Injuries as a Result of Service

Injuries as a Result of Service

We often receive enquiries from Armed Forces personnel regarding injuries sustained in service. The enquiry starts “my war pension isn’t enough”, “AFCS appeal failed”, “AFCS didn’t consider the fact I can no longer work”.

The MOD has its own schemes which may provide compensation regardless of fault where illness, injury or death has arisen as a result of service.

In addition to the MOD schemes, injured personnel may also pursue a claim for compensation through the courts. This is often not explained to injured personnel when they are serving.

Civil Personal Injury Claim

This is a claim for damages pursued through the courts, although in most cases it is not necessary to attend Court.

A claim through the Courts must be made within 3 years of your injury.

To be successful, it is necessary to show that someone was at fault. A lawyer will advise whether there is enough evidence to prove this. Any claim will be against the MOD and not the individuals who may have been involved in your accident.

Compensation is often higher than through War Pension or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. This is because the Court will take account of individual circumstances and not simply apply a tariff. There may also be financial losses that cannot be recovered under WP or AFCS but can in a claim for damages such as future loss of earnings.

The MOD have a shield from liability known as combat immunity. This means that decisions made in the heat of battle or under fire are protected from liability for negligence. However, this does not include decisions made higher up the chain in respect of procurement or training. If you’re in any doubt whether the cause of your injury falls under combat immunity seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions

“I’m told that I’m better off claiming AFCS as this is likely to be awarded quicker than a civil claim”. False – if successful under the AFCS scheme, any award is likely to be paid quicker than a civil claim. A civil claim can take many years. However, you can claim compensation under both so there is no need to choose one over the other.

“I have recently been successful claiming a War Pension for my injury sustained in 2003, can I now make a civil claim?” No – a civil claim for compensation must be submitted within 3 years of the injury. War Pension claims have no time limits.

  • “I sustained an injury in 2013, was discharged and unsuccessful with claiming AFCS and my appeal failed; can I now sue the MOD?” No – civil claims must be made to the courts within 3 years of the injury. Civil claim can be made alongside AFCS claims and personnel should not wait to receive the outcome of an AFCS claim before taking legal advice.
  • “I wasn’t told until recently that I could make a civil claim, can I do that now?” Only if your injury was within the last 3 years.
  • “If I’m successful with a civil claim, do I need to tell anyone that I had a lump sum gratuity under AFCS?” Yes – your lawyer will need to give credit for the lump sum payment when considering your civil claim. You cannot be compensated twice but any award made by the Courts is likely to be significantly higher than an award under AFCS.
  • “My boss said I was off-duty when I injured my back, but he told me it was safe to jump and was with me; can I make a civil claim?” If the MOD has breached its duty of care, you may be able to make a successful claim.
  • “someone hit my car and as a result of my injuries I’m being medically discharged; do I have a claim?” If the other driver was negligent, it may be possible to pursue a civil claim against the driver.

Wolferstans Solicitors have experience in injury claims against the MOD, are members of Forces Law and attend APIL Military conferences on an annual basis.

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