After the Event (‘ATE’) Insurance covers the legal costs involved in your claim so you won’t have to worry about being left with a bill you can’t afford. If you lose your case, you’re expected to cover the legal costs of the party you were claiming against. You’ll also usually need to cover the expenses your solicitor has had to pay while making your claim. With ATE insurance, you won’t have to pay for these out of your own money, as they’ll be covered by the insurance company instead.
Quite simply, ATE insurance gives you financial security at a time when you might already be under pressure because of the costs your injury has caused. Your injury solicitor will arrange it on your behalf if you decide to start your claim with them.
ATE Insurance is usually arranged by your solicitor after your accident has taken place, but before the legal costs of your claim have started to build up. They’ll get quotes from different ATE insurers and choose the best cover, saving you the time and hassle.
Although unusual, ATE Insurance can also be arranged after your claim has started (ie during litigation). But this is risky because the policy will not be backdated, so any costs from before your cover starts won’t be covered. For that reason, your solicitor will always try to set up ATE Insurance before your case starts.
ATE Insurance can be used by any party in a claim, but it’s usually the person who’s making the claim (known as ‘the claimant’) who takes it out. You might not need ATE Insurance if you have ‘legal indemnity insurance’ in place, or if you already have trade union funding. If you have access to either of these, it’s important to check the extent of the cover and whether it will be enough. If it’s not, it can be worth taking out ATE Insurance to cover any shortfall. But don’t worry – your solicitor will be on hand to help you with this.
Your solicitor will usually try to arrange your ATE Insurance as early as possible. If it’s delayed, then the insurance company will expect the solicitor to give a lot more information before they can confirm your cover. This can become expensive and mean you need to pay a higher insurance premium.
ATE Insurance is used alongside no win no fee agreements, which means that if your claim isn’t successful then you won’t have to pay for ATE Insurance at all. If you win your case, you’ll pay for ATE Insurance out of your compensation as part of your solicitor’s fee. This will normally only take up a small percentage of the total amount you receive.
On some rare occasions, the insurer might ask for the premium up front; while under other policies the premiums are paid in instalments. Either way, the actual amount you have to pay can vary depending on when the claim is completed and the amount of compensation you receive. Under some policies, the premium is a one-off payment covering the entire case.
If your claim isn’t successful, you’re usually expected to pay for the legal costs of the other party. On top of this, you’ll also normally need to pay for your solicitor’s costs (which might include court fees, expert reports, barrister’s fees and police fees). This can build up to become quite expensive but ATE Insurance will cover it all.
If your case is successful, this means you get to keep as much of your compensation as possible so that you can spend it on getting your life back on track. If your case is unsuccessful, then ATE insurance makes sure you won’t be left out of pocket.
If you’re thinking about starting your personal injury claim, you can get in touch with a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 to get the ball rolling. During the call, they’ll be able to let you know whether they think you can make a claim and they’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have.
If you’re still keen to go ahead, the legal adviser can then pass you straight on to an expert solicitor who will also talk to you for free. They’ll be able to run you through the process of making a claim in detail, including any more information you’d like to know about ATE Insurance and how it will be used in your case.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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