Can serving members of the UK Military claim compensation against the MoD for an accident? That’s a question that we commonly get asked.
The answer – the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has the same responsibilities as any other employer towards the people working for it. The MoD has to make sure that an employee’s working conditions are as safe as possible, give the appropriate training and provide them with equipment which is properly maintained.
If you are serving in the UK Armed Forces and suffer an injury that was the fault of your employer, the Ministry of Defene (i.e. there has been some sort of negligence or breach of duty of care), you could be eligible for compensation. Serving members of the UK military have the same rights to make compensation claims as any other employee, and claims can be made irrespective of whether the person was on or off duty at the time of the injury.
Our personal injury and accident solicitors have years of experience in Military Personal Injury Claims on behalf of servicemen who have suffered a Military Accident and can help you with your Military Accident Compensation Claim- whether it be an Army, Navy, RAF and MOD claim.
We always offer FREE initial phone advice, and a FREE initial first interview for all personal injury claims. Call us now on Freephone 0800 1404544.
Do I Have To Leave the Military before Claiming?
You do not have to leave the Armed Forces before making a compensation claim – if you suffer illness or injury caused by negligence whilst working for them, you can claim against the MoD whether you are currently serving or not. there is plenty of evidence that many injured service personnel are informed that they cannot bring a compensation claim against the MoD until they leave the military. Unfortunately, in following that totally incorrect advice, there is a very good chance that they will miss out on the right to compensation – because the three-year window following the accident or injury in which they need to bring their claim has run out.
If you do claim against the MoD whilst still serving, we understand that this will not affect your military career. Our lawyers can also help any civilians injured or made ill by the MoD with a compensation claim.
Military Accident Compensation – local and national coverage
With offices in Salisbury, Amesbury, Andover and Fordingbridge, our solicitors handle claims for Military Accident Compensation not only locally in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somerset, Berkshire, and Dorset but also throughout England and Wales – dealing with all types of accident and injury claims on ‘no win no fee schemes’. We also regularly represent retired HM Forces veterans.
At Bonallack and Bishop we understand how daunting it can be to make an Army in a claim against the Ministry of Defence, but due to our location (in 3 towns surrounding Salisbury Plain) we have extensive experience of military compensation claims and Army injury claims in particular.
Wherever you are based, we can communicate with you by telephone, e-mail and Skype video and FaceTime.
What can I claim compensation for?
If you suffered a Military Accident in the last three years that was not your fault, you may be entitled to an injury compensation claim, taking into account all circumstances including:
- Your injury or illness
- Loss of earnings or your military career. This can include loss of benefits including pension, accommodation and various allowances and perks. Compensation can also cover, where appropriate, losses from a potential second career after leaving the military.
- Damage to property
For a free no win, no fee, free assessment with a specialist Military Accident Claim Solicitor call us today on Freephone 0800 1404544.
Should I make a claim?
Whilst some service personnel suffer catastrophic and traumatic injuries, others fail to make a claim for accident compensation because they feel their injuries were only minor, or wish to avoid the stress of a claim. No matter how serious or minor the injury, if you were not responsible and have been genuinely disadvantaged, you deserve accident compensation.
And if you suffered an injury in training, for example, you’re not alone. 17,400 troops have been injured in military training accidents between 2014 and 2019.
What type of injury can I claim compensation for?
Our expert military accident claim lawyers can help you with all military Accident Compensation Claims including:
- Military Accidents at work
- Disease and illness contracted at work
- Injuries on training exercises
- Faulty weapons and kit
- Inadequate training
- Helicopter/aviation accidents
- Accidents on manoeuvres
- Civilian road traffic accidents
- Hearing loss
- Medical negligence. Click here to read more about making a military medical negligence claim
- Sporting injuries
Can I claim for PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in particular, is a common health condition often associated with working in the Armed Forces. This disorder can lead to soldiers experiencing a variety of symptoms including nightmares, severe guilt when surviving and others die, panic attacks and long-term and severe depression. This condition can sometimes give rise to a successful compensation claim.
Trust Our Accredited Claims Specialists
Choosing a specialist Accident Claim Solicitor with plenty of experience in Military Claims is very important. Investigating an Armed Forces Compensation Claim is often difficult and having an experienced solicitor can prove critical. The knowledge of our Accident Compensation Claim Solicitors enables us to instruct the right experts and get you the injury compensation you deserve – whether or not you are medically discharged as a result of your injury.
We are members of Forces Law – the leading nationwide group of just 13 specialist military law firms.
Time limits for Military Accident Claims
Military Accident Compensation Claims must be made within three years of the date of any accident or injury. This is important as sometimes service personnel are informed they cannot make an Injury Compensation Claim until they actually leave the Armed Forces – resulting in loss of valuable time.that’s important, because if you don’t start your conversation claim within that three year period, you could lose your right to claim the compensation you deserve entirely.
However, if the injured person is unable, due to mental incapacity, to manage their own affairs, the three-year limitation may not apply.
Quite apart from the chance of losing your right to claim if you don’t act quickly, our team strongly recommend you get expert legal advice as soon as possible after any accident, while the incident and any subsequent information about your medical treatment of injuries is fresh in your mind . Our solicitors also recommend that you keep notes about the circumstances of your injury as soon as possible after the accident and make a diary of events.
How our Military Accident solicitors can help
- FREE phone advice. Call FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 now
- A FREE initial consultation
- No win no win no fee representation – so you don’t have to worry about your legal bill
- Our lawyers will investigate and collect evidence to build your claim
- We will keep you up-to-date with developments throughout the case
- We will negotiate the best possible compensation package for you
Career Prospects after Injury
Being injured during service in the Army can have a bigger detrimental effect on career progression than in it can in other occupations. For example, someone who has been injured may be given limited duties, retired early while losing some pension rights, or downgraded in various other ways. The physical consequences of the injury are just one of the effects which someone serving in the Army has to come to terms with.
Our experienced team of Army injury solicitors have spent many years dealing with this sort of compensation claims. They know all of the peculiarities of Army bureaucracy, understand the culture and practices of the Armed Forces and know about the Army family lifestyle.
We can quickly find the records needed to provide evidence for a claim, and get answers from the MoD, which can often be slow to respond. Records needed might include relevant regulations, orders, the claimant’s personnel file, reports from the unit or board of enquiry and any accident investigation reports
Military Accident Claim Funding
Our Accident Claim Solicitors operate various funding schemes for accident compensation claims :
- We are approved by most Legal Expenses Insurers who will pay your legal costs
- Our military accident Solicitors offer ‘no win no fee schemes’. Click here to read more about how no win no fee could help you
- You get to keep your compensation. Our fees are paid by the Defendants when you win
- We offer a free initial interview to discover if you have a Military Accident Compensation Claim, and if the level of likely compensation – without having to pay a lawyer
Who should I claim against?
Your claim may be against the MoD or a third party, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
Home and hospital visits available
Hospital/home visits are available for seriously injured clients.
Common causes of work accidents in the military
Work in the Armed Forces can, to the uninformed outsider, appear far more hazardous than almost any job they might care to consider outside of the military. The tendency is to believe that members of the armed forces spend much of their time handling weapons, munitions and explosives, parachuting out of aircraft, riding over rough terrain in huge, heavy armoured vehicles and generally risking life and limb twenty four seven.
In actual fact, with the exception of combat, military personnel are as safe at work as most people and a good deal safer than many. That is because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) or any sub-contractor employing people in the military are under the same legal duty as any other employer to ensure that workplaces are safe and to ensure as far as is reasonably practicably the health and safety of their employees.
Only in very rare and exceptional cases will the Secretary of State for Defence exempt the MoD from having to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 on grounds of ‘national security’ or due to what is called the ‘combat exemption’; where personal injury claims cannot be brought in instances where the injury was sustained when the victim was in a combat zone and exposed to enemy action.
Consequently the causes of most of the work accidents in the military tend to be the same as the causes of similar accidents in other work sectors. Accidents involving slips and trips and manual and other handling statistically predominate, followed by being hit by an object and falls from height. This suggests that, as is still frequently found in ‘civvy street’, there can be instances in the military of poor health and safety practice around keeping the workplace clean and tidy to prevent slips and trips and providing sufficient or adequate manual handling training and reinforcing that training in a timely manner.
Less frequent instances of failures to keep military personnel safe at work manifest as injuries sustained as the result of inadequate clothing in cold and wet weather, friendly fire, sports accidents, military medical negligence, training accidents, road traffic accidents and psychological trauma/combat stress. Most of the accidents are avoidable, a considerable proportion are not the fault of the victim and just because that victim is a serving member of the military does not in any way mean that they should not claim compensation for their injuries.
How common are injuries in the military workplace?
Between 2005 and 2013, a remarkable 36,000 military personnel have won compensation claims and a further 11,000 have lost them according to government statistics. perhaps this surprising givenall the potential dangers that members of the armed forces encounter in the course of their normal work – for instance in handling firearms and munitions, explosives, specialist vehicles, fast-roping, undertaking demanding physical training and playing sports.
Nearly half of all successful claims made in that period were made by service personnel who had sustained injuries either in training or in battle. Overall, these claims generated £341 million in compensation payouts. Some individuals with the most severe injuries received up to £570,000 with smaller payouts being paid to those with less severe injuries.
A major cause of these high figures was the MoD’s introduction of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme in 2005. This scheme looks to compensate injured forces members following injuries but paid out very small sums which were far lower than the damages awarded by civilian courts. Nevertheless, the scheme was a massive improvement on the War Pension Scheme which preceded it. With the MoD advertising for many new recruits the number claiming under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme quickly went up from 165 in 2005 to over 8,000 over the next 7 years.
Common Reasons for Military Accident Compensation
In 2010-11 the military reported the following accidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):
• 1 fatality (due to a fall from height).
• 83 major injuries (the vast majority caused by slips and trips and rest as a result of manual and other handling, being hit by an object, falls, vehicles, animals and harmful substances).
• 181 over 3 day injuries, a third of which were caused by slips and trips and the remainder, in slightly different proportions, caused by the same factors as for major injuries.
Of course one accident is an accident too many but the gradually declining numbers of accidents in all reportable categories indicate that the Ministry of Defence is continuing to improve its expertise in risk management.
The statistics reported above only include injuries serious enough to require reporting to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 and do not provide any indication of how many injuries in total are suffered by people working in the military which do not fall into that category.
Fortunately, for the purposes of this article, a 2011 study for the US National Institute of Health (NIH) provides a snapshot of what could be considered a representative example of injury rates and risk factors for 660 British infantry soldiers sampled undergoing standard pre-deployment training. Additionally, data compiled by the Defence Analytical Services & Advice organisation (which has since closed) indicates a markedly higher number of fatalities (non combat) and major injuries than appear in the HSE figures.
The NIH study found that in the course of the training 58.5% of the soldiers suffered one or more injuries. 71% of those injuries were to the lower body, including 14% to the lower back, 19% to the knees and 15% to ankles. 83% of the total injuries were blunt trauma injuries. The injuries were sustained thus:
30% physical training
26% general training/work
22% playing sports
22% other causes
95% of the sample stated that they had previously suffered lower body and specifically lower back injuries during their period of service.
These statistics, if we choose to consider them as a representative sample of the injuries and risks experienced by the military as a whole, suggest that HSE reported injuries might represent just the tip of an enormous unreported and uncompensated injury iceberg.
Compensation claims for military-related illness and disease
Much more military personnel are rendered unfit for duty due to disease and illness than from actual injuries sustained in combat.
Most personnel are infected or fall ill with location-specific diseases on operational duty in remote areas of the world under exhausting and stressful conditions – factors that can combine to drastically compromise their immune systems.
The Ministry of Defence which employs the vast majority of people working in the military is not exempt (except in certain circumstances) from an employer’s legal duties to provide a safe workplace and ensure as far as it reasonably practicably their employees’ health and safety and welfare.
To protect the health of military personnel the MoD has to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the prevention and treatment of diseases and illnesses suffered through military service.
Common causes of illness and disease in the Armed Forces
Apart from the risk of illness associated with contact with asbestos, harmful substances and extreme weather conditions, contagious diseases, if not prevented, can be contracted via insects (malaria), animals (anthrax, rabies, Q Fever), water, soil and food (bacteria and parasites) and of course, other people (tuberculosis, influenza, sexually transmitted diseases). Some of the resulting diseases such as malaria, Brucellosis, Coxiella Durnetii, Shegella, Visceral Leishmaniasis and West Nile virus can be exceptionally debilitating and sometimes fatal.
No member of the military needs to contract these awful conditions. They should be preventable and any serviceman or woman who do contracts such a disease has every right to feel aggrieved that their employer allowed it to happen and could well be entitled to claim compensation.
Mental illness in the military
This applies just as much to mental illness, if not more so, bearing in mind that serving in the military can be particularly dangerous and stressful. The currently identified overprescribing of psychotropic drugs to military personnel might, as this class of drugs often cause as many problems as they solve, not be viewed as a wholly satisfactory discharge of an employer’s duty of care.