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Claims for injured military personnel

Claims for injured military personnel – article Trethowans

Those serving in the armed forces, including the reserve forces, have several options open to them if they wish to claim compensation for serious injury or illness.

The first port of call is often the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (‘AFCS’). An application can be made to this scheme providing the injuries were caused during service related activities (for example, on a training exercise). There is no requirement to prove that the injuries arose from any negligence, however awards can often by less than generous.

If the injuries were sustained through an assault or any incident that could be deemed to be an ‘act of violence’, there is an option to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (‘CICA’). This a government scheme which awards compensation for injuries based upon a tariff system. It also includes provisions for financial loss, although some losses such as loss of earnings are limited. In order to qualify for an award the injuries must have been reported, and must have occurred within the last 2 years.

The most comprehensive option is to bring a personal injury claim. This is a claim through the civil courts. The injured party has to prove that they sustained injury during the course of their service, and that the injuries were caused by negligence. There is a time limit of 3 years in which to begin a claim (start court proceedings) which runs from the date of injury, or from the date of knowledge of the injury. As well as compensation for both physical and psychological injuries, financial losses such as loss of earnings, the cost of medical treatment and the cost of future care can be recovered.

There are various circumstances in which military personnel can bring a personal injury claim for damages. These include:

  • Training accidents, causes by unsafe working practices;
  • Injuries caused by unsafe or defective military equipment, or from the lack of personal protective equipment;
  • Noise induced hearing loss (deafness);
  • Non-freezing cold injury (NFCI), typically sustained from exposure;
  • Fatal accidents, if they were negligently caused;
  • Road traffic accidents during manoeuvres;
  • Clinical negligence, providing the injuries were caused by negligent care or treatment.

Why Choose Trethowans?

Trethowans specialise in acting on behalf of injured military personnel, and members of their family, in personal injury and clinical negligence claims. We are also able to provide advice and representation at court martials and inquests. Call us on 0800 2800 421 or contact us here if you’d like to find out more about making a claim for an injury caused whilst serving in the forces.

Fran Gillett, Senior Associate in the personal injury team, comments: “It is important that anyone who has sustained injury from serving in the forces seeks specialist legal advice as soon as possible. Taking action promptly is crucial as there are legal limitations as to how long you have to bring a claim. In my experience, a great deal of injured personnel do not seek legal advice until it is too late, usually because they are still serving and have not been advised of the relevant time limits. Unfortunately, they are then prevented from bringing what may otherwise have been a very valid claim. At Trethowans we offer free initial advice as to the various options available, and the relevant time limits, providing we are contacted soon after injury has occurred”.

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