More than two million people could have a valid claim against no-win, no-fee law firms.
That's after a series of court cases found many of the firms – which sue people on your behalf in exchange for a cut of your payouts – have been unfairly overcharging customers.
Over the past two years firms have spent tens of thousands of pounds in a bid to stop a legal precedent being set, even insisting successful claimants sign gagging orders to help prevent their cases attracting more claims.
But following a ruling in June last year by the Court of Appeal, it looks like the floodgates could open – with CheckMyLegalFees.com alone winning more than 150 cases.
The claims so far have seen £750 handed back on average with some claimants recovering as much as £6,400 – with an estimated two million people in Britain potentially having a valid claim.
CheckMyLegalfees founder Mark Carlisle said "We conservatively estimate that the no-win, no fee law firms have overcharged road traffic accident injury victims by a total of £1.5 billion but that figure could easily hit £2 billion if the average claim increases.
"Anyone who has had a road traffic injury claim through a no-win, no-fee solicitor since April 2013 is likely to have a claim."
No-win, no-fee solicitors automatically get a fixed fee from the other side if they win a case, but – on top of that – many were taking a percentage of the payouts from the compensation as well as their fee for winning from the defendents.
And the combination of the two sets of fees pushed many firms over the amount they were allowed to charge by new rules.
"Reforms in how law firms could make money from road traffic accident injuries came into force in April 2013 and from then on they nearly all adopted the same model," Carlisle said.
"This wasn’t explained to the majority of clients and on top of this they were taking the 25% from the total compensation payout when in fact in the majority of cases they should only take an extra 15% from the £600 fixed fee paid by the other side."
You are likely to be entitled to a refund if you match the following criteria:
- You’ve had a personal injury road traffic accident case since 1 April 2013
- You entered into a “no win, no fee agreement”
- You had 25% of your compensation deducted for legal fees, and/or
- You didn’t receive a properly detailed bill for all of the costs at the time the case concluded
If you think you could make a claim, you can complain to the Legal Ombudsman or use a claims firm such a CheckMyLegalFees.Com
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