Armed Forces Compensation Scheme "not flexible enough"
The family of a paratrooper seriously wounded by a mine in Afghanistan are considering legal action to challenge the Government scheme which makes awards to soldiers injured in the line of duty.
Diane Dernie's son Lance-Bombardier Ben Parkinson, of the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was seriously injured when a mine exploded whilst he was on patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
Ben lost both his legs as well as suffering a brain injury, fractures to his skull, cheekbone, nose, jaw and pelvis; fractured vertebrae, as well as serious damage to his spleen and chest.
However the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS), which was brought in by the Government in 2005 to fast track claims by military personnel, only considers the 3 worst injuries, which are then assessed financially on a set tariff.
Using the tariff to assess Mr Parkinson's 3 worst injuries, Bens family have been informed that he is likely to receive £152,150.00.
The scheme also has a maximum amount of compensation, set at £285,000 regardless of the severity of the injury. The maximum amount from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which compensates civilians who have been victims of violent crime in the UK, is £500,000.
Mrs Dernie said "We just can't believe that a scheme intended to care for soldiers who put themselves in such dangerous situations could be so flawed. Any assessment of injury must look at the totality of those injuries to make a true award based on the long terms needs of the victim.
"The severity of Ben's injuries means that we need to be able to move to an adapted house to help him live as normal a life as possible, I really don't feel this will be possible with an award of this size."
Mrs Dernie is beginning a legal fighting fund to help her mount a judicial review challenge to the government scheme in the High Court. A number of injured servicemen and their families support the challenge.
Mrs Dernie continued "We owe it to all the injured soldiers to fight for the compensation they deserve, and which will help them to live the best quality life they can expect."
Andrew Buckham, a member of the Armed Forces Claims Unit at law firm Irwin Mitchell said "The current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are resulting in Service personnel returning to the UK with horrific injuries which will need rehabilitative support and care in the long term.
"The current scheme is not flexible enough to fairly assess the cases of multiple injury such as Ben's and with an upper limit of £285,000 the scheme does not provide sufficient funds to meet the future needs of severely injured Service personnel."
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