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What will a clinical negligence claim cost me?

From April 2013 the way clinical negligence claims are funded will change. Currently your case can be funded in an number of ways:

1. Legal Services Commission (LSC) and Legal Aid

If we can, we will assess when you first contact us whether you are likely to qualify for legal aid, which is money provided by the Government for those who could not otherwise afford to bring a case. In order to qualify for legal aid we have to be able to show that:

  • You have a reasonable chance of winning your case
  • Your financial position is within limits set annually by the Government
  • Any compensation would be at least £50,000
  • Your legal costs would be less than the likely compensation
  • There are no other ways of paying for your case
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The LSC will decide whether to offer you legal aid. Depending on your financial situation you may be offered legal aid only if you agree to contribute towards your costs. Usually that will be a monthly payment from your income and will continue to be paid by you throughout the time legal aid is in force – i.e. until the case is at an end.

However, you are under a duty to inform the LSC if, while you have legal aid, your financial or home circumstances change. There are penalties if you do not tell them straight away.

2. No win, no fee (Conditional Fee Arrangement)
It is possible to limit costs by entering into a “no win, no fee” arrangement (CFA). This works by our agreeing with you that we will not charge you any costs unless and until you win your case for compensation. If you win, your costs will be paid by the defendants. We will also agree with you at the outset a further amount (a percentage of costs) to cover the risks we take in accepting your case, which is agreed with you at the outset, and which may have to be paid out of your compensation, though we would try to get the defendant to pay.

If you lose we get paid nothing – and the defendant will expect you to pay their costs. We will try to arrange an insurance policy which, if you lose, will pay your opponents’ costs, together with monies paid out by both parties, for example, for experts’ reports. Payment of the insurance policy is usually delayed until the end of the case, and is usually drawn up in such a way that the bulk of costs are recovered from your opponents in the event that you are successful.

3. Insurance
Your Home Contents insurance, or other insurance policy, may cover legal costs for a clinical negligence case. If your policy gives that cover, please discuss it with us.

The rule relating to payment of a defendant’s costs only applies once your case has been started at court. If your case does not get beyond the initial stages, the only costs to be dealt with are your own.

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