What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement And What Does It Cover?
Welcome to our guide, which aims to explore the question: what is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)? We understand how overwhelming it can be when you’re in an accident that causes you harm. It can be especially frustrating when the accident resulted in injuries from someone breaching their duty of care to you.
How Does A Conditional Fee Agreement Work?
If you’ve experienced this and want to make a claim and seek legal representation without paying upfront solicitor fees, our guide could help. We’ll look at how a CFA might benefit you in regards to funding the services of a solicitor.
Whether you’ve been in an accident at work, suffered a slip, trip or fall in a public place or been in a road traffic accident, if you were owed a duty of care and someone else caused you injury, you may have grounds to seek compensation.
Additionally, our guide will look at the compensation you could be entitled to and how a solicitor may value your claim. For instance, we look at the evidence you may need to obtain to support your claim.
However, we understand that it’s a complex topic, so if you have any questions after reading, our advisors can help. They’re available 24/7 to provide you with free legal advice and answer any questions you may have.
Get in touch using the details below:
- Call us on 0800 073 8804
- Speak to an advisor at your earliest convenience using the live chat feature below
- Fill out the contact form to request a callback at a time best for you
Select A Section
- A Guide To What Conditional Fee Agreements Are
- What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement?
- What Do Conditional Fee Agreements Cover?
- How Do Conditional Fee Agreements Work?
- Are Conditional Fee Agreements Free?
- Is There A Penalty For Terminating The Agreement?
- Successful And Unsuccessful Claims
- What Could You Do If The Other Party Doesn’t Pay?
- Are No Win No Fee And Damages Based Agreements Different?
- What Changes Have Been Made To No Win No Fee Claims?
- Compensation Claims Calculator
- Special Damages Available
- No Win No Fee Accident And Injury Claims
- Contact A CFA Claims Expert
- Essential References
- What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement?: FAQs
A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is often used as an option as a way of funding the services of a solicitor for a personal injury claim. A less formal term for it is a No Win No Fee agreement.
A CFA is a way of getting access to the services of a solicitor without paying an upfront fee and regardless of your financial standing. When you’re seeking compensation after suffering harm in an incident caused by someone else’s negligence you may want to have a solicitor represent your case. Personal injuries can be caused by;
- Accident at work
- Road traffic accident
- Nursery or school accident
- Public place accident
- Care home accident
As long as your claim meets the three requirements, you may have grounds to seek compensation. Negligence can be proven if you were owed a duty of care, someone breached their duty and, as a result, caused you harm.
Below are a few examples of how a breach of duty could cause harm:
- Suffering stress at work due to your employer failing to take your reports of discrimination seriously and act.
- Suffering a severe back injury after being involved in a motorcycle accident due to someone driving dangerously.
- A child experiencing a minor head injury in a fall after the nursery failed to attend to slip hazard they’d been made aware of a considerable amount of time beforehand.
We understand that every accident is unique, and some may be more complex than others. However, our expert advisors can help you understand if negligence has occurred.
If they find you hold a valid claim, they could connect you with one of our solicitors to represent you under a CFA.
No matter what your query is, you can call us at any time on the number above.
A Conditional Fee Agreement or No Win No Fee agreement is between a claimant and a legal representative. They are often used by those who want to avoid upfront or ongoing solicitor or lawyer fees. They are also used by those who do not have the funds to pay a solicitor by the hour.
However, the way they work changed in 2012 as per the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The Act stopped solicitors from recovering success fees from defendants. Instead, they were to take a success fee from claimants’ compensation in successful claims.
We’ll now look at two different types of agreements: Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) and Damages Based Agreement (DBA). Each calculates the success fee in a different way which the following section will explore in more detail.
CFA vs Damages Based Agreements
In both a CFA and DBA, you’ll be required to pay a success fee if your claim is successful. In addition, if your claim fails, you won’t be asked to pay this. However, legal professionals will calculate the success fee differently depending on the agreement.
If your claim is successful, solicitors will take a legally capped percentage of your package when claiming under a CFA. The percentage should be reflective of the work a solicitor has done.
In comparison, when claiming under a DBA, your solicitor will set a pre-agreed amount that they will aim to get you as part of your settlement figure. If they succeed in getting you this amount or more, they’ll take a percentage of this as a success fee.
The percentages for both are legally capped.
If you choose to pursue your claim under a CFA, you may be offered a consultation with the solicitor appointed to your case. This provides you with a chance to discuss your claim in more detail, including how the accident happened and what the injuries you sustained are.
Furthermore, it allows the solicitor to look at any evidence you’ve obtained in support of your claim. They may also carry out an assessment to determine the chance your claim has of succeeding.
Most importantly, they can explain the different costs your claim may incur and what is covered under the CFA. The solicitor fees, such as the percentage of the success fee, will be agreed upon between you and your solicitor before you enter into the written agreement.
A CFA may be offered by a solicitor if they feel the case will conclude in the client’s favour. If the case is successful, you’ll pay a legally capped success fee that your solicitor deducts from the compensation. However, if it’s unsuccessful, you won’t be asked to pay the success fee.
Furthermore, before your solicitor takes on your claim, they may carry out an assessment on how likely it is to succeed.
The reason being that if it fails, the defendant may ask you to pay certain legal costs. However, a solicitor can assess the chance of this happening and advise on insurance you can take to cover these costs.
For more information, get in touch with our advisors using the number above. An advisor can provide further insight into your question: what is a Conditional Fee Agreement, and how does it work?
CFAs can be beneficial for those apprehensive about seeking legal representation due to the costs normally associated.
For instance, you can avoid upfront solicitor costs or solicitor costs that may incur during the course of your claim. Additionally, you won’t be asked to pay solicitor fees if the claim fails.
However, there may be other costs that your solicitor will inform you of before making your claim.
The following sections will look into this in more detail. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our advisors for further details.
As part of the CFA terms and conditions, you may withdraw from the agreement within 14 days of signing without facing a monetary penalty. Also known as a cooling-off period, it gives you time to reconsider.
However, after the 14 days, you may be charged for your solicitors time on the case up to the point you withdraw from the CFA. Different law firms have different terms and conditions. Always read any contract thoroughly before signing in case of hidden fees or charges.
Speak to an advisor for further details on the question: what is a Conditional Fee Agreement penalty?
Under a CFA, if your claim is successful, you’ll be required to pay a legally capped percentage of your compensation award. Whereas if the claim fails, but was honest, you won’t be asked to pay your solicitor’s fees.
However, there may be circumstances where you’re asked to pay the defendant’s legal costs. In these cases, you can take out insurance before starting your claim to cover the costs as a precaution.
You may already be covered by Before The Event insurance (BTE) if it’s included in your home insurance policy and is applicable to the incident. However, if you’re not, you’ll be given the chance to take out After The Event insurance (ATE). This can cover you if the defendant asks you to pay their legal costs.
You have a few different options if your claim is successful, but the defendant fails to pay compensation. Firstly, you or your solicitor can make an application to the court and ask for their help.
Furthermore, if you’re owed more than £5,000, you could apply to make the defendant bankrupt. The risk of becoming bankrupt can encourage the defendant to pay.
For further information, see the government guide on what to do if the defendant has not paid. Alternatively, speak with an advisor on the number above for more information on other options you may have.
‘No Win No Fee agreement’ is a blanket term covering DBAs and CFAs. However, the way the success fee is calculated is slightly different in both.
CFAs take a percentage of the compensation amount in successful claims, no matter the compensation amount. Although solicitors can charge the maximum percentage, there are some instances where they may charge a lower amount. Also, the percentage should reflect the amount of work they have done.
In comparison, DBAs take a percentage of a pre-agreed amount. So no matter the amount of work carried out the percentage stays the same. Usually, the legally capped percentage taken is higher.
It’s important to be aware that no claim is risk-free. However, it can be beneficial to hire a solicitor that offers a No Win No Fee agreement as you’ll have an experienced solicitor helping you through each stage and you won’t have to pay your solicitor’s fees if the claim fails.
LASPO introduced changes to No Win No Fee agreements in 2012. Originally, the other side would’ve had to pay the claimant’s solicitor’s success fee in the event of a successful claim.
However, the changes made meant solicitors could no longer recover success fees from the defendant. Instead, the legislation introduced a success fee that claimants would pay out of their total compensation package. This was a way to reimburse solicitors for their time spent on the case.
Furthermore, the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013 established a cap on the percentage that solicitors can charge their claimants. This means they cannot charge more than is stated in this Act.
There are often two parts to your compensation: general and special damages. General damages compensate you for the physical or psychological injuries you’ve suffered.
However, the compensation awarded will depend on the severity of your injuries and how likely they are to impact your quality of life.
In order to determine the extent of your condition, you will need to provide medical evidence. This could include relevant medical records such as:
- Any treatment you received as a consequence of the incident
- The diagnosis you were given
- Any medicine you were prescribed
Additionally, you may need to attend an independent medical assessment that can provide a separate report as part of the claims process. This can be used to determine the current state of your condition and the long term impact it’s had on you.
It can also be used to show that your injuries were caused or worsened by the incident. (If the report concludes that there’s no link between your injuries and the incident, you would find it difficult to claim.) What’s more, your solicitor can use the report to help them value your injuries.
Furthermore, a document called the Judicial College Guidelines may be used alongside the medical evidence to help value your injuries. We have used the figures from this document to create the compensation table below. The purpose of the table is to provide a guide of what you may be able to claim for different injuries.
|Type of harm||Further comments||Example compensation award|
|Ankle||(a) Very severe transmalleolar ankle fracture with soft-tissue damage.||£46,980 to £65,420|
|Ankle||(c) Modest injuries such as an undisplaced fracture.||Up to £12,900|
|Foot||(d) Severe fractures to both heels or feet that need extensive surgery.||£39,390 to £65,710|
|Foot||(g) Modest injuries such as a simple metatarsal fracture.||Up to £12,900|
|Skeletal injuries||(c) Fractures of Nose or Nasal Complex (i) Serious nose fracture that results in symptoms such as difficulty breathing and permanent airway damage.||£9,990 to £21,700|
|Skeletal injuries||(c) Fractures of Nose or Nasal Complex (iv) A simple fracture that's undisplaced and results in a full recovery.||£1,600 to £2,370|
|Dermatitis||(a) Where both hands are affected by cracking and soreness. It may also result in a psychological impact as well.||£12,900 to £18,020|
|Knee||(a) Severe (ii) A fractured leg that affects the knee joint and causes ongoing pain.||£48,920 to £65,440|
|Hand injuries||(f) Severe finger fractures that result in deformity.||Up to £34,480|
If you can’t see your injuries in the table above or would like a free, accurate estimate of what you could claim, why not get in touch?
As part of your personal injury claim, you have the right to seek compensation for monetary losses incurred due to your injuries. These might include some of the following:
- Lost earnings
- Cost of care
- Medical costs
- Travel expenses
However, you will need evidence to support your claim. For instance, your could use receipts, invoices and payslips.
Additionally, special damages are unique to each claim, and not every claim will include them. For that reason, a solicitor would work them out separately.
Here at Legal Expert, all of our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you can avoid upfront solicitor fees. Furthermore, if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay solicitor fees.
If your claim is successful, you’ll pay a success fee that will be deducted from the compensation package. However, your solicitor will make you aware of this prior to starting your claim.
For more information, get in touch with our advisors. They can provide further details on the question: what is a Conditional Fee Agreement? Furthermore, they can assess whether your claim is valid and appoint one of our solicitors to your case if it is.
We expect that you may still have questions after reading our guide. Alternatively, you may be ready to put forward your claim. Either way, our advisors are available to help you.
So, why not get in touch on the details below?:
- Call us on 0800 073 8804
- Speak to an advisor at your earliest convenience using the live chat feature below
- Fill out the contact form to request a callback
See our guide for more information on the steps you could take after you’ve been injured at work.
Have you suffered harm due to the council breaching their duty of care? If so, our guide could help.
Did you sustain a shoulder injury in an accident? If it was caused by someone who owed you a duty of care, our guide could help.
Visit the government guide on getting compensation after an accident that caused you harm.
See the NHS website for any medical advice.
Find out about the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Other Useful Compensation Guides
- Repetitive Strain Injury Claims
- £250,000 Compensation for a Psychiatric Injury
- Compensation for a fractured kneecap
- How Much Compensation for Brain Injury Claims?
- Compensation For A Ruptured Tendon
- Compensation For Crushed Toes
- Bursitis Compensation Claim Amounts
- Fractured Vertebrae Compensation
- Lumbar Spine Injury Compensation
- How Can An Eye Lawyer Help You?
- No Win No Fee solicitors
The following section will provide more insight into CFAs.
What is a CFA solicitor?
A Conditional Fee Agreement solicitor represents cases on a No Win No Fee basis. They won’t take payment for their solicitor fees from the claimant if the claim is unsuccessful.
What are the concerns about Conditional Fee Arrangements?
People are normally concerned with whether there are any hidden costs of CFAs. However, your solicitor should make you aware of the fees involved in a CFA in the event of a successful and unsuccessful claim.
Thank you for reading our guide, which explores the question ‘what is a Conditional Fee Agreement?’ We hope you found it informative.
Written by Mitchell
Edited by Victorine