ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS – CHANGES TO THE WAY LAWYERS ARE PAID AND HOW THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR CLAIM FOR PERSONAL INJURY
In April 2010 the fixed fees (predictable costs) regime will be amended for road traffic accident claims. Following nearly two years of negotiation and protracted discussion the various parties (Claimant solicitors represented mainly by APIL, MASS and the TUC against the Defendant Insurance Companies primarily represented by the MIB, FOIL and the ABI) have finally reached an understanding.
Told by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to either agree reform or have reform imposed by the (MoJ) the two stakeholders have now agreed that any claims for personal injury arising from a Road Traffic Accident after April 2010 that are valued less than £10,000.00 (i.e. a large majority of RTA claims) will attract fixed fees and those fees will be paid in three stages:
We, your solicitors, will complete the claim notification form and send it to your opponent and/or his insurers. There will be a fixed fee of £400.00 for this stage;
Where your opponent insurer admits legal responsibility we obtain your medical report and settle your claim within a strict timetable. We will be paid a further fee of £800.00 and;
If we cannot agree the value of your claim with the other side, then you make an Application to the Court for the Court to determine if you ask for the Court to value your claim on paper we would be paid £250.00. If we have to represent you before a Judge on an oral hearing, we would receive £500.00.
The outcome of this is, if a claim is accepted on your behalf but we could not agree your compensation with the other side’s lawyers or insurers, and you go before the Court, the maximum we will recover for you is £1,700.00.
If, as it happens, the majority of the cases settle at Stage 2, then the maximum that a solicitor will receive of your fees is £1,200.00 plus vat and other expenses.
Many of you still turn to Claims Management Companies to present your claim. Those companies as middle men currently sell your details to a law firm for a fixed fee. Those fees are not recoverable from the opponent and form part of such lawyers’ overheads. In most situations those solicitors who access your work through the Claims Management Companies can never have your interest at heart as they are receiving fixed fees and a substantial portion of that they will have paid to the middleman.
If no middle men are involved, then the fees of £1,200-£1,700.00 are still a viable business for a law firm and we at Lawclaim guarantee that notwithstanding these changes we will continue with our core value of always acting in the your best interest.
If therefore you have an enquiry about a claim we always advise that you should contact us or a law firm local to you. By going through a Claims Company you are ultimately going to force your lawyer to spend as less time as possible on your case in order for your lawyer to make a profit. This in turn may have a detrimental effect on your case.
Contact Lawclaim now to pursue your claim for personal injury with a solicitor direct.