NO win no fee does NOT mean no danger.
Anthony Holmes took advantage of the popular payment deal when he lodged a compensation claim over his hearing loss.
He signed a ‘conditional fee agreement’ with Eatons Solicitors which meant the lawyers took a slice of his payout if he won.
And, if he lost, he would be shielded from their charges through an insurance policy they paid for.
But after his case collapsed he discovered to his horror there is a third way – the company wants £2,550 from him. Anthony, aged 70, of Honeysuckle Road, Shiregreen, reckons four years as a press hand at River Don Stampings from 1968 to 1972 affected his hearing.
In October he told Eatons his problems only came on in the last two years.
But when they launched a claim they discovered from his medical records that he’d seen his GP and had been referred to the hospital 15 years ago.
That meant the claim was void – it has to be within three years of becoming aware of a problem – and the company could reclaim its costs from him on the grounds he’d misled them.
He said: “I completely forgot about going to hospital in 1997 because they sent me home without any treatment.
“If I’d realised I’d be liable I’d have said, ‘Don’t bother then, because I can’t afford to pay’.
“I thought I had nothing to lose. I can’t pay £50, let alone £2,500.”
GRAEME Brown, Eatons managing partner, said they would look again at whether they would insist on payment.
Eatons had been misled because, even if Mr Holmes forgot about his hospital appointment, he’d clearly had hearing problems for a lot longer than three years, he said.
And the company carefully explained the risks involved if they were misled.
He added: “I will look at the question of whether it is worthwhile insisting on payment, and will contact you again in due course.”