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All our highly trained Solicitors and Barristers ride motorcycles. We provide professional legal advice, finely tuned with biking expertise - We Ride, We Know
In collisions car drivers are generally at fault with the main cause of the accident being simply that the motorcyclist was not seen
Less specialist solicitors will often advise to accept greater responsibility than they should or even that there is no case at all
We will act on a no win, no fee basis, even if your case has been rejected by other solicitors
all White Dalton lawyers are motorcyclists, so they know the risks faced by motorcyclists on the road
Funding for Personal Injury claims underwent very significant changes in April 2013. Now Claimants cannot recover all of their costs from Defendants but in claims where the Claimant has not been dishonest, if the Claimant loses, he pays no costs. Prior to April 2013 the loser picked up the bills. Now it is a bit more complicated.
You can agree to pay your own solicitors whatever the result or only if you win. The arrangement where you only pay if you win is called a "Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)", but is colloquially referred to as "no win, no fee". The solicitor takes on the risk with you and you work together to achieve the end result. In return the lawyer is also entitled to seek a success fee if you win. Legal costs generally cover the following (this list is not intended to be exhaustive):
Under a CFA a solicitor cannot take more than 25% of your costs as a success fee. This is whether it is a “Damages Based Assessment” (where the solicitor takes 25% no matter how little or how much work the solicitor does) or a CFA where the solicitor can increase his costs to a maximum of 25% of the award, but where the client and the opponent have been reasonable (especially on larger cases) the fee will often come in lower than 25%.
As a firm we do not offer the Damages Based Agreements for two basic reasons. The first is that whilst very few of our clients want to switch firms, they should be able to without being hit for 25% of their award. The second is that co-operative clients will often pay less than 25% and it seems a bit wrong to us for solicitors to be paid for work they have not done. There is also an incentive under DBA arrangements for solicitors to string out cases.
Some reputable law firms do offer DBA’s but we think they are potentially unfair. That is our view. It is not universally held but most specialist firms avoid these agreements. The solicitor has to offset his costs against damages up to settlement. So a dishonest or shady solicitor can spin the case out so your losses to settlement are greater so his fee goes up. However, solicitors also need to resist the temptation to settle too early, in case further problems surface. Put at its bluntest, if you don’t trust your solicitor, change. That temptation is a lot less with other arrangements.
You can insure against the other side's costs under a "Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI)" policy. In pretty well all circumstances, we pay for this and take it out of our success fee. If you do not have a policy already then you are only likely to find someone who will insure you if you have a cast-iron case, are prepared to pay an extortionate premium or you use a specialist solicitor who is trusted by the legal expenses insurer and recommends they provide cover (we have an arrangement with a leading Legal Expenses Insurance provider that they will provide cover on every case we recommend to them, with very few exceptions - the big one is that the accident happened more than 2 years and 9 months prior to you instructing us).
An LEI Policy covers you for the risk of the Defendant’s making an offer which at the time seems too low, but at trial the judge orders the same sum or less. It happens. Unless you take every offer without fighting it is inevitable that even the best lawyers will call some of these cases wrongly or have a bad day in court. Witnesses can collapse, medical experts can come up with differing views or the Court might just prefer the Defendant’s case. What you don’t need is a solicitor who loses his nerve at the first offer, or the second, or the third. You need a solicitor who holds his or her nerve until the money is right at his own risk, not yours.
We fund this insurance policy in just about every case we take on, so we are the ones taking a risk by fighting on. We can afford to “gamble” our fees – because we won’t get paid for work done after an unbeaten offer. We can take a risk – we deal with numerous cases. You have one case. You shouldn’t be taking a chance. We also have our professional reputation to bear in mind.
Of course the insurers and their solicitors know which weak law firms always take an offer and really pressure their clients to take poor offers. We take over many cases from these claims cowboys who are unprofessional and only worried about their own fees. We have a reputation for not blinking until what is on the table is a good settlement in front of a decent judge at trial. That is a reputation we don’t want to compromise. And with the confidence that goes with being genuinely experienced in motorcycle trials, we won’t panic just before a trial. The firm is headed by a trial lawyer. We prepare our cases for trial. If going to trial means our hourly fee is reduced (which does happen) then so be it. We live with that. Our reputation is worth more to us than our fees.
Opponents know if they are against White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors they had better pay up properly or go to Court. So as part of our reputation management we will take a hit on fees to avoid being manipulated into under settling cases. A law firm that does not touch your damages cannot make a living and use a real lawyer. They are incentivised to take the first offer on every case. Your claim will be processed by unqualified administators. If you have a tiny little case with no real injury and you can calculate your own losses then you are not taking a big risk using these unqualified claims factories. An injury which could have any serious impact requires a qualified lawyer. In the same way as the dentist's receptionist can be very efficient at the job she is trained for, you'd want the dentist to fix your teeth, because he is a degree level educated and professionally qualified dentist. You wouldn't want a "tooth handling executive" doing your dental work. It is the same with the law.
Where you are liable to pay legal costs then you are entitled to ask the Court to assess what is a fair and reasonable amount. Such issues are complicated and it is likely that you will need legal advice on this area, even if it is an argument with your own lawyers. We regularly get asked to help people who have used non-specialist solicitors, lost their case and are being hit with big bills both from the other side and their own solicitors. To date we have never failed to have those costs reduced. If you are being asked to pay legal costs and want a free, no obligation initial discussion on this then please contact us.
Request a callback from one of our team or text BIKER to 80800
Very efficient and helpful, excellent communication throughout the process. David
w/c 14 June 2013
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