Army Cadet Suffers Hearing Loss Of 80 Year Old After Injury In Training Exercise

Workplace Injury Lawyers Secure Settlement As She is Forced to Quit Armed Forces

20.07.2012


A former Cadet forced to give up a Sandhurst scholarship and her dreams of an army career is now looking to move on with her life as she receives a five-figure settlement from the MoD after suffering from severe hearing damage during a firing drill in Norway.

Workplace injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell secured a settlement of £27,500 from the MoD on behalf of former Army Officer Cadet Storm Rae, from Woodbridge, Suffolk, as she now suffers with hearing loss comparable to that of a typical 80-year-old.  She also suffers with permanent and constant tinnitus.

Miss Rae was just 19 when part way through a training exercise in 2008 she says she was told to remove her ear protectors by her commanding officers. Instead she was given a single ear plug and a headset radio which offered very little protection to the noise from gunfire going on around her. 

Although the MoD never formally admitted they were at fault, Irwin Mitchell agreed an out-of-court settlement with them on Miss Rae’s behalf reflecting the impact this injury has had on both her life and future career.

Lawyers representing her said that while the settlement will never replace her hearing, it is hoped that the funds will assist Miss Rae to move on with her life away from the armed forces as she is now in London training to work in the financial services industry.

David Johnston-Keay, a solicitor and industrial illness expert at Irwin Mitchell, warns that this is not an isolated case as specialist lawyers at the firm have represented a number of armed forces personnel after they suffered injuries in training exercises due to inadequate protection from senior staff.

Johnston-Keay said: “Regrettably, Miss Rae is not the only person to have come to us with significant and preventable hearing damage as a result of exposure to gunfire. 

“The MoD has been providing hearing protection for soldiers, sailors and airmen for many years and there are procedures in place to ensure staff are properly protected.  However sometimes those safeguards fail and it is not just the individual’s hearing that is affected as they can be downgraded on medical reasons, ruining their careers.

“While we are pleased to be able to help Miss Rae move on with her life, it is crucial that all employers realise that hearing protection is there for a reason.  The consequences can be permanent damage to hearing. At Irwin Mitchell we have repeatedly called for improvements to safety standards to prevent incidents such as this from occurring again.”

Miss Rae was a university student when she began training as an Officer Cadet.  She held a scholarship to Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy where all Officers in the British Army are trained to take on the responsibilities of leading soldiers.  Following the incident, Miss Rae’s scholarship was withdrawn as she no longer fulfilled the medical requirements for entry. 

Miss Rae, now 23, said: “When I got into Sandhurst I was delighted, it is the peak of army training and everyone dreams of going there. I was just completely devastated when I found out that I had suffered permanent damage and would no longer be able to go to the academy or even enter the army at all. We are always taught to respect our commanding officers and you put complete trust in them, especially on training exercises.

“My dream of an army career is now over because of the actions of the officers who did not protect me. While it is now too late for me, I only hope that the MoD will learn from this and make sure that others do not suffer as I have.”

If you've suffered Hearing Loss due to a Military Training Exercise you might be entitled to claim compensation. See our Military Claims page for more details.