Simpson Millar are a national law firm with specialist Personal Injury Solicitors and a dedicated team of Lawyers dealing with military accident and injury claims.
Whether you are still serving in the British armed forces, or have been discharged, you may have a claim for compensation if you have been injured in the course of your military career.
Our team of experienced Lawyers have considerable expertise in this complex area of law, having helped many clients claim compensation for injuries suffered in the armed forces.
Military Accident Compensation
Our Personal Injury Solicitors can help members of the armed forces and veterans to claim compensation for a wide variety of accident and injury claims including:
Military Training Accidents
Members of the armed forces work and train in highly dynamic environments. Whilst there may be a greater likelihood of accident or injury due to the inherent risks, the MOD must still work to minimise the risk of injury.
Accidents can occur as a consequence of inadequate training, or as a consequence of failure of military equipment, or due to equipment not being used correctly. As with any other employer, the MoD has a duty to provide proper training, properly-maintained equipment, and if they do not meet the required standard, and injuries are caused as a consequence, then a claim for compensation can arise.
Parachute Injury Claims
In the British army (MoD), causes of parachuting accidents that can lead to parachute injury claims include inadequate training, faulty equipment, mid-air collisions and exiting from aircraft in adverse weather conditions. Our Personal Injury Solicitors have particular expertise in parachute accident and injury claims.
Accidents on Training Exercises
Military training by nature is often highly physically-demanding, and mentally-challenging. However, training should be run with reasonable care to ensure the safety of armed forces personnel. On occasions, it can be the case that the MOD may fall short, and injuries may follow as a consequence. If you have sustained a significant injury in the course of a training exercise, then we can advise you on the possibility of your claim being successful.
Non-Freezing Cold Injuries
A non-freezing cold injury is typically caused when the feet, and hands, are exposed to cold and wet conditions for long periods, without sufficient relief. Without proper medical management, over a sufficient period of time, the victim can suffer permanent damage to the nerves and blood vessels.
Individuals who have grown up in a warm climate are particularly vulnerable to this type of injury. Our Lawyers have seen some high value compensation settlements, particularly in cases where non-freezing cold injuries have led directly to a medical discharge, or to the individual deciding that it is no longer viable for them to continue their military career.
Medical Negligence Claims
Members of the armed forces typically need to be at the peak of fitness in order to perform their duties to the required standard. Medical and man-management after an injury therefore needs to be tailored to ensure that the armed forces member can return to full duties at the earliest opportunity.
It’s important in particular that the individual receives the appropriate level of medical care and man-management, to ensure that the injury is not exacerbated, potentially limiting life and career options as a civilian. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors will ensure that we invest all the time which is needed to give each military client the best chance of succeeding in securing compensation and rehabilitation support.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Claims (PTSD)
With UK Forces heavily engaged over the last decade or two, we have seen an increasing number of military accident and injury claims. The initial causes of injury, often arising from experiences whilst on tours of duty do not give generally give rise to a claim.
However, the Chain of Command, and medical team, have a duty to ensure if they are aware that an injury may have been sustained that the individual is managed appropriately, and receives the appropriate medical support, and adjustment in duties if appropriate. Whilst there is an increasing awareness of the frequency, and debilitating nature of PTSD, there remain many cases where medical and management may fall short of the required standard, and a claim may arise.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Our specialist team has represented hundreds of servicemen, and civilians, who have suffered hearing loss. Servicemen and women operate in dynamic environments, often using weapons, and heavy equipment, and are unfortunately vulnerable to suffering hearing loss due to repeated (and potentially avoidable) exposure to high noise levels.
Injuries include occupational deafness, and tinnitus, which can lead to medical discharge, and also potentially impact on post-service careers. Our expert team will take a detailed history from the client to establish whether a claim may be available relating to exposure to excessive noise, provision of no or inadequate hearing protection, and due to the failure to provide proper medical management, through an early diagnosis, and appropriate medical and man-management.
Other Types of Personal Injury Claims
Armed Forces Compensation may well be available through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. A lump sum payment is recoverable under the scheme, by reference to a tariff for different types of injury. Compensation awards may be made up to a maximum of £650,000. If you have suffered a serious injury, you may additionally be awarded a Guaranteed Income Payment, paid monthly through the scheme.
Significantly, there is no requirement to prove fault to qualify for an award under the scheme, in contrast with a civil claim for personal injury.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is designed to provide a Lawyer-free process, and charitable organisations such as the Royal British Legion (in particular) will generally provide free advice to personnel in connection with a claim under the scheme.
It is always advisable to investigate the possibility of making a claim under the scheme, in addition to making a civil claim for personal injury if you qualify. In many of our cases, we can assist with AFCS claims, and AFCS Appeals, by providing medical reports, and other evidence, which is obtained in the process of the civil claim.
In cases where awards are made under the AFCS scheme, and in a civil personal injury claim, the MOD may be entitled to offset the amounts awarded in the AFCS claim from the successful civil personal injury claim. We will obviously advise on any offset if it potentially applies, before settlement of your personal injury claim.
Many armed forces service personnel take out insurance policies which pay out in the event of injury or death. Any potential claims under insurance policies should be presented at the earliest opportunity. As with the AFCS scheme, we are pleased to advise as we progress personal injury claims with claims of this nature, and we may well be able to provide evidence to support your claim.
Claim Time Limits
In most cases Court Proceedings must be started within 3 years of the date of the incident or injury. The position is more complex with some types of claim, for example, PTSD claims. If in doubt, it’s always advisable to take initial legal advice to check whether you may have a claim.
The time limit for presenting an AFCS claim is 7 years from the date of the incident/injury.
Any time limit for an insurance claim will be specified in your policy documents. We will be happy to review these, and to advise on your entitlement, if we can take your case on.
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