In a judgment handed down by the High Court on the 8th May, former Royal Marine Sergeant Alistair Inglis, a veteran of Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, has been awarded more than £500,000 damages for hearing loss suffered during military service.
The parties had already agreed to split liability 80/20 in Sergeant Inglis’ favour so this judgment dealt only with the extent his hearing had been damaged by the negligence of the MOD and the financial losses, past and future, caused by his hearing loss. It was the MODs case that Sgt Inglis had left the Royal Marines to pursue a more lucrative career in maritime security.
After hearing evidence from the Claimant and various witnesses and experts over 4-days in March, the Judge found that Sgt Inglis had decided to voluntarily leave the Royal Marines after 15 years of service because of the damage caused to his hearing and to prevent further damage. He was therefore entitled to claim compensation for the damage he had suffered and for the loss of military and civilian earnings, loss of pension and other losses, which are set out below:
|General Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity||£25,000|
|Loss of congenial employment||£8,000|
|Past loss of earnings to the date of the hearing
This was a negative amount because he had earned more since leaving the Royal Marines in 2012
|Loss of military benefits e.g. Loss of Enhanced Learning Credits||£7,662|
|Future loss of earnings||£257,518|
|Future loss of benefits||£562|
|Future loss of pension||£351,313|
|Future claim for hearing aids||£54,919|
|Total + interest||£544,672|
The MOD applied for permission to appeal this judgment. It was refused.
A link to the judgment is here: Sergeant Alistair Inglis v Ministry of Defence
Can I claim?
To win a claim for damages against the MOD, you as the Claimant need to prove that you have suffered noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) after being exposed to excessive noise. You must also prove that it was caused by their failure to provide you with adequate protection and to regularly monitor your hearing.
A typical case is where NIHL is identified during, say, periodic testing and you get a downgrade, but your unit then negligently fails to restrict and protect you from exposure to further dangerous levels of noise and your hearing is made much worse and you get medically discharged whereupon you suffer significant financial loss.
A crucial factor in a claim for hearing loss is whether you have brought the case in time. Presumably Sgt Inglis issued his claim in time or the MOD were persuaded not to take the point. Unlike AFCS claims where you have 7 years to apply for an award, in a negligence claim you have only 3 years to settle a claim or start court proceedings and the clock starts at the time of the accident (a car crash for example) or the date you knew the injury was serious and it was caused by another. If you miss that deadline, you will likely lose the chance to claim. See my earlier blog Time Waits for no Man. I see lots of guys who may have a good case, but who likely fall outside the 3-year limitation period, unless:
- They have been subject to a negligent exposure by the MOD to further harmful acoustic trauma within the preceding 3 years; and
- They should have been protected; and
- The MOD failed to protect them
Don’t leave it too late. If you suspect you have hearing loss and it was negligently caused by your military service, take on board this advice and then contact us for a confidential, no obligation chat about your prospects of a claim for damages.
9th May 2019
Grant served for 10 years with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery where he was trained as an Arctic and Jungle Warfare specialist; military skiing instructor; artillery surveyor; parachutist; combat driver; combat medic; diver and Platoon Weapons Instructor.