In May Amanda Marsh joined the Military Injury Claims
team as a Specialist in Armed Forces Compensation
Scheme (AFCS) cases. Here, Amanda explains how she can
help service personnel bringing claims under the Scheme. The AFCS Scheme is a very specialised area-how did you
first get involved?
My background is in more complex personal injury cases but
I have for many years had a special interest in high value
Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme cases. The CICA
Scheme is very similar to the AFCS and as such it was a natural
progression to deal with claims under both schemes.
Why is a solicitor sometimes needed in these claims?
The AFCS is supposed to be a fair and easily accessible process
by which injured military personnel are awarded the correct
award for the injury suffered. However, in some cases where an
injured person acts alone, the outcome is very different. This is
because the scheme is in fact a complex document which does
not provide for independent medical evidence to be obtained.
It is not always clear what information has been obtained by
Veterans UK in support of a claim or whether it is accurate and
complete. In such cases a solicitor has an understanding of
the evidence gathering process, can obtain that evidence and
often turn the case around.
How long have you been working in this area and how
many service personnel have you helped?
I have been representing clients under the CICA scheme for
over 16 years and under the AFCS for the last 3 years and have
helped over 250 service personnel, either by taking the case
on or, on occasion, by giving advice where it is clear that legal
representation will add no value to the claim.
What are the greatest challenges you have faced when
dealing with claims under the scheme?
The biggest single challenge is in obtaining the correct medical
evidence to establish the nature and severity of the injury. The
scheme does not allow for independent evidence and without
it, it can sometimes be difficult to gather all the information
together, as it can be held in a number of different places.
When is a lawyer not likely to be needed?
There are some injuries where there is a single tariff under
the scheme such as, for example, compartment syndrome. All
that is required is a diagnosis and then the standard tariff is
paid so there are rarely complications. Another example would
be a torn cartilage and in such cases an injured person can
successfully achieve the right outcome without legal help.
What’s been a highlight for you in terms of result?
Every case where we succeed in getting the right award is a
highlight but one that stands out is a young Fusilier who had
PTSD and had been awarded just £10,000 for symptoms
lasting 5 years. After instructing an independent psychiatrist he
was awarded £140,000 plus GIP amounting to 75% of his final
salary which he will receive for life. It was a life changing result.
If you were in government what would you change about
I would make it a requirement under the scheme that
independent medical evidence be obtained and that it is
paid for by Veterans UK, just like the CICA scheme pays for
independent reports to be obtained. This is essential in order to
be able to accurately assess an injury, give a fair prognosis and
so ensure that it attracts the right award.
Autumn 2016 (PDF)
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