Free Legal Advice
Nearly all solicitors and law firms, whether in Scotland, England or Wales, will give you an initial consultation for free in regards to legal matters such as personal injury claims without any obligation to use their services. With some larger law firms you may end up speaking to just one of the legal advisors at the firm, so it is always best to ask exactly who you are speaking to. With many claims management companies all you may get on the other end of the line is a call centre operator who may be quite happy to take all your details and tell you everything sounds fine but that is not really legal advice.
But, even after these consultations and after you have been advised of your options you still should not be asked to pay any money, either up front, or at the end of an accident claim. There are two common phrases used - "no win, no fee" and "100% compensation". One does not mean the same as the other and you need to ask clearly whether there are any fees up front, during or after your case whether your claim wins or loses.
Of course, there are many organisations and government funded associations set up to ensure that you get impartial advise on law related matters. Here are a few of the more popular:
The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from over 3,000 locations across the UK including GP surgeries, hospitals, colleges, prisons and courts. Advice is available face-to-face and by telephone with home visits and email advice also available. They advise on debt, benefits, housing, legal, discrimination, employment, immigration, consumer and other problems and is available to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, age, nationality, disability or religion. Each Citizens Advice Bureau is a registered charity relying on their 20,000 volunteers who raise funds to provide these vital services. The majority of their advisers are also trained volunteers, helping people to resolve nearly 5.5 million issues every year. - http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
They have a dedicated Advice Guide website at www.adviceguide.org.uk set up that offers independent advice on your rights with practical information on benefits and housing, employment rights and discrimination as well as debt and tax issues. They even cover topics such as animal welfare including the laws regarding looking after your pets and information on new changes such as TV license reforms and smoking bans. The information is available in several common languages with nearly all their online documentation available to be printed off. They have dedicated sections on the website for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. - http://www.adviceguide.org.uk
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is the umbrella organisation that all Scottish citizens advice bureaux must join. They make sure that its members get the information and support that they need to help people that contact their office. This includes working with Citizens Advice in England and Wales to make sure that the information used by all bureaux and on the Adviceguide website is up to date and relevant to Scotland. They also ensure that bureaux are performing to the standards required. - http://www.cas.org.uk
AdviceUK is the UK's largest support network for free, independent advice centres. Formed in 1979 as the Federation of Independent Advice Centres (FIAC) they offer a central hub where people can locate the services they need. They have just under 1000 organisations in membership ranging from small volunteer only services to large national advice organisations. Members are either generalist services offering advice on a range of subjects, or specialist services offering in-depth advice in one area of social-welfare law. - http://www.adviceuk.org.uk
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