£350,000 Compensation in MoD Non Freezing Cold Injury Claim

Author:
Gavin Hughes
Partner, Military Claims Solicitor
Date:
21/05/2019

A Military Accident Claim Case Study

Client Situation

Our client had been diagnosed with a non freezing cold injury in his hands and feet, after an assessment at the Institute of Naval Medicine in Gosport, near Portsmouth. At the time, our client was a Lance Corporal, based in Coney Island, Hampshire.

Following his medical downgrade to non-deployable status, our client was concerned that he was likely to be the subject of a medical discharge. He contacted our Personal Injury Solicitors that specialise in Military Accident Claims for free legal advice about making a claim for compensation.

Our client had developed symptoms of numbness, pain, and tingling, in his hands and feet, in the course of a leadership training course in the West Country, during which he was exposed to many hours in the field, in cold and wet conditions, without being given sufficient opportunity to take respite in a warmer environment, to take hot showers and to have hot food.

Our client also was subjected along with his comrades to beastings, involving staying in very cold rivers for significant periods of time. Our client was not provided with winter kit for the exercise, which would have protected him from the cold conditions.

Initially, our client did not realise he had suffered a non freezing cold injury, and thought that the symptoms were “par for the course”. However, as time went on, and the symptoms did not subside, he realised that he may have suffered an injury, and sought medical advice through his medical centre, leading to the testing at the Institute of Naval Medicine and the diagnosis of a non freezing cold injury in the hands and feet.

Unfortunately our client was medically discharged whilst the litigation was ongoing.

How We Helped

Personal Injury Solicitor Gavin Hughes took a detailed witness statement from the client, setting out the conditions on the training course which had led to the non freezing cold injury.

An expert Vascular Surgeon was instructed to prepare a report for the case, who concluded that the non freezing cold injury had been suffered as a consequence of exposure to cold and wet on the training course, and that unfortunately the injury was unlikely to resolve. The medical expert recommended that the client should avoid exposure to cold conditions. This obviously limited our client’s career options.

Personal Injury Solicitor Gavin Hughes also obtained a report from an expert employment consultant, to assist with calculating the claim for loss of financial earnings. The employment consultant discussed possible alternative job options with the client, and the client was able to map out how he wished his career to progress.

The client planned to obtain qualifications to enable him to work as a heating engineer. The employment consultant provided details of projected earnings from salary, pension and other fringe benefits in the course of the full army career that the client hoped to pursue; and his anticipated earnings in his proposed career as a heating engineer.

This enabled Gavin Hughes and the client’s Barrister to prepare a schedule setting out the client’s financial losses, to present to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). A separate claim for personal injury compensation was also put forward, supported by the evidence of the Vascular Surgeon.

Initially, the MoD responded by denying liability. After further communications with the MoD, an offer was made to compromise the case on a 75% / 25% basis, in our client’s favour. If accepted, this would have meant the client would have received 75% of his full entitlement to damages. On advice from Personal Injury Solicitor Gavin Hughes, and the Barrister, the offer was not accepted.

The Outcome

Following rejection of the offer, the MoD agreed to proceed with a joint settlement meeting, at which a negotiated settlement was agreed for our client to receive £350,000 compensation.

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