A former Army Officer Cadet has accepted a settlement of £27,500 against the Ministry of Defence after she was injured on a training exercise in Norway when aged just 21.
Miss Rae was on exercise with fellow cadets in 2008. It was alleged that she was exposed to rifle fire after she was ordered by her chain of command to forfeit her hearing protection. As a result of that unprotected exposure, Miss Rae now suffers with significantly diminished hearing in the left ear. The hearing loss is comparable to that of a typical 80 year old. Furthermore, she now suffers with permanent and constant tinnitus, a ringing noise heard only by the sufferer.
It was alleged that Miss Rae began the exercise with her ear defenders on, as did her colleagues. However, part way through that exercise, she was told to remove them. In place of those ear defenders, she was given a single ear plug and a headset radio which offered little or no protection to the noise to which she was exposed immediately afterwards.
At the time of training as an Officer Cadet, Miss Rae was a university student. 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 Following the incident, Miss Rae’s scholarship was withdrawn as she no longer fulfilled the medical requirements for entry into the Armed Forces.
Whilst the award will never replace her hearing, it is hoped that the compensation will assist Miss Rae get on with her life, now that her dreams of an Army career are over. The settlement includes an element to compensate her for the significant loss of amenity now suffered as a result of the diminished hearing and tinnitus as well as a sum to reflect the impact those problems have had upon her future career.
Her solicitor, David Johnston-Keay of Irwin Mitchell, warns that this is not an isolated case: "Regrettably, Miss Rae is not the only claimant to have come to us with significant and (more importantly perhaps) preventable hearing damage as a result of exposure to weapons fire.
"HM Forces have been providing hearing protection for soldiers, sailors and airmen for many years and there are procedures and protocols in place to ensure those personnel are properly protected. However, on occasions, those safeguards fail. When that happens, it is not just the individual’s hearing that is affected; a medical downgrade may occur resulting in the loss of a career.
"Whilst we are pleased to have recovered compensation for Miss Rae, it is just as important to remind employers and employees alike that hearing protection is there for a reason. The consequences are permanent; once lost, your hearing will never return."
If you've been injured in a Military Training Accident you might be entitled to claim Military Compensation.
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