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RAF Serviceman Successful In Civil Claim Following Injuries Suffered In A Helicopter Crash In Iraq

Irwin Mitchell’s Armed Forces Compensation Claim team successfully secured an out of Court settlement for £100,000 for a member of the RAF. Our client sustained significant burns following a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2007, in which two members of the UK’s Special Forces were killed.

The RAF Sergeant was acting as aircrew when the helicopter he was travelling in crashed as it came into land at a military airfield in Iraq. As a result of the burns, our client had to have his left index finger amputated and joints replaced in his left middle finger. Our client also suffered numerous fractures and endured a number of surgical procedures from 2007 until 2010.

The Ministry of Defence denied liability on the grounds of Combat Immunity and a Coroner’s inquest held in Hereford found errors made by the pilot to have been one of the causes of the crash which were covered by combat immunity. However, the Coroner also found the MoD to be in breach of Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, following systematic failures, which included the failure to maintain an anti-spill valve which would have stopped the fire on the crashed aircraft spreading. Despite this verdict the MoD insisted that they were not liable for our client’s injuries.

Six months after the inquest, the MoD informed Irwin Mitchell’s Armed Forces Team that whilst they were still denying liability, they were willing to consider negotiating a settlement in respect of our client’s claim and in 2012 our client was awarded £100,000. The award was in addition to £128,000 our client had already received under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Our client made a remarkable recovery and was able to return to work as an air loader on Puma helicopters, although his injuries have reduced his chances of serving in the RAF for a full 31 year career.

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