What is a No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claim?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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A no win no fee personal injury claim is a type of legal claim, usually a civil claim, taken by an attorney representing a plaintiff. This type of legal claim is referred to as “no win no fee” because the attorney will waive basic legal fees unless the plaintiff he or she represents is awarded money in the case. Once money is awarded, then the attorney will typically take a certain percentage as his or her fee. This type of claim is something of a risky proposition for an attorney, and a lawyer will usually only accept a case he or she believes has merit.

Also called a contingent fee claim or arrangement, a no win no fee personal injury claim can consist of just about any kind of personal injury claim. These are usually accidental claims, such as motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, wrongful death suits, and medical malpractice claims. When a lawyer takes on this type of personal injury claim, the lawyer and plaintiff will typically agree on hourly lawyer fees and other expenses involved in building a case. In a no win no fee claim, however, the lawyer agrees to waive his or her fees unless they win the case and the plaintiff is awarded monetary compensation.


This type of claim is often beneficial for someone who may not have the money to pay a lawyer prior to awarding of money from a personal injury case. Since a lawyer working on this type of case will not effectively make any money unless the case is won, lawyers are very careful about what cases they accept on contingency. There are also a few things a plaintiff should consider with regard to a no win no fee personal injury claim.

While any lawyer fees are waived until compensation is awarded, secondary costs may still be charged to a client regardless of whether a case is won or lost. These charges can include fees for making copies, mailing paperwork, interviewing witnesses, and basic court costs. A plaintiff should be aware of these costs throughout a case, and some lawyers will accept help from a plaintiff to perform these tasks, rather than charging to do them. The percentage that a lawyer will take from a no win no fee personal injury claim can vary widely; it may be as low as 25% of awarded money if the case is settled prior to pre-trial discovery, though if the case is won after going to court the fee can be closer to 35%.


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Post 3

Nothing scares me more as a small business owner than a personal injury claim lawyer. If a customer slips and falls inside my store, he or she can hire a no win no fee personal injury lawyer and sue me for all sorts of medical and personal expenses. Fortunately, I carry enough insurance to cover most liability claims, but there's always someone willing to sue a business owner for millions of dollars in punitive damages.

Personally, I don't have much use for personal injury attorneys. I realize they take a big risk when they accept clients on a contingency basis, but they also know personal injury law so well that most defendants don't stand a chance in court. I think most of them anticipate out-of-court settlements from defendants who just want to put the incident behind them and not generate publicity.

Post 2

When I got into a bad car wreck last year, I decided to call a personal injury claim lawyer I'd seen in a TV ad. The other driver was uninsured, and the police officer told me he was extremely intoxicated. My insurance company covered some of my expenses, but not all of them. The lawyer explained that he would agree to a no win no fee situation, but he didn't think I'd be able to collect much of a judgment from the defendant.

I thought "no fee" meant no cost to me as his client, but he ended up sending me a bill for incidental expenses, like long distance phone calls to the other driver's lawyer and discussions with the insurance company. The man ended up settling out of court and my lawyer took 30% of the money. I still had enough money to pay for extended rehabilitation and recover most of my lost wages.

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