A former Marine has accepted a substantial out-of-court settlement after he was medically discharged from the Armed Forces on account of his hearing injury. Jordan Roberts was represented by Irwin Mitchell and agreed the six-figure award after the MoD admitted breaching its duty of care.
In September 2010, at the age of 21, Jordan Roberts was on a training exercise with the rest of his company. Part way through that exercise, Marine Roberts was provided with a radio earpiece in place of the hearing protection he normally wore. That earpiece offered no protection to the noise he then came to be exposed to from his own SA80 rifle, or from the mortars and grenades used over the remainder of the day.
As a result, he suffered an immediate loss of hearing and a ringing in his ears which has never gone away. Twelve months after the incident following a medical review, he was deemed unfit for military service on account of his hearing and was medically discharged.
The MoD has agreed to settle the claim for £150,000. The settlement dwarfs the compensation award previously paid to Mr Roberts under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme 2005 in the sum of £6,000. It includes a modest sum to reflect the fact that Mr Roberts will never regain his hearing, together with a substantial sum to reflect the loss of the military career he had always wanted.
Mr Roberts is now working with a local employer, but he still looks back upon his Armed Forces career with fondness: “All I ever wanted to do was to serve in the Marines. It was the only plan I ever had. If it wasn’t for the hearing loss, I have no doubt I would still be serving today. I would gladly give up the settlement if I could have my hearing back and re-join the Marines.”
David Johnston-Keay is the solicitor who represented Mr Roberts in his case. He said: “Sadly, Mr Roberts is not the only serviceman or woman to have their military career cut short following a failure to provide proper hearing protection.”
“The award should go some way in helping Mr Roberts put his life back on track, but it will never give him his hearing back. Injuries like this are entirely preventable. The award is significant, but fairly compensates Mr Roberts for the loss of the promising and satisfying career he had always wanted.”