Military service is a hazardous occupation and training is designed to be tough enough to prepare our men and women to battle an enemy, but not to such a degree that they are exposed to perilous levels of danger.
For several decades, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been subject to a lawful duty to provide its serving men and women with a safe place of work, safe and adequate equipment and competent fellow staff and troops, to enable them to fulfil their roles without being exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury.
Any military personnel: Army, Navy, RAF, Royal Marines and Reserve Forces, who have sustained injury during their service as a result of negligence can bring a personal injury claim for their injuries and financial losses. Even the most moderate of injuries can put your career and all that you have trained so hard for in jeopardy.
Types of Military Claim:
- Training – home and abroad including Salisbury Plain, Sennybridge, Otterburn, Dartmoor, the Middle East, Canada, Belize, Kenya…
- Friendly fire and negligent discharges
- Inadequate/faulty equipment and machinery – weapons, vehicles, clothing…
- Sports injuries – mountaineering, sub-aqua, skiing, rugby…
- Climatic injuries such as Non-Freezing and Freezing Cold Injuries
- Hearing loss – especially re-exposure to dangerous levels of noise, despite medical downgrading
- Military vehicle and road traffic accidents
- Harmful medication and exposure to dangerous substances
- Psychological injuries such as PTSD
- Medical errors
The majority of military claimant’s approach us at a very late stage after being told that they cannot claim for their injuries or that they can’t bring a claim until they have been discharged. Indeed, many service personnel are still unaware they can bring a personal injury claim at all. You can and should be encouraged to do so, after all, you are just as entitled to claim as all other employees and, without some accountability, your accident and injuries will likely be repeated, and we can ill afford to keep injuring our brave men and women, needlessly.
You still have to prove your case and the MOD does not simply roll over and settle. They will put up a fight and you need to know just how to defeat them. You must instruct a specialist, Alma Law.
Alma Law have a unique and unrivalled expertise in military claims. We are led by solicitor Grant Evatt, a former Army Commando who is an authority in military claims: "I have represented hundreds of injured troops, veterans and many grieving families in the last twenty years or more. It has been an honour and privilege to serve them."
We would urge all military personnel and veterans who have sustained injury during their service and are unsure of their legal rights, to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation about pursuing a personal injury claim for their injuries and financial losses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring a claim whilst still serving?
Yes. Any military personnel: Army, Navy, RAF, Royal Marines and Reserve Forces, who have sustained injury during their military service as a result of negligence can bring a personal injury claim for their injuries and financial losses.
Why can I claim?
Personal injury claims against the MOD have been possible since the late 80’s – it’s the law! Of course, they don’t want you to know this. Even the most moderate of personal injuries can put a military career and all that you have trained so hard for in jeopardy. A lengthy medical downgrade will compromise your promotion prospects and, if your injury prevents you from ‘soldiering’ you will face the prospect of medical discharge. Whilst an AFCS payout and military pension might appear generous, it will not come close to the damages you could win if your injury, and discharge, was caused by negligence.
What can I claim?
The amount of compensation you receive on settlement of your case, is dependent on many factors, including the severity of the injury sustained, loss of earnings and ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
In general, serious personal injury cases, such as brain injury, spinal injury and amputations, attract higher levels of compensation because of the long-lasting impact they have on a person’s life.
Personal injury compensation is made up of 2 components:
This is the amount of damages paid to you by the defendant for the ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’ caused by the accident. These damages are designed to compensate for injuries sustained and the effect these will have on your quality of life.
The level of general damages awarded will vary massively depending on the seriousness of the injury and even where two people have suffered a similar injury, there can be subtle differences that can affect the amount awarded.
General Damages are awarded for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Lowered quality of life
Special Damages (Financial Losses)
Special damages is the compensation designed to cover the financial losses (past and future) incurred because of a personal injury. These are mostly fact based and provided you have gathered the relevant evidence, can be easier to prove and calculate.
As a claimant, you are also able to claim reasonable expense which have incurred or will incur as a direct consequence of the accident or personal injuries.
Special Damages are awarded for:
- Paid and unpaid care and assistance
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of full military career pension
- Loss of military benefits, including free medical and dental care, further education, travel, food and accommodation, separation allowances, uniform, in-service accident insurance (the much-lauded Armed Forces Compensation Scheme), free sport and free travel.
- Travel Expenses
- Medication and medical aids and appliances
- Home adaptations
- Loss of domestic skills such as DIY and gardening
Should I claim?
In a word, yes. Many service personnel are still unaware they can bring a personal injury claim at all when a negligent act or omission causes them to suffer a serious injury during their military service.
You can claim and your superiors should be encouraging you to do so, after all, you are just as entitled to make a personal injury claim as civilians and, without some accountability, your accident and injuries will likely be repeated, and we can ill afford to keep ending the careers of our brave men and women, needlessly.
Whilst the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a very good insurance policy, the sums you can recover under the scheme often pale in comparison with a legal personal injury claim.
Do I have to give credit for my AFCS award?
Yes. In a successful legal claim, should you have also received an AFCS award, the tariff (lump sum) award will need to be offset against the relevant head of loss. You are not out of pocket. You just can’t be paid twice for the same injury against the MOD. If a legal claim is not successful, nothing happens to the AFCS award. The rules are complex so you should instruct a military claims specialist; Alma Law.