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RAF Reservist Receives Settlement For Hearing Loss And Tinnitus

A member of the RAF reserves has been awarded a five-figure sum by the Ministry of Defence as compensation for an incident in December 2012 which resulted in him developing noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

Our client was involved in a training exercise on the day in question. He had just completed the third training session of the day and was told to go and have a break in an enclosed compound. As he was on a break, our client removed his ear defenders. However, whilst he was in the compound, the trainers started a simulated attack without any prior warning. Flares were set off and thrown into the air. As a result, our client and his colleagues immediately took cover on the ground.

One of the flashbang grenades thrown into the compound landed approximately six inches away from our client’s right ear and exploded. Immediately following the explosion, our client went completely deaf in his right ear for around 45 minutes. He was found to have suffered a perforated ear drum in the right ear. He also developed severe tinnitus, which remains down to this day and is unlikely to improve.

Our client instructed Irwin Mitchell to pursue a claim for compensation on his behalf, whilst at the same time pursuing a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). Whilst his claim under the AFCS was successful, our client was only awarded the sum of £6,000, which was derived from a tariff based on the severity of his hearing loss. However, the AFCS award did not take into account the benefits and earnings lost as a result of our client’s hearing loss and subsequent medical downgrade. As such, our client was satisfied when the Ministry of Defence admitted breaching their duty of care and awarded him a five-figure sum in settlement of the claim he had pursued with Irwin Mitchell, as this award did include an element to cover his potential future loss of earnings.

Our client said: “I would like to thank Irwin Mitchell for their assistance and support throughout this process; without which I am sure the outcome would have been very different.”

Nick Woods, who represented our client and specialises in cases of noise induced hearing loss against the Ministry of Defence, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to recover such a substantial sum for our client in settlement of his claim.

“This award highlights the fact that pursuing a claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, whilst being a much easier option, does not always result in the best possible outcome. Whilst our client is still fortunate enough to be able to continue serving with the RAF, albeit with a permanent medical downgrade, many others are not so lucky.

“On many occasions I have acted for Claimants who have had their military careers cut short as a result of exposure to excessive levels of noise, many of whom then find it difficult to gain alternative employment in the civilian world.

“I would urge anyone in such a position to consider the possibility of pursuing a civil claim for compensation, rather than simply relying on the awards given under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from military noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Military Injury Claims page for more information.

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