Military injury claims: what you should know

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Serving military personnel (Army, Navy, RAF, Special Forces and Reservists) can make military injury claims if they believe they have been harmed due to negligence.

If you have suffered a military injury during training or active service, you can make a civil claim for damages against the Ministry of Defence.  However, it is important to seek expert legal advice from a personal injury solicitor specialising in military injury claims.

Here Rebecca Brisley from our Plymouth office, who has extensive experience helping armed forces personnel claim compensation, explains more.

What is a military injury claim?

Military life can be extremely dangerous, and injuries inevitably happen. There is a wide range of injuries armed forces personnel can suffer due to the varied nature of the work undertaken, often in extreme or difficult circumstances.

A military injury claim is a legal process in which a member or former member of the armed forces makes a claim for compensation against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after suffering an injury during his or her service.

What is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) allows injured military personnel to claim compensation. It uses a tariff award system to provide set payments for injuries. This is separate from making a civil personal injury claim and there is no need to prove who was to blame for the injury.

How much does the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payout?

A claim can be made for either a physical or psychological injury and amounts range from £1,200 up to a maximum of £650,000 depending on the severity of the injury. Injuries fall into 15 categories and the level of award that you receive depends on which of the 15 categories that you fall into. You can view the categories here.

Is there a time limit for Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims?

Yes, there is a seven-year time limit for making a claim through the AFCS. This means any claims under the scheme must be made within seven years of the date of any injury, or within seven years of the date of diagnosis of a psychological injury, such as PTSD.

Can I make a civil military injury claim if I am claiming under the AFCS?

Yes, making an AFCS claim does not mean you cannot also make a civil claim for personal injury loss and damage if your injury is a result of negligence or wrongdoing. The MoD owes you the same duty of care to its employees as any other employee in this country.

However, you will have to give credit for any amounts paid by the AFCS when calculating any compensation due to your civil claim. That said, the advantage of making a civil claim is that any loss of earnings, reduction in pension, lost allowances, and a whole range of other lost benefits will be considered when calculating the value of your claim.

What are the time limits for making a civil claim?

Generally, there is a strict three-year time limit for making a civil claim. This means that any civil claim must be made within three years of the date of your injury. This time limit is reduced to two years for claims involving accidents while onboard a seagoing vessel.

If your claim involves a psychological injury, it can often be more difficult to pinpoint the correct date when the time limit will apply. The time limit may start from the date of diagnosis, but to be certain, you should always consult a specialist military injury solicitor.

Can I make a claim for injuries in combat?

You may think you cannot make a claim for your injury because combat immunity applies when you are injured on the battlefield. This is generally correct, but you should consult a specialist military injury solicitor for appropriate advice as it may still be possible to make a compensation claim.

Will making a military injury claim affect my pension?

No, bringing a claim against the MoD will not harm your pension entitlement; nor will it affect any promotion prospects. If you have any concerns about these issues, your specialist military injury solicitor will be able to advise you and provide reassurance.

If you are a serving member of the armed forces and have suffered a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, Novum Law’s specialist team can help. Whether you need advice on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the civil claim process, we have the expertise and experience to give you expert legal advice and representation.

Call Novum Law today on 0800 884 0777, email or fill out our enquiry form to request a callback.

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