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Armed Forces Claims
If you’re a member of the armed forces and you’ve been injured as a result of an incident, either in the UK or overseas, that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to make a personal injury claim.
Like any other employer, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) owes a duty of care to service personnel. Since 1987, military staff have been able to make a claim for personal injury if the MOD has failed in this duty of care, or to provide you with appropriate training, equipment and a safe place of work.
At JMW, our specialist team has many years of experience working with members of the armed forces to ensure that they get the compensation they deserve after an accident and we can help you too, if you or a loved one has been injured.
Speak to our team today. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to make a claim, we are here to answer any questions you may have. Call us on 0345 450 9547 or, if you would prefer us to call you, complete our online enquiry form.
Meet Our Armed Forces Ambassador: Corporal Andy Reid MBE
Corporal Andy Reid MBE is working with JMW’s armed forces claims team to encourage soldiers to seek help following an injury by claiming compensation. Through his role as JMW’s armed forces ambassador, Andy wants to end the ‘man-up’ culture that continues to dominate the armed forces, preventing some individuals from speaking out about the trauma they have faced.
Corporal Andy Reid lost both of his legs and his right arm after stepping on an IED while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, with the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. His injuries were so severe it was thought he would not survive, however, he astounded people with his recovery, returning home after just two weeks in the hospital.
It was a childhood dream for Andy to serve in the British Armed forces, and despite his experiences, he reflects positively on his time in the army. Andy has never let his injuries stop him from living his life with a positive mindset.
How JMW Can Help
We have extensive experience of dealing with armed forces claims, with a team in place who specialise in dealing with claims made by service personnel and know what a member of the armed forces will need to claim for, what options are in place for them and how to get the best result. We will do this on a no win, no fee basis, meaning that you won’t have any additional financial worries as the result of making a claim.
Part of the reason we’re able to offer you an excellent service is that we understand the specialist nature of the work that members of the armed forces carry out. We understand that in order for your case to be successful, we need to pursue specialist types of evidence that are not required for civilian claims. This evidence often involves large amounts of technical documentation, which we can help you navigate. We are experienced in securing:
- Learning accounts
- LAIT reports
- Joint Service publications
- Standing Orders
We can also provide you with a “one-stop-shop” service. As well as a specialist personal injury and medical negligence team, we have an expert team that will help you secure your compensation in an Armed Forces Compensation Trust and create or update a Will. We can also provide advice on employment and family matters, with teams that have been commended in independent legal publications for their expertise. Fundamentally, our focus when working with you is to take as much pressure off you as possible, so that you can focus on making a full recovery and getting on with your life.
Whether your claim is against a civilian defendant or against the MOD, the rules are the same. You will not be required to leave the armed forces in order to make your claim (although your injury may mean you will be medically discharged), and your claim will be handled in the English legal system, regardless of whether or not your accident took place in the UK or abroad.
We know that it may seem daunting to pursue a claim against the armed forces, for various reasons. However, your claim, and the compensation you are awarded as a result of your claim, may make a big difference as you look to move forward with your life after your injury.
Types of Military Injuries
Anyone who starts a career in the armed forces knows that a lot will be asked of them, both physically and mentally. It is the MOD’s responsibility to make sure that whilst military personnel are pushing hard and doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, their safety is properly taken care of and they are appropriately trained for the task at hand.
When the MOD falls short of this duty and an injury happens as a result, as the injured person, you are entitled to make a claim. It is a complex area of law, but our team has extensive experience in dealing with all types of military injury, including:
When the worst happens and a loved one dies as the result of an accident, we can help you find out what has happened. We have experience in both military and civilian inquests, and we understand the complexities that come with a military inquest, which usually involve Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“Right to Life”). Inquests also tend to involve large amounts of technical documentation, which we will help you to navigate.
Inquests can also attract significant public attention, which we can help you to deal with. We have a great deal of experience in this area and will bring that experience to bear to help support you, no matter how your loved one has passed away.
Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a loved one and the impact it will have on your life. If your loved one has passed away as the result of an accident within the armed forces, we can provide you with emotional support and assistance in making sure you are financially secure.
For information on fatal military accidents, visit our dedicated page.
Non-freezing cold injuries
Despite being serious career-threatening injuries, non-freezing cold injuries are largely preventable, and the MOD has provided clear guidance to reduce the risk of injury in JSP 539, but Commanders are often unaware of the guidance, or ignore it. Service personnel should be trained to recognise the signs of cold injury, so that quick treatment can be provided to prevent the damage from becoming irreversible. Read more about non-freezing cold injuries and how you can claim.
Injuries caused by Lariam
Also known as Mefloquine, Lariam is an anti-malaria drug commonly prescribed to armed forces personnel. Between April 1st 2007 and March 31st 2015, 17,368 members of the armed forces were prescribed the drug at least once, despite guidance being issued by the manufacturer in 1996 about its potential adverse side effects. Service personnel should be told about these side effects, which can include:
- Suicidal thoughts
Read more about the issues arising from being prescribed Lariam and how we can help you make a claim if you have been prescribed it incorrectly or have suffered from side effects without being properly assessed.
Part of being in the armed forces means using dangerous, highly technical equipment that requires special training. Your training needs to be realistic, but also safe, and properly risk assessed. You should also be provided with properly maintained equipment that is in good working order, appropriate personal protective equipment and suitable supervision and instruction from qualified instructors.
Adventurous training incidents
Adventurous training is described as an “essential part of tri-service training”, as it contributes to the development of military skills of leadership, self-discipline, endurance, physical courage and mental robustness. However, supervisors have a responsibility to ensure that any adventurous activity is still properly risk assessed, supervised, uses properly maintained equipment and participants have the appropriate personal protective equipment and are fit to take part.
We have experience in dealing with; white water rafting accidents, climbing accidents, powerboat accidents, skiing accidents, canoeing accidents, parachute accidents and competition incidents.
Bullying, harassment and abuse
MOD policy states that all service personnel have the right to be treated with dignity and respect; the chain of command must be vigilant and proactive in preventing bullying, harassment and abuse, and service personnel must not be exposed to degrading treatment.
We have experience in dealing with abuse claims arising from initiation rituals, beasting injuries, bullying, service complaints and claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, and can bring this experience to bear when helping you.
For more information on military abuse claims, visit our dedicated page.
Military brain injuries
If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a military accident caused by negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Visit our military brain injuries page for more information.
If you have undergone an amputation while serving in the armed forces, JMW Solicitors can help you to claim compensation. For more information on military amputation claims, visit our dedicated page.
Friendly fire/injuries on operations
When on operations, although you will be at significant personal risk, as with training exercises, you should still be provided with equipment that is adequately procured and maintained, as well as the relevant personal protective equipment. You should also have been properly assessed prior to battle and received appropriate medical certification. If you have been injured by either friendly fire or on operations, and you haven’t been subject to the relevant preparation, a claim can be made.
Our team has extensive experience in dealing with noise-induced hearing loss. Armed forces personnel are subject to some of the noisiest working conditions; however, commanders should still provide personnel with the relevant personal protective equipment to ensure that unnecessary hearing loss isn’t suffered.
Climactic injuries are largely preventable, but just as with non-freezing cold injuries, guidance provided under JSP 539 is often ignored or Commanders not familiarised with it. Climactic injuries can be serious career-threatening injuries; however, if treated early enough, they can be healed and the damage need not be irreversible.
Medical discharge and downgrading
If a member of the armed forces requires either a downgrade or medical discharge as a result of their service, a claim can be made if there is a failure to downgrade appropriately. It is the responsibility of the MOD to ensure that armed forces personnel are serving at a level appropriate to their skills, experience and capabilities. If, for example, a sick chit is ignored or you have not been downgraded and are injured as a result, you can make a claim.
If you have suffered as the result of criminal injury or abuse, you have the right to make a claim. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is the government agency responsible for handling claims on behalf of people who have been physically or mentally injured as the result of being a victim of a violent crime. This ability to bring a criminal injuries claim extends to armed forces personnel, if they have sustained injury as a result of a violent crime.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Overseas (CICO) scheme, specifically introduced to compensate victims of violent crimes who are posted abroad, ensures compensation is received in the same way as those who have suffered injury as the result of a crime of violence in this country.
When being asked to control an aircraft, you are placed in an extremely stressful situation. You should receive expert training from experienced Commanders prior to being allowed to take control of an aircraft, however even the best trained flight personnel may sustain injury. We have experience of dealing with injuries that have come about as the result of low flying, mechanical fault or loss of situational awareness.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused by exposure to alarming, frightening or distressing events. Although service personnel are trained and medically assessed for exposure to situations that are likely to cause stress, PTSD can occur following exposure to those situations, particularly during combat.
PTSD can have both physical and mental symptoms, which may not occur immediately after exposure to stressful situations, but may take many years to manifest. You can make a claim following a diagnosis of PTSD, and it is also possible to make a claim if you have not been properly diagnosed or treated but have exhibited clear symptoms of PTSD historically, that were not addressed.
The Claims Process
Making a claim for your injury doesn’t mean you will only receive compensation for the injury itself. When we are dealing with your claim, we will take into account all the parts of your life that have been affected as a result of your injury and seek compensation for them.
As well as your injuries, you are entitled to be compensated if you have had to be medically discharged, lost basic pay and specialist pay, lost a promotion, lost the ability to further your career in the armed forces and lost any of your pension. We can also help you make sure you receive your LSA benefit, as well as LOA and LSB benefits.
We will also make sure that you are compensated for any loss of accommodation and bills that were covered by the armed forces and benefits you have received whilst in the armed forces, such as a gym membership, dental cover and cover for medical prescriptions.
If your human rights have been affected by your injury, there is the possibility that we will be able to make a claim on your behalf under the Human Rights Act. Our experts will be able to advise you about this.
Ultimately, a personal injury claim is designed to make sure that you are in the same financial position you would have been, were it not for the accident. So if there is something in your life that has been affected as a result of your injury and you are out of pocket, you will be able to make a claim for it.
There are two processes involved in making an armed forces claim, click on the relevant button below to find out more:
What is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)?
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) provides compensation for any injury, illness or death caused by service on or after April 6th 2005. All serving and former members of the armed forces, including reservists, can claim under AFCS for injuries sustained during combat, training exercises and sports. You are entitled to two sets of financial award under AFCS:
Lump sum - AFCS offers a tax free lump sum for your injuries. If you suffer multiple injuries from the same incident, compensation is awarded for each injury, up to a maximum of £650,000.
Guaranteed Income Payments - If you have suffered a serious injury, you may be awarded a Guaranteed Income Payment. This is an additional monthly, tax free, index-linked payment. This will be paid after discharge from the armed forces.
At Armed Forces Claims, we can assist you with navigating the paperwork and technicalities involved in making a claim under the scheme, as well as provide you with advice on a Veterans UK offer and information on reconsideration.
Can I Make an AFCS Claim and a Personal Injury Claim?
In short, yes you can. At Armed Forces Claims, we can help you to make a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and a personal injury claim, if the incident you’ve been involved in wasn’t your fault and your injury has come about as a result of that incident. When making a claim under AFCS, you generally have 7 years after your injury to make a claim (although claims for an illness you’ve sustained as a result of your service can be made up to three years after seeking medical advice.
Making a claim under both the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and a personal injury claim can be complex. That’s why our expert team is here; we will deal with the issues on your behalf and give you practical support and advice so that you can focus on getting better and putting your life back together after an injury. If you have any doubt about whether you’re eligible for a claim under either scheme, our experts can give you no obligation advice.
Why Should I Make a Personal Injury Claim?
There is no maximum compensation limit to a negligence claim and negligence claims tend to result in much higher awards of compensation than under the AFCS. A personal injury claim takes into account past and future earnings, including promotions you would have received, loss of housing benefits, loss of pension and the costs of any future medical treatment, care and support, aids and equipment and accommodation.
How Long Do I Have to Make A Claim?
To make a personal injury claim as the result of an accident in the armed forces, you must start your claim within 3 years of the injury occurring. If you sustained an illness as the result of your time in the armed forces, you will have three years from when you first realised your symptoms were related to service.
However, we would advise that you start your claim as soon as you’re able to after your injury. The sooner a claim is made, the sooner it allows experts such as ourselves to secure evidence and talk to witnesses who can provide an account from memories that are fresh in their minds, rather than memories that are fading.
Can I Make a Claim Whilst I am Still Serving?
In short, yes you can. Making a claim against the MoD while still serving can be a daunting prospect, so it helps to have the experts on your side. But rest assured - there are strict rules preventing discrimination against service personnel who make compensation claims. In addition, any settlement will come out of a separate budget, and so it won’t affect your unit.