A lot of people have Legal Expenses Insurance as part of their home or car insurance. Sometimes it is automatically included as a feature of the policy. Sometimes it is an extra that has to be specifically selected. For certain types of legal problem it is always worth checking to see whether cover is in place.
The way to find out if you have cover is to check your insurance policy schedule and somewhere it will say “legal expenses insurance” or it might say “family legal protection”. It will then say “included” or “not included” as the case may be. Or it might say how much the premium is to indicate that you do have cover.
If you do have cover, then your insurance policy terms and conditions booklet (usually a glossy pamphlet) will tell you what types of dispute it covers and any conditions attached to it. Most Legal Expenses Insurance policies will cover personal injury claims and employment disputes. Some will also cover general contractual disputes.
The terms and conditions booklet will also tell you how to claim on the policy. There will be a telephone number and if you phone it they will refer you to one their “panel solicitors”. In our experience, the panel solicitor is rarely local and so the client does not get to meet their solicitor in person. In order to get on the panel in the first place, the solicitor has probably paid a referral fee (in the case of personal injury claims) or agreed much lower rates than usual (in other cases). The solicitor is then forced to keep their costs down and they often achieve this by using paralegals to do the work.
The good news is that you do not have to use the solicitor nominated by your Legal Expenses Insurer. You are free to choose your own solicitor however they will not tell you this. If we agree to take your case on, and if you have legal expenses insurance, we will contact your legal expenses insurer for you and ask them to pay our fees.
So in the first instance, we would encourage you to speak with us first about your legal issue and we will check to see if you have legal expenses insurance to pay our fees.
Disclaimer: this blog is only intended to give a brief overview of the law and is not a substitute for independent legal advice.