It seems that No Win No Fee solicitors are popping up everywhere more and more by the day. many welcome such new companies and find it an easy and accessible way to get advice from a professional where the law is concerned however critics are strongly against such agreements as they believe that they are contributing largely to the claims culture that so many are adding to. However many are in high disagreement and are strongly backed by statistics that the media have a strong influence in the invention of the ‘claims culture’. Without the services of No Win No Fee claims solicitors those that have been wronged by others and injured in a way that deserves compensation may not have the resources financially to be able to purse a case. It is true that statistics can favour both sides in some areas but all things considered the bigger picture illustrates the improvement and benefits personal injury has brought about giving people safe public places, safer roads, precise health and safety rule more healthier workplaces than before. Many argue that No Win No Fee solicitors offer all the chance regardless of their financial status to be able to bring about a claim for compensation on injuries that deserve to be compensated when people are negligent. It is fair to say that the changes made within the law to how law firms receive their success fee if they are successful is greatly welcomed however may not result in the decrease on premiums as many are wishing for.
Critics and the Compensation Culture
Major critics of No Win No Fee solicitors believe that slogans such as ‘get the compensation you deserve for your injuries’ and ‘ how would you like to claim thousands of pounds in compensation’ have significantly changed the way society thinks and people’s attitudes to life. Critics believe that we live in a compensation culture that people are looking to sue those that do them wrong, in this context the critics seem to be almost wrong but they play heavy emphasis on those such as so called ambulance chasers who prey on people who they think may be able to make a claim for compensation. The whole idea of ‘where there is blame there is a claim’ is quite a frightening concept as it appears to them that people are being sued for unjust reasons. Some believe that due to the accessibility and ‘no financial risk solicitors’ that people are staging and taking part in fraudulent incidents in order to claim compensation form insurance companies which is having a direct influence on many innocent people who are not actually to blame just victims in a crime they are unaware of. The compensation culture critics believe is also having a direct consequence on the insurance premiums that people are forced to pay and at no fault of their own but are due to the fact that compensation litigation is on the rise and insurance companies are having to fork out huge court costs and legal fees.
Has No Win No Fee Solicitors Increased Compensation Claims?
On the flip side ‘claim culture’ is often a termed favoured by the media who have been accused of extremely exaggerating the area of compensation claims. It has been labelled as a media myth and not one to be taken seriously and seen as a stunt to increase the selling of newspapers and compensation stories and ambulance chases are set for a good read. The time when the term ‘compensation culture’ began was highly criticised as the huge increase in no win no fee compensation claims that was talked about did not exist. Static drawn on by the government dismiss the claims of a ‘claim culture’ as the Compensation Recovery Unit part of the Department for Work and Pensions illustrated a decrease in liability cases from 2001 to 2009/10 of 69% which may evidently has greatly squashed claims of a ‘claims culture’. However the same cannot be said road traffic accidents which are significantly on the rise and may add weight to the critic’s argument.
The Change in Law to No Win No Fee Claim Agreements
There has been a change to No Win No Fee agreements known as conditional fee arrangements in April 2013. Conditional fee arrangement was introduced in 1995 instead of Legal Aid and was set up so that all had the ability to bring a valid claim forward for litigation without financial risk. Such arrangements were set up to cover civil litigation i.e. compensation claims and back then was thought to be a good idea. It did what it said on the tin, no moneys were required from the claimant if they lost or won the legal fees and if they won the fees along with the success fee would be paid by the opposing side. However since the new Act came in it still remains the same that no upfront fee are required and that the client will never be out of pockets but if the claimant is successful within their compensation case they will have to pay up to 25% but no more to their legal team as their success fee. Before the change took place it could be agreed not just by ‘claim culture’ supporters that people where bringing claims forward that they may not if they had to pay fees. Whiplash claims had risen despite the decrease in the number of road traffic accidents which set alarm bells and caused for change to be made. It was argued that the success fee may not reflect the severity of the claim and legal fees were being pushed up to an all-time high. It has been reported that since the change in the law a third of No Win No Fee compensation solicitors have gone out of business. People are paying 2.7 million every day in insurance to personal injury lawyers and it has been reported that over the past five year the NHS have paid an astonishing 8bn in claims with only a third covering the damages caused the rest has gone to compensation law firms. Some as always are not in favour to the changes as they may put obstacles in people’s way and some may be put off by the charges out in place. The compensation awardee it to pay for the injured victims and care and attention that may be needed not for the pockets of law firms. It may mean fewer law firms offer No Win No Fee agreements on smaller cases due to smaller success fees and will insurance premiums really fall or will there just be another excuse for increasing astronomical insurances prices