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What if I can't afford a solicitor?

Taking legal action can be expensive. You can no longer get public funding (legal aid) for most personal injury cases. The only cases you can get public funding for are injuries caused by:

  • a medical accident;
  • deliberate harm, such as child abuse; or
  • an assault by the police.

However, if you can’t afford to pay legal fees, there is nearly always a way to get help with the costs, as follows.

If you are a member of a trade union or similar type of organisation, it may be able to help you with legal costs and finding a solicitor.

Check your credit card conditions and house contents and car insurance policies to see if they include legal expenses cover for the type of personal injury claim you want to bring. However, you may need to consult a solicitor to find out whether the cover offered will be enough for your case.

These agreements, officially called 'conditional-fee agreements', are now very common. They mean that you do not have to pay your solicitor's fees if you lose your case. You will probably need to take out insurance (called 'after-the-event' insurance) to protect you against the possibility of having to pay the other side's costs or your expenses (such as court fees or medical experts' fees) if you lose. Your solicitor can help you with this. For more information, see 'No-win, no-fee'.

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