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Title: How do I know if my lawyer is worth the cash?

Date: 03 October 2013

Question

I was recently involved in an accident when a car pulled out of a side road in front of me. The car hit me side on and I have 2 fractures to my left leg. I have been given a solicitor who is acting on a no win no fee deal but says that because of new rules they will be taking 25% of my compensation towards my legal costs. I have no objection to paying for my solicitor but I can’t help but wonder how do I know if they are worth the money as opposed to the next firm?

Mihalis Garbis

Answer

The payment from your compensation to your solicitor is known as a success fee. As of the 1 April 2013 the “success fee” element of your costs is now payable by you whereas before this date it was recovered from the paying party, usually a motor insurer.

As you are now responsible for paying part of your solicitor’s costs it has never been more important that you are sure that the solicitor that you have representing you is the right person for the job. Motorcycle accident litigation is a specialised area of law and whilst many lawyers “dabble” in it, very few are specialists in this area. Keep in mind that many lawyers appointed by insurance companies may not even be legally qualified.

Ultimately it is down to individual choice over who to instruct. Many are happy to be referred to a panel firm, others choose to do their own research and choose their own firm carefully. A further group are those that initially utilise the insurer appointed firm before jumping ship to a specialist. It is best to get the right firm at the outset especially with the new costs regime changes.

Have a look at recent cases dealt with on firms’ websites and testimonials. Also sub-specialities, such as amputation experience. This will give you a good idea of whether or not the firm is right for you.

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