We secured nearly £200,000 for a former Lance-Corporal who had to be medically discharged from the army after exposure to hazardous fumes left him with lung damage. This compensation was far greater than the award he received under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, which was only £10,000.
Our client, R, developed severe asthma after being exposed to toxic isocyanates whilst cleaning the army’s Mexeflote rafts. Prior to that he had enjoyed a successful 14 year career in the Forces, including serving on a number of overseas campaigns.
For a number of years R was stationed with a maritime regiment, where it was his job to maintain and repair Mexeflote landing rafts. Part of this maintenance involved spraying the rafts with isocyanate paints.
Spraying isocyanate paints is the main cause of occupational asthma in the UK. Workers spraying vehicles using these paints have been the most at risk group for years. Despite this, the MoD did not provide R with the right equipment to protect him from the fumes.
R’s asthma became so acute that he had to be discharged from the army on medical grounds. Under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, he was only entitled to claim £10,000 for his condition. For the damage done to his health and the difficult transition to civilian life after almost 15 years in the military, this was not enough.
Our specialist team helped R claim significant compensation that better reflected the loss of earnings and pension he had suffered all because of the MoD’s failings.
David Johnston-Keay, a solicitor and expert military injury lawyer in our Sheffield office, represented R in his claim.
He said of the case: “This is another prime example of an award under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme failing to reflect the personal and devastating effects of the injury to the individual involved.
“In this particular case, the physical effects of R’s asthma are not immediately obvious. But the diagnosis has had a significant impact on his work life and it is the financial implications of the loss of his job which makes the tariff-based assessment under the AFCS inadequate.
“The eventual settlement, while a significant sum of money, will not give him what he really wants - the chance to fulfil a full service career. That opportunity has been taken away from him simply because the controls and safety protocols that are designed to protect employees were not followed.
“Isocyanates are recognised as being a major health hazard yet all too often workers are being put at risk by the failure of employers to protect their employees from the known risks of exposure.
“We are pleased that we have been able to secure a settlement which will give him some financial security in civilian life and hope that lessons can be learned by the MoD and other employers so that no one else suffers as he has.”
If you’ve suffered a military injury or have been discharged because of an occupational disease, get in touch with the team today. You can also call us on 0800 022 3321.
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