Funding a Claim
Our Clinical Negligence Team offers an initial interview free of charge. We realise that most people who are considering bringing a claim are worried about how much it will cost. At Mayo Wynne Baxter we offer flexible funding arrangements to meet your situation. We have extensive experience of all the possible ways of funding a claim, details of which are set out below. Our clinical negligence solicitors will discuss financial matters with you from the outset to ensure that you have a clear view of how your case will be funded.
In recognition of our expertise in clinical negligence Mayo Wynne Baxter is one of the few firms in the South of England with a franchise to conduct cases under a Public Funding (formerly Legal Aid) certificate.
Legal Aid is now essentially limited to cases involving brain injury associated with birth or neonatal cases. Eligibility for public funding is also subject to two criteria. Firstly, you must satisfy the financial requirements in terms of your income and capital (Means Test). Secondly, you must also satisfy the Legal Services Commission (formerly the Legal Aid Board) that your case has sufficient merit (Merits Test). It will be our job to advise you on whether your potential claim has sufficient merit to justify an application for funding. If the potential claim relates to your child, it is the child’s means that are assessed and not yours.
If you qualify for public funding you will be issued with a Public Funding Certificate to cover the costs of investigating your potential claim. We will be required to update the Legal Services Commission on the progress of the investigation and if, at any stage, your case ceases to satisfy either the Means Test or the Merits Test, it is likely that funding will be withdrawn.
Conditional Fee Agreements (“No win, No fee”)
We offer Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA) to clients in suitable cases. It will often be necessary to complete a preliminary investigation into the merits of your claim before the firm decides on whether a CFA is appropriate. If we are able to take a meaningful view on the merits of a claim at the outset this firm will consider a CFA from the word go. Under a CFA we will only be paid if you win your case.
The CFA only covers our costs. Investigating your claim you will entail additional expenses (disbursements), including the cost of obtaining records; experts’ fees and court fees. Our Clinical Negligence Team maintain a flexible approach regarding the funding of disbursements and will always take time to establish the most appropriate funding method for each individual client.
If you win your case, it is likely that the Defendant will be liable to pay your reasonable legal costs and disbursements.
If you lose your case following the issue of court proceedings you will not have to pay our costs, but you will be potentially liable for the Defendant’s costs and your disbursements. We will advise you to take out “after the event” (ATE) insurance to cover this potential liability.
Legal expenses insurance on an existing insurance policy
It may be that you have an existing insurance policy that covers legal expenses for you and your family. This is known as BTE (before the event) insurance and it may be available through your car insurance, household insurance or any other policy. If you have such a policy you will need to double-check whether it covers the costs of investigating the particular claim you have in mind. If you are in any doubt we are very happy to advise you on this point.
We are obliged to check any policies you may have, so we will ask you to bring them with you to your first interview. The current legal position is that appropriate, available BTE insurance must be considered before an application for public funding or a CFA is considered.
We can act for you on a private fee-paying basis and will advise you of our hourly rates. We will need to discuss carefully your prospects of succeeding with your claim and the risk that you may be liable for costs and disbursements if you were to lose your claim.
We recognise that the costs of privately funding a claim to its conclusion are beyond the means of the vast majority of people. However, we do often carry out a preliminary investigation of the merits of a claim on a private funding basis. The result of the preliminary investigation will then enable the firm to decide on whether a CFA is appropriate.
For more information or advice on funding a clinical negligence claim contact the Clinical Negligence Team today.