Accidents will happen - but needn't hurt your pocket

Solicitors are offering to ease the burden of compensation claims by working on a no-win, no-fee basis
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The Independent Online
If you have recently had an accident - in the street, at work, in the supermarket or even at the local tennis club - the National Solicitors' Network is offering free initial advice and access to an approved solicitor who can act for you on a no-win, no-fee basis.

When Ray Butler (not his real name) was working in a textiles factory in the 1950s and 1960s, no one really worried about wearing ear protectors. And, as his hearing loss was gradual, it had no real impact, apart from the odd remark of his wife, along the lines of "Are you deaf or something?" So, when he learned 30 years on at a routine check-up that not only was he deaf, but that his condition was work related, he was taken aback.

In fact, Ray was deaf in both ears and had slight tinnitus, and, while he could conduct a one-to-one conversation, he was unable to hear clearly in groups.

Still, in terms of his disability, he was relatively lucky, for although the compensation included an element for reduced employability, he was never out of work. Nevertheless, Ray received pounds 6,000 damages from his former employers.

Most people in Ray's position do not even bother to investigate their legal rights - one good reason why, out of the three million accidents that occur each year, two million do not claim any compensation.

Another deterrent, of course, is the thought of high legal fees. As Ray was not eligible for legal aid, he had to live with the thought that, if things went wrong, he could be facing fees of up to twice the amount he was claiming.

The National Solicitors' Network claims to sweep away such anxieties with the introduction of a no-win no-fee service for personal injury victims, available only through solicitors meeting their high quality standards. This service entitles accident victims to a free initial consultation with a local solicitor, specialising in personal injury cases. Then, if you both decide to go ahead, you pay an affordable one-off insurance premium covering all possible costs, including going to court, should the case fail.

CG

For details of the scheme, telephone Freephone 0800 009911.

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