Following on from my blog last year Military Non-Freezing Cold Injury Claims (NFCI) are costing £Millions
, I have received the results from an up to date Freedom of Information Act request from the MoD.
In the financial year 2017/18:
- 163 Non Freezing Cold Injuries (NFCI) claims were settled by the MoD in this period
- £13.4 million was paid in personal injury damages
- £6.4 million was paid to the lawyers of those injured troops – this figure is inclusive of court fees (typically it costs between £5,000 and £10,000 to issue court proceedings in a career ending NFCI case) experts fees, barristers fees, other costs and VAT (20%)
- £3.1 million (just under half as much) was paid by the MoD to their lawyers to defend these cases. Only one law firm handles NFCI claims for the MoD
I have pressed for an answer to the question of just how many of these 163 cases were settled before, and how many after, court proceedings were commenced*. I strongly suspect the answer to be that for policy reasons
they will rarely, if ever, settle a career ending NFCI case without forcing the injured veteran to commence very costly court proceedings.
It is bound to be true that there will be very many cases which won’t proceed to a successful outcome for the Claimant and presumably they fall away due to a lack of prospects. However, it is now clear and obvious that if a soldier has been negligently exposed
(added emphasis) to climatic conditions which caused him or her to develop career ending Non-Freezing Cold Injuries, it would be of enormous short-term and long-term benefit for both sides to collaborate and attempt to settle those claims far, far sooner.
Finally, I asked the question again, just how many Non Freezing Cold Injury Claims were actually defended by the MoD all the way to a trial on liability? Unsurprisingly the answer was again, none
. Every single one of those 163 cases were settled out of court.
This is a costly policy.
*19.09.19 - I have now been informed that of the 163 cases which were settled by the MoD in that period, 156 (95.7%) settled only after court proceedings had been commenced and a mere 7 (4.3%) were settled pre-litigation. These are terrible statistics.
Grant Evatt, the owner of Alma Law, is a former British Army Para-Commando. He has specialised in military personal injury claims for almost two decades and he is an authority in this complex area.