Millions may be due payouts from car crash law firms after landmark case – The Sun

Millions may be due payouts from car crash law firms after landmark case – The Sun

MORE than two million motorists who've used no-win, no-fee lawyers to fight personal injury claims could be due payouts following a landmark case.

They've been overcharged a collective £1.5billion by solicitors who raked in high rates for straightforward cases, according to estimates.

No-win, no-fee claims have increased in popularity since the Government scrapped legal aid for personal injury cases in 2000.

Under current laws, solicitors make their money on cases they win with a "basic charge" paid by the other driver's insurer, and a "success fee" that comes out of their client's damages.

Before legislation came into force in 2013, success fees were paid by the defendant and not the claimant.

A Government cap says this should not be higher than 25 per cent of the damages, but it must also consider the risk taken in fighting the case.

It means an easy case shouldn't require a big fee.

How to claim back your cash

IF you think you've been overcharged by a law firm, you should first contact it to pursue a claim.

You'll need to ask for a full breakdown of costs and then make sure you understand what each charge relates to.

If you haven't heard back after eight weeks or you're unhappy with the response, you can take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman for free.

You'll need to know the date on which the problem occured, and the dates that you made the complaint.

Then simply fill in its online form here.

You could also take your case to a claims firm, but be aware that it may charge a fee which will eat into your compensation.

But claims firm says many personal injury law firms have ignored how the success fee should be charged and instead take a "blanket rate" of 25 per cent against the compensation.

It means claimants with low-risk cases have paid the same rates as those with claims less likely to succeed.

And some solicitors are charging 25 per cent of the damages automatically.

A landmark Court of Appeal ruling last year found that one no-win, no-fee firm in Liverpool wasn't entitled to charge the maximum fee.

The former director, Hampson Hughes, confirmed that it imposed a blanket rate of success fees across all similar claims.

He said in his witness statement: "I also know that many of our competitors charge success fees in the same way that we do."

The court ruled that the solicitors should only have taken a 15 per cent success fee, and it could open up the floodgates to more claims., which represents people who believe they've been overcharged by solicitors, says it has won more than 150 cases.

The average victim was overcharged by £750 while some claimants have recovered as much as £6,400, although the firm can also charge fees.

Mark Carlisle, founder of, said: "We conservatively estimate that the no-win, no fee law firms have overcharged road traffic accident injury victims by a total of £1.5billion.

"But that figure could easily hit £2billion if the average claim increases."

The Sun contacted the Legal Ombudsman for comment.

The Sun has previously warned about sneaky insurance claims firms that are pushing up YOUR premiums.

Meanwhile, payday loan reclaim firms "rip off" customers by taking almost half of the refunds.

Last year, a woman was slapped with £400,000 bill for driving a hire car while her accident claim was resolved.

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