Q: Can I make a civil claim against the MoD if I have received an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) award?
A: Yes. You cannot have the money twice but many serious injury cases and fatal cases get more at Court so you can keep the difference. For example a non-freezing cold injury claim usually gets £10,800 AFCS and we get an average of close to £80,000 in a successful civil claim.
Q: Can I make a civil claim against the MoD if I have received a PAX or other insurance payment for injury?
A: Yes, and you do not have to credit for the insurance payment in your claim.
Q: I was injured in combat, can I still make a claim?
A: Possibly. If combat immunity applies, the MoD will not have to pay. However if there is a breach of duty away from the battlefield, they may have to pay for some or all your claim. We are skilled at looking at the circumstances in detail and looking at questions of lack of equipment and training away from the battlefield.
Q: Will I get compensation for the loss of my service career if medically discharged due to my injuries?
A: Yes. If your claim is successful, your loss of career, promotion and perks will be accounted and claimed for. This also applies to your uninjured civil career. We still have to give credit for any earnings that you get or will get in your injured state.
Q: Does the MoD take every case to court?
A: No. Only around 5% of cases end up in Court. Costs rules mean it makes sense for parties to settle cases. The MoD often settle at Joint Settlement Meetings. We attend many of these every year and the vast majority result in settlement.
Q: Can I only make a claim for compensation once I have left the military?
A: Many service personnel believe that they cannot pursue a claim against the MoD until they have left the Armed Forces. This is not the case and can result in many injured members of the Armed Forces missing out on much needed compensation that could help fund future rehabilitation, an adapted home, mobility aids and put in place help and support for the future.
If you have sustained an injury and are thinking about making a claim for compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible, even if you are still a serving member of the Armed Forces. Time limits apply to claims for compensation and if you wait until you leave the military it may be too late to make a claim.
Q: Can I transfer my case from my existing lawyer to Irwin Mitchell?
A: Yes you can – but there may be cost implications if you do. It is worth checking the terms of any funding agreement you may have with your current solicitors, as some will require their base fees and any disbursements to be paid before they release your file to new solicitors. Others will be happy for you to transfer in exchange for an agreement that their fees for work done to date are paid at the end of the case.
Conditional Fee Agreements or “No Win No Fee Agreements” changed in April 2013. Switching from an old style CFA to a new one could mean you end up paying part of the costs yourself. You should also consider the terms of any insurance you took out with your current solicitors. It will often be possible to simply transfer the policy or even cancel it and get a new one, but this will vary depending on who the insurer is and you should check the small print.
Any cost implications must be balanced against the benefit of instructing specialist solicitors who understand your claim and could recover more damages than someone who is unfamiliar with the financial implications of a lost service career.
Q: What happens after my claim is finished?
A: We believe that we should be there to provide support and offer advice to our clients and their families throughout their life time. If we successfully recover compensation for you, we can provide help and advice on a number of other issues including writing a Will, buying or selling a home, setting up a personal injury trust to ensure you are entitled to continue claiming certain welfare benefits and also make a recommendation so that you get the right financial advice.
The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.
All Scottish cases will be handled by the Scottish law firm with which we are associated, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. The law relating to funding is different in Scotland and you will receive separate advice about what that means as well as a separate funding agreement.