Military and territorial army injuries claims

Anyone who is part of the armed forces –whether army, air force or navy, understands the risks involved. These apply to regulars as well as reservists.

If you are a member of the Territorial Army (TA) then you will often find yourself in areas of conflict which are as equally as dangerous for you as well as your full time comrades.

All serving personnel are aware of the high risk of injury or death whilst serving in a theatre of war such as Iraq or Afghanistan. They were fully aware of this when they signed up and know that they have to take a degree of responsibility for their actions.

However the armed forces have a responsibility to its soldiers to ensure that they are protected as much as is possible and to look after their interests whilst engaged on active duty.

This includes ensuring that soldiers receive full training and equipment which is fit for purpose.

But if this fails or is not adhered to then lives can be compromised or lost.

Types of military related accidents

There are a range of situations in which soldiers can be injured due to a lack of care or negligence. These include:

  • Parachute training
  • Physical training/assault courses
  • Road traffic accident
  • Weapons training
  • Specialist exercises
  • Mountaineering
  • Flying
  • Transport
  • Explosives

Ii also includes malfunctioning weapons and injuries sustained during adventure training.

This results in a wide range of injuries or illnesses as a result. These include head and spinal injuries; injuries sustained due to a criminal assault; injuries sustained whilst working as a bodyguard; and medical negligence.

Many of these examples are experienced by civilians such as criminal assault, medical negligence and head/spinal injuries. The effects of these on a soldier are no less serious than those for a civilian.

Impact of a military injury

Many members of the armed forces worry about their careers and their health if the worst happens. They worry about what will happen to their families if they are injured or killed and how they will manage.

If this happens then the effects can be devastating for their partner and the rest of their family. The families of serving soldiers are aware of the risks and understand that there is always a chance that their son/daughter/parent or relative will be injured or killed whilst on active duty.

Knowing this does make it any easier for the families who then have to try and cope with their altered lives. They may have to cope with a severely disabled partner who is unable to remain in the armed forces. He or she will require specialist care and support as well as ongoing rehabilitation. Counselling will also be required.

If the injured serviceman/woman has to leave the armed forces then they and their family may have to move to new accommodation. Their income will have been reduced which then causes financial difficulties and this adds to the stress.

This is where compensation can help.

If you are a serving soldier who has become injured as a result of an accident then you may be able to claim compensation. This applies to both the TA and the Armed Forces.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

If you have become injured whilst serving in the armed forces then you may be able to obtain compensation through this scheme.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a specialist scheme which provides compensation for any member of the Armed Forces; which applies to both regulars and reservists.

Compensation is paid for injuries sustained whilst on active service during or after 6 April 2005. This includes illness, injury or death irrespective of the circumstances.

The scheme has been expanded to include serving personnel. It uses a ‘tariff scale’ in which payments are based upon the extent of the injury. Level 1 is the most severe and level 15 is the least severe.

(Source: Veterans UK)

(For more information visit the Veterans UK website on www.veterans-uk.info/)

If your injury was not your fault then you may be able to make a civil claim along with a claim via the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Making a claim for compensation for a military injury

This is a specialist area so you will need to engage the services of a personal injury law firm or solicitor who has experience and knowledge of the military. He or she will understand about Service culture and be used to dealing with related organisations such as the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

They will be able to advise you about applying for help through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and any other similar bodies. Plus they may work with organisations that are dedicated to providing welfare and support to injured personnel.

Examples of these include Combat Stress, Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA).

A lawyer or solicitor will assess the circumstances surrounding your claim before discussing the process with you. He or she can advise about any additional support or help.

The civil claims process is discussed in more detail in our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for a military injury

Civil claims for personal injury compensation have strict time limits.

Most claims have a 3 year time limit from the date of the accident or illness but it is a good idea to confirm this with your lawyer or solicitor. This time limit can vary in certain types of claims.

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