Military Injury Claims

Military Air Accidents

Air travel is a central part of many military careers, and it's essential that proper safety measures are taken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to protect you while you're in the air.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a military air accident, then our solicitors could help you claim compensation.

Our lawyers have represented aircrew and passengers, in a variety of military air accident claims. We have an in-depth knowledge of claiming against the MoD, and a number of our lawyers are former members of the armed forces themselves.

Aviation claims can be complex, but our team are experts in inquests, analysing enquiries, reviewing aircraft defects, and establishing the causes of accidents. Some of the incidents we've helped service personnel claim compensation for include:

  • The landmark 1994 Chinook Mull of Kintyre crash
  • AAC Squirrel Helicopter hitting power lines (2008) 
  • Three Pumas down – including two in Iraq (2007)
  • Nimrod and Hawk crashes, including a landmark Nimrod crash caused by the MoD sacrificing safety to cut costs, which led to the Haddon-Cave military aviation safety review
  • Harrier Ejector Seat case
  • Sea Knight in Kuwait (2003)
  • AAC Lynx crashes

If you have any questions about claiming compensation following a military air accident, call us today on 0800 022 3321 for a free initial consultation about your case, or contact us online and we'll get back to you.

Acted in major air disasters including Piper Alpha, Lockerbie and Chinook Mull of Kintyre
Expert lawyers with a service background
Bringing claims against the MoD since 1987
No Win No Fee*

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Military Air Accidents - More Information
    • Can I Make A No Win No Fee* Claim?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case, we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI), this may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household or car insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

      If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee* agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. You'll only have to pay anything if your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement. 

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • What's The Claims Process?
    • To make a compensation claim for a military injury or illness, the first thing you need to do is get in touch with us for a free initial consultation. We'll discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident or illness, advise you on whether or not we think you can claim, and whether you could benefit from a No Win No Fee* arrangement. The claim will begin by sending a formal letter of claim to the Ministry of Defence. After this, the claim will usually follow the same four stages:

      1.Investigation. We'll begin by determining the extent of your injuries, and the losses they may result in. This will involve obtaining copies of your military medical notes, and any civilian hospitals you've received treatment at. We'll also need a copy of your Armed Forces Compensation Scheme file, and your personnel file.

      The MoD will undertake an investigation, which usually starts by contacting your unit to confirm details of your accident, and obtain any relevant paperwork. They may also speak to any of your colleagues who were present at the time of the accident, and can provide witness evidence.

      2.Rehabilitation. If you have any medical care or support needs, we'll help you to access the necessary treatment and advice.

      3.Compensation. We'll work out how much compensation you should get based on the severity of your injuries and your pain and suffering, any medical expenses you've had and your ability to get back to work. We'll put this amount to the MoD, and they can either accept liability or contest the claim.

      4.Resolution. If the MoD accepts blame, you'll be awarded compensation. If not, court proceedings will begin.

      We will try to settle your claim on the best terms, considering options in addition to bringing court proceedings. The MoD should also do the same, as they are obliged to as a branch of government.

      Starting proceedings doesn't mean that your claim will definitely go to trial. Instead, it means that the court take over the management of you case, setting strict timetables for the exchange of documents, witness evidence and expert reports. If you do have to go to court, we'll be there to support you every step of the way.

      If you have any questions about the claims process, please contact us today on 0800 022 3321 for your free initial consultation.

    • Will Claiming Impact My Career?
    • No. The MoD understands that they ask service personnel to do a difficult job in dangerous situations – and unfortunately accidents do happen. They recognise and respect the individual's right to bring a legal claim for injuries. Claiming won't affect your entitlement to a pension, either.

      The Ministry of Defence should not discriminate against personnel who bring compensation claims after an injury. If you're planning on continuing your service career after your claim, then there are very strict rules about discriminating against someone on this basis.

    • What's The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?
    • The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme that provides compensation for injury, illness and death caused by service on or after 6 April 2005.

      Unlike a legal claim, the AFCS does not require you to establish that anybody else was at fault. This means that you could be able to claim under the AFCS in circumstances where there is no legal claim.

      However, the AFCS is a tariff based system – it does not look at the way your injury will affect you as an individual, or what financial losses you will actually incur. For this reason legal claims made through the courts will almost always result in significantly more compensation than claims made through the AFCS.

      It's accepted that members of the armed forces have no choice where they're deployed, or in the activities they're required to undertake. This means that compensation could be paid from the scheme for injuries caused in a number of ways, including those that occur during:

      • Operations
      • Training
      • Service-approved sports
      • Exercise to maintain military fitness

      Both regular and reserve forces can apply for compensation through the AFCS, whether you're still serving or a veteran.

      Compensation is paid as a lump sum on a tariff-based system determined by the severity of your injuries, and can range from a minimum of £1,200 to a maximum award of £570,000. You could claim through the AFCS as well as claiming through the courts.

      You can find out more about the AFCS here, or alternatively you can contact our solicitors on 0800 022 3321 for a free consultation if you have any specific questions.

    • Meet The Experts
    • Our military injury team have been helping service men and women claim against the MoD since 1987. The team includes several former military personnel, and includes:

      • Geraldine McCool, who was described as the “Military Master” by The Lawyer. Geraldine is secretary of The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group and heads our specialist military injury team.
      • Paul Harrington, who completed an operational tour in Northern Ireland as a Bomb Disposal Operator. Paul brings his expertise as a former Ammunition Technical Officer and specialises in claims involving equipment, weapons, munitions and training accidents.
      • Simon Harrington, who has over 15 years of experience bringing claims against the MoD. Simon specialises in cold injury claims, having helped hundreds of service personnel to claim over £10 million in compensation for their injuries.
      • Andrew Buckham, who served in the Army for seven years before joining Irwin Mitchell. Andrew specialises in claims relating to serious and fatal injuries. He is also a trustee for the Defence Medical Welfare Service

      Meet our military injury team.

Getting the support from Irwin Mitchell with my adapted house has given me the encouragement and independence I needed to get out there and find other things I am interested in."

Ray Lowrie
Ray Lowrie

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Claim Compensation Following A Military Air Accident?

If you were injured in an air accident as a result of safety measures being overlooked, you could be able to claim compensation.

Normally you have three years to claim from the date of the accident. In fatal cases, the family of the deceased has three years to make a claim, starting from either the date your loved one died, or the date you received the post-mortem results.

Claims can be made regardless of whether you're still serving in the military, or have since left or been discharged from service (provided your claim is made within the relevant time limits).

In addition to making a civil claim for compensation following an accident, you may also be able to claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). If you have PAX insurance policy, you may be able to claim under that also. However, receiving payments from the AFCS or PAX Insurance doesn't prevent you from making a separate civil claim for compensation in the event of negligence.

Making a claim isn't affected by where an accident occurred – you could be able to claim whether you were in a training accident at home, or in a combat zone overseas. We've helped clients make military injury claims following accidents in the UK, as well as in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Canada, Germany and Kenya.

If you're unsure whether or not you'll be able to make a claim, call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation, or contact us online.

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What Are The Common Causes Of Military Air Accidents?

Although there is exceptional flying training in place in the armed forces, there are still risks involved with military aircraft operations by their very nature. When something goes wrong, the consequences can be tragic.

We've helped aircrew and passengers (or their loved ones) to claim compensation for accidents caused in a number of ways, including:

  • Training accidents
  • Pilot error
  • Failure to follow safety processes
  • Parachute failures
  • Faulty components within the aircraft – which may involve claiming against civilian contractors rather than the MoD

There is no individual cause that's most often responsible for air accidents, as any crash is usually the result of a long chain of events. Our in-house aviation law military specialists analyse all circumstances surrounding an accident to work out exactly what has happened.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a military air accident contact us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation to discuss your options.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell For A Military Air Accident Claim?

Making a compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence can be a daunting prospect – so it helps to have the experts on your side. We've been a leading firm in air accident claims since 1994, when we represented passengers in the Chinook Mull of Kintyre Crash in a landmark case. Some of the specific aviation cases we have handled since include:

  • AAC Squirrel Helicopter hitting power lines in the West Country, UK (2008)
  • Three Pumas down – two of which were in Iraq (2007)
  • Nimrod and Hawk crashes, including a landmark Nimrod crash caused by the MoD sacrificing safety to cut costs, which led to the Haddon-Cave military aviation safety review 
  • Harrier Ejector Seat case
  • Sea Knight in Kuwait (2003)
  • AAC Lynx engine off landing at Middle Wallop

Our legal team has grown to include a number of former military personnel, giving us a genuine insight into the issues you'll face when claiming against the MoD, as well as understanding the concerns that you may have when making a claim.

Our lawyers are experts in all aspects of military aviation claims, and can help you with the following parts of the process:

  • Analysing Boards of Inquiry and Service Inquiries
  • Representing clients with Regulation 18 interviews
  • Attending military inquests to represent families who have lost a loved one in an air accident
  • Examining the actions of handling pilots, and consider training, flight authorisation and crew resource management issues
  • Reviewing potential defects on the aircraft, such as component failures which involve defence contractors

If you have any questions about making a claim, and how we can help, don't hesitate to get in touch for a free initial consultation on your case. Call us today on 0800 056 4110.

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Awards and Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK

"They are forensic and analytical as well as campaigning and careful. All of the lawyers work tirelessly for the smaller cases as well as the bigger cases."
We're delighted to have been named Claimant Solicitor of the Year in the 2016 Post Magazine Rehabilitation First Awards, an award we've won on seven previous occasions.
"One of the best’ and ‘go-to firm’ Irwin Mitchell covers the full range of work, and specialises in complex, unique cases."

What Our Clients Say

We truly value and appreciate the feedback we receive from our clients, as we look to improve the services we offer on an ongoing basis.

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Royal British Legion

We're proud to be part of The Royal British Legion Solicitor's Group

Our Armed Forces Expertise

Since 1987, our specialist military injury team has helped hundreds of injured personnel from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy to claim compensation. We are considered one of the top law firms in the country for military claims and several cases we were involved in were recently featured in the Chilcot Inquiry.

We work closely with a number of Armed Forces welfare branches and organisations, and are the PAX appointed legal representatives under the PAX Personal Accident Insurance Scheme. We're also proud supporters of:

  • The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group
  • Help For Heroes
  • SSAFA Forces Help

Several of our solicitors were part of team that recently won The Claims Innovation Award for Legal Service Team of the Year (2016) for their pro bono work within The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group (TRBLSG).


Our Offices

Our offices are located in major cities throughout the UK and have excellent transport links.

Start Your Claim Today

To begin your claim for compensation, or ask any questions regarding personal injury claims, contact us today for a free consultation.

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