australia.
What happens if my case is unsuccessful?
If your no win no fee case is unsuccessful, there are two possible outcomes, depending on which type of lawyer you chose:
- If you used a lawyer who covers all your costs and disbursements, no one will pay your lawyer’s fees, and the lawyer will pay your costs out of their own pocket. These are clearly the best no win no fee lawyers to choose.
- If you used a no win no fee lawyer who only covers your professional fees, then no one will pay your lawyer but you will pay for costs and disbursements, leaving you out of pocket.
At Law Partners, we win over 99% of our cases. But in the unlikely event your case is unsuccessful, you’ll have peace of mind that your costs and disbursements are covered, and you won’t be out of pocket.
Do no win no fee lawyers take cases they can’t win?
If a no win no fee lawyer thinks they can’t win your case, they’re unlikely to take it on. However, just because one lawyer doesn’t think your case will succeed, doesn’t mean it’s unwinnable. So it can be worth seeking a second or even a third opinion.
Take, for example, a medical negligence claim. Medical negligence claims rely on having a medico-legal specialist that’s willing to provide a report showing how a medical professional was negligent and caused harm to the patient. So although one law firm may not be able to find an expert willing to support your claim, another firm might.
How do I choose a no win no fee lawyer?
You can start by simply looking at the lawyer’s website to see if they clearly explain their no win no fee terms. The best no win no fee lawyers will be very up front with you about their no win no fee terms.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, look at the lawyers’ costs agreements and ask them these three questions:
- Will I have to pay for any disbursements up front?
- If you pay for my disbursements, will I have to pay excessive interest on them?
- Will I be charged for disbursements if you don’t win my case?
If the lawyer says yes to any of these questions, then you should avoid them. On the other hand, if the lawyer says no to all three questions then they’re truly confident about winning your case, to the point where they’re willing to pay the up-front costs and take on the risk for you.
You generally won’t find detailed articles about costs like this one on personal injury firms’ websites. But we believe in being completely upfront, and we pride ourselves on the fairness of our no win no fee agreement.
Choose a lawyer who specialises in your claim type and has won claims like yours. Some no win no fee lawyers will take on a range of different claims – like workers compensation claims, car accident claims and public liability claims – but the best no win no fee compensation law firms have teams that specialise in each claim type. The best no win no fee lawyers are also backed by a team of experts who will work together to get you the maximum compensation for your claim.
We have teams that specialise in each claim type, and we win over 99% of our cases. So with Law Partners, you can be confident your legal team has a strong track record of winning claims like yours.
With some law firms you may never actually get to meet with your lawyer. A lawyer who wants to meet with you face to face or is always available to talk by phone or video call will find out more about you, your injuries, and the impact your injuries have had on your life. This is the only way a lawyer can really get to know you and claim everything you’re entitled to.
At Law Partners, we ask more questions and take time to get to know you personally. It’s how we spot the things others don’t, so you get more compensation.
Finally, avoid lawyers who charge by the hour. You should be able to talk to your lawyer at any time you need to, without fear of running up a big bill.
Are there no win no fee personal injury lawyers who specialise in claims like mine?
At Law Partners, our no win no fee personal injury lawyers specialise in one of the following claim types:
Medical negligence claims can be expensive to pursue, as they rely heavily on reports from medico-legal experts to confirm that negligence has occurred. That’s why we fund these reports for you.
For CTP claims in NSW, lawyers’ fees are regulated and some of your fees might be paid by the insurer. If you engage a Law Partners no win no fee car accident lawyer, you can pursue your claim without taking any financial risk. Your lawyer will recoup whatever legal fees they can from the CTP insurer, and if there are any legal fees left for you to pay, you’ll only need to pay them after you receive your compensation.
In NSW, your Law Partners workers compensation lawyer will apply to the IRO (Independent Review Office) for funding on your behalf, and this may cover all your legal fees. If you’re pursuing legal action (such as a work injury damages claim), you’ll only need to pay us if you win your claim.
If you’re making a public liability claim, it’s important to understand that in most cases you’ll be claiming against an insurer that has lawyers on its side. When you choose a Law Partners public liability lawyer, our no win no fee agreement covers your costs as well as our fees, so you can pursue your public liability claim with peace of mind.
If you’re making a TPD claim, it’s a good idea to speak to one of our no win no fee TPD lawyers before you start, to give your claim the best chance of success. Many people abandon their TPD claims when the process becomes too stressful, even though they’re entitled to a TPD payment.
You can call 13 15 15 to have a TPD specialist review your superannuation funds/ TPD policies at no cost to you and determine what you’re eligible to claim. Then you can decide if you want to engage a no win no fee TPD lawyer to assist with your claim, and only pay them after you win.
Can I get a Law Partners no win no fee personal injury lawyer to represent me for free?
Yes, there are some situations where we can take on your claim at no cost to you – so you won’t have to pay any fees even if you win your case.
For example, with NSW CTP claims (claims for motor accident injuries) lawyers’ fees are regulated. Lawyers can’t charge to help you lodge your application for personal injury benefits. But if you’re disputing a CTP insurer’s decision on your claim, then in most cases you can engage one of our lawyers and the CTP insurer will pay our fees.
For NSW workers compensation claims, we’ll apply to the IRO (Independent Review Office) for funding on your behalf, and this may cover all your legal fees. If you’re pursuing legal action such as a work injury damages claim, then our no win no fee costs agreement would apply.
Where can I find a Law Partners no win no fee lawyer near me?
Law Partners is Australia’s largest specialist no win no fee personal injury firm, with 20 offices across Sydney/ NSW, Melbourne and Canberra. But you don’t have to travel to an office if you don’t want to – we can start your claim by phone or video call, or we can have one of our lawyers meet you at your home or in hospital.
Do I have a case?
Our senior lawyers will assess your case for free.