You might think that being a member of the armed forces means you’re at risk of being injured whilst carrying out your duties. That may be true but you should also realise that if you’re injured because the Ministry of Defense (MoD) was negligent in some way, you could be entitled to compensation. That’s because, along with other employers, the MoD has a duty of care towards the safety of its personnel while they are working.
In this claims article, we’ll explain how you could be compensated if you’re injured in a military training accident, while on active duty or if you suffer from medical negligence during military surgery.
Our personal injury lawyers can help if you’re thinking of claiming compensation for military injuries. Initially, we offer a free consultation where you can discuss your claim with a specialist. If they suspect your claim is viable, they’ll ask one of our personal injury lawyers to intervene. Should your claim be accepted, you’ll benefit from a No Win No Fee service. That means your solicitor won’t be paid if your claim fails and they won’t ask you to pay for their work in advance either. In our experience, that should make the claims process much less stressful.
If you would like to start a military injury compensation claim right away, call our team now on 0800 652 1345.
Can I be disciplined for claiming military injury compensation?
It’s important to point out right at the start of this article that there are laws in place to prevent claimants from being discriminated against. As a result, you cannot be fired, demoted, redeployed, singled out or have training opportunities removed because you have decided to claim compensation for a military accident.
If you have made an honest claim and any of the above were to happen, you may have the grounds to make a constructive or unfair dismissal claim against the MoD. This is something we can also help with. Please get in touch if you have any concerns about claiming compensation.
How do military injury claims work?
If your claim is taken on by one of our specialist solicitors, they’ll decide whether to pursue a settlement through a civil case or through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
Civil claims (or personal injury claims) might be possible if it can be proven that:
- The MoD breached its duty of care towards your safety; which
- Caused an accident or incident to happen; in which
- You sustained an injury or were made ill.
Personal injury claims can involve compensation for your injuries as well as any cost, expenses or losses they’ve caused. Compensation through the AFCS is based purely on your injuries.
Importantly, the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987 means that the Crown doesn’t have automatic immunity from personal injury claims.
We could help in either case and you could benefit from the expertise of one of our solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis.
When is an AFCS claim possible?
The AFCS scheme could be used by veterans, active military personnel, reservists or members of the special forces. Claims might be possible for injuries sustained during service while:
- On operations.
- Taking part in sports approved by the military.
- Training to maintain fitness for military action.
It is possible that you could be entitled to compensation through the AFCS scheme and also make a civil claim as well.
To see how we could help you claim for your military injuries, please speak to an advisor today and ask for a free consultation.
What types of military accidents could I claim compensation for?
Essentially, if your claim meets the criteria set out earlier in this article, you could claim compensation for your injuries. To give you some idea of what that means in reality, we’ve listed some examples below. Military injury compensation claims might be possible for:
- Friendly fire incidents.
- Military training accidents.
- Sporting injuries.
- Injuries caused by defective or unsafe equipment.
- Accidents caused by unsafe military premises.
- Accidents resulting from unsafe working practices.
- Injuries caused by criminal activity.
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances.
That means you could claim for injuries such as:
- Hearing loss.
- Burns and scalds.
- Broken bones.
- Back or neck injuries.
- Limb amputations.
- Brain damage.
- Psychological harm including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD claims).
- Fatal accidents.
This list of accidents and injuries is far from conclusive so please don’t worry if there isn’t a scenario that matches your own. We could still help you to make a military injury compensation claim.
We should point out that although the MoD must provide a safe working environment in the same way other employers do, they cannot do so on a battlefield. As such, they have ‘combat immunity which means injuries sustained during a battle cannot usually be claimed for. However, it may be worth speaking with our solicitors because cases aren’t always clear cut and it’s always worth checking your options before dismissing your chances of being compensated.
If you’d like more information about your options, please call today.
How much compensation for military injuries?
If you claim compensation through the AFCS, your settlement will be based on the latest tariff set out by the scheme. If you decide to take civil action, any settlement will be based on several criteria. Most claims differ from each other but compensation in personal injury claims is usually based on:
- The extent of your injuries and the suffering they caused.
- Any impact on your hobbies, domestic or social life (loss of amenity).
- The cost of care (whether provided privately or by a family member).
- Loss of income and future lost earnings.
- The cost of modifying your house (or vehicle) to make it easier to deal with disabilities.
- Rehabilitation and private medical costs.
- Travel expenses.
In either type of claim, you’ll need to prove the extent of your injuries. This will usually mean a medical assessment is required. Where possible, your solicitor will try to arrange a local appointment with an independent specialist. They’ll examine you and discuss your injuries with you. After the meeting, they’ll prepare a report for all parties to explain what military injuries you’ve dealt with and your prognosis for the future.
To learn what you could include when claiming military injury compensation, please call today.
Providing proof to support a military injury claim
When making personal injury claims for military injuries, it’s important to provide evidence to show a) how you were injured, b) what injuries were sustained and c) how your injuries were caused by negligence. Several types of proof could be used in a compensation claim including:
- Photographic evidence. If your injuries were caused by defective equipment, it’s a good idea to take pictures. Ideally, you should capture the accident scene before anything is removed or repaired.
- Witness information. Where it’s a challenge to prove what happened, your solicitor could ask any witnesses to provide a statement of what they saw. For that reason, it’s a good idea to pass on their contact details (with permission) when claiming.
- Investigation reports. If an investigation is carried out into your accident in the military, any report could be used to help prove what caused it.
- Accident report forms. Similarly, many accidents need to be recorded in something like an accident report book. Your copy might be useful as it could prove where and when you were injured.
- Medical evidence. You could supply medical records to help prove what injuries you sustained and the treatment you had to undergo. Under data protection laws, you can ask for copies of your military medical records or those held by the hospital that treated you.
- Video recordings. If your accident was captured by a security camera or the incident was being recorded for training purposes, it might be a good idea to request a copy of the footage.
As part of our initial consultation, we will review any evidence you’re able to supply. If your military injury claim is accepted, and you’re struggling to secure evidence, your solicitor could help by requesting it on your behalf.
Claiming compensation for a loved one
If a loved one has died during a military accident, no level of compensation will make things better. However, at some point, you may decide to claim to make things a little easier.
Initially, you could claim on behalf of the deceased estate for the fact they died due to somebody else’s negligence. Then you could also claim a bereavement payment of compensation if you were a financial dependent of the deceased. Finally, a payment could also be requested to cover expenses such as the cost of paying for a funeral.
Please get in touch if you’d like us to help you claim military injury compensation on behalf of a loved one.
Time limits for making a military injury claim
If you make a claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, you’ll have 7-years to begin from the date the injury was sustained. Generally, claims are expected to take around 6-months to be finalised.
If taking civil action for military injuries, the personal injury claims time limit is 3-years. This will either begin from:
- The date you sustained your injuries; or
- When your injuries were diagnosed.
The latter could be relevant if you are claiming for industrial injuries or illnesses caused by long term exposure to noise or chemicals.
Our advice would be to take action as soon as possible to reduce the chances of missing out on compensation because of the limitation period. By starting sooner rather than later, you’ll probably find it easier to recall what happened and you’ll give your solicitor more time to find the evidence needed to support your claim.
The time taken for personal injury claims to be settled will depend on whether your injuries are fully healed and whether liability for your accident is accepted quickly. If so, you could be compensated in a number of months. Otherwise, the claims process may take longer.
No Win No Fee military injury compensation claims
We understand that nobody wants to pay for a solicitor and then lose their compensation claim. That’s why our personal injury solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis in claims they take on.
If your claim is suitable, your solicitor will formalise the claims process by sending you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will explain what they’ll do for you and when you’ll need to pay them.
Essentially, you won’t pay solicitors fees upfront and you won’t lose any money yourself if the claim fails.
If your claim is won, you’ll pay a success fee to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work. This will be deducted from any settlement you receive. In the CFA, your success fee is expressed as a fixed percentage of your compensation.
As with any contract, you should read your CFA carefully to check what percentage you’ll pay if your case is won. However, legally, success fees can’t be higher than 25% when using this type of agreement.
Want to check if you could claim with us on a No Win No Fee basis? If so, please call today.
Start a military injury compensation claim today
If you’ve decided to take action against the MoD, the easiest way to begin is to call our claims advisors to start with on 0800 652 1345. There’s nothing to lose by contacting us as you’ll be given free legal advice no matter what you decide to do.
We understand that suing the MoD might seem daunting. That’s why your solicitor will deal with everything if your case is taken on. They will deal with any queries, objections or arguments that are raised but keep you fully up to date with what is happening.
If a compensation offer is made, they won’t simply accept it just so they can say the case has been won. Instead, they’ll discuss it with you to check that it fully covers the suffering you’ve had to endure.
Thanks for reading our article on military injury compensation claims, and please let us know if you’d like any additional information.