Military Injury Claims Guide

Combat Immunity & Duty Of Care

Like all employers, the Ministry of Defence has a duty of care for your health and safety while at work – even if that work involves high-risk situations.

This means that if you have suffered an injury on exercise, during training, or even during combat, then you may be able to claim compensation.

Our military injury lawyers have a track record of securing compensation for soldiers (including special forces) serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the MoD has attempted to defend a claim on the grounds of "Combat Immunity".

What Is "Combat Immunity"?

However, things are more complicated if you are injured as a result of combat. A soldier does not owe a fellow soldier a duty of care when they are engaged with an enemy in the course of combat. Also the MoD is not under a duty to maintain a safe system of work for service personnel in this situation.

Therefore the MoD cannot be sued when a commander or soldier makes a mistake in the heat of battle. This defence is called “Combat Immunity”.

That said, there are exceptions to the Combat Immunity defence. These situations can be complex, and we have a proven track record of representing military personnel in civil claims, despite their accidents taking place during combat.

For example, following an air crash in Afghanistan we were able to prove that longstanding maintenance defects were the cause of injury and not enemy fire, despite the MoD defending the claim on the grounds of Combat Immunity .

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your injury to determine exactly what happened, and if Combat Immunity can actually be applied in your case or not. For example, if your injury was caused by negligence away from combat, you could be able to claim. This could include:

  • Defective equipment
  • Inadequate equipment or protective gear
  • Operational or systems failures
  • Lack of training

However, every situation is different, and the ability to claim isn't limited to just these examples. If you're unsure whether or not you'll be able to claim, it's important to seek legal advice to get an expert opinion on your options.

What If I Can't Claim Because Of Combat Immunity?

If Combat Immunity means you can't make a civil claim for compensation, then you could still be able to claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. The AFCS is a government scheme that provides compensation for injury, illness and death caused by service on or after 6 April 2005.

Eligibility for the scheme isn't defined by how you were injured, and both regular and reserve personnel can apply for compensation through the AFCS (whether you're still serving or a veteran). Find out more about the AFCS.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Combat Immunity, and how it will affect your ability to claim, call us today on 0800 022 3321 for a free initial consultation about your case. You can also contact us online and we'll get back to you.

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