5 frequently asked questions about trade union members’ legal cover30 October 2017
From what legal support you can access to the benefits for your relatives - these are the things trade union members should know about their legal servicer
1. What legal cover does trade union membership provide?
Thompsons Solicitors has partnered with many trade unions to provide members and their families, across the UK, with free access to legal services and representation. This includes, but is not limited to, support with personal injury claims (with special terms for medical negligence claims), as well as issues surrounding employment law, criminal and professional misconduct. Thompsons Solicitors also offers union members special rates for other legal services, such as wills and probate, conveyancing and lasting power of attorney.
2. I am a trade union member. Can my family benefit from my union’s legal cover, too?
While the details of each trade union membership differ, family members will often benefit from legal protection as part of your union legal scheme – you should check the individual terms for each union service to see what is included. Thompsons Solicitors provides legal advice and representation to hundreds of thousands of trade union members across the UK, and their families and you should always speak to your union first – even if the matter involves a family member, as they may still be covered. Examples of family member services include non-work related personal injury claims (including road crash claims), discounted wills and conveyancing services. For more information, visit your union hub. Thompsons Solicitors only acts for the injured or mistreated, never for insurers or employers.
3. I’m a retired trade union member. Can I still use a union legal service?
Yes. Many trade unions offer special retirement packages for those who wish to remain a member when they leave employment. These packages usually include the same access to legal and other services, including personal injury claims, but exclude the right to vote. For more information, contact your union’s legal assistance team.
If you are seeking legal support for an industrial disease, including an asbestos-related illness, that you have been diagnosed with since retiring, you should contact your previous union as soon as possible to begin investigating a compensation claim.
4. How long do I have to be a member of a trade union before I can make a compensation claim?
The rules vary between unions – typically you must have been a member of the union for between four to 12 consecutive weeks before making a claim and undertake to remain a member of the union for the duration of the claim. However, exceptions do apply and new members should contact their union for advice on whether they qualify for legal assistance.
5. Do I have to pay extra to use my union legal scheme?
No. The majority of trade union legal services are free of charge to the member or their family member. In personal injury and employment law claims, the injured or mistreated union member is guaranteed no fees and 100 per cent of any compensation secured. In medical negligence claims, union memberships benefit from special terms – something no high street firm can promise or match. In all instances, cases are run at no financial risk to the member, provided they remain within the union scheme. Where additional costs will apply – such as for discounted wills or conveyancing – these will be clearly communicated to the member in advance.
For more information about your union legal scheme call 0800 0 224 224 or visit your union’s hub.