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Blame Does Not Equal Claim - The Negative Press of No Win No Fee Cases

I recently came across an online article in the Daily Mail about the no win no fee compensation culture with specific reference made to a Mr Race of Fishburn, who was faced with a legal bill of £68,538.02. 

No win no fee arrangements have been in place since 1990, for people who cannot afford to pay fees up front for legal advice and are the only option they have to ensure that they have access to justice. 

The article reported that Mr Race ended up in Court disputing a claim made by a postman who had been bitten by his dog.  It also reports that Mr Race was given an opportunity to settle out of Court he did not accept the offer and fought all the way to Court. As a general rule, the loser will pay for the winner’s costs and I am sure this is advice that Mr Race’s legal advisers would have given him.  It reports that the postman’s legal representatives gave Mr Race a chance to walk away with a legal bill of £4,061.02 but he opted to go all the way to Court, which naturally causes an escalation in legal costs and when the postman was successful, Mr Race was ordered to pay his legal costs. 

The press will only report on cases where the figures make headlines, but it has to be accepted that this sort of case is very rare, and sadly, they do not report on the hundreds and thousands of cases which are settled every week where costs are proportionate.  It appears from the article that the Court accepted the costs were proportionate otherwise Mr Race would not have been ordered to pay them.  Mr Race has to accept some responsibility that his manner in dealing with the claim had contributed to the costs escalating; together with the work the postman’s legal representatives would have done to ensure a successful outcome for their client.  

It seems wrong that people who have been injured through no fault of their own should fear bringing claims for compensation because of worrying that they may be ‘tarred with a compensation culture brush’.  Accidents happen every day and not everyone has recourse of legal action for compensation. 

Blame does not equal claim.  It must be established there has been negligence or a breach which has caused the injury and clearly in this case the Courts were satisfied in favour of the postman.