Leicestershire Man Instructed Military Lawyers Following Medical Discharge From Army
A former soldier living with hearing loss has spoken out after specialist lawyers secured him a settlement in his case.
Thomas Borley, from Leicestershire, served in The Army as an Armoured Cavalry Soldier. He spent long periods of time on firing ranges and taking part in training exercises and annual weapons tests.
He said he had issues with the ear defenders he was given to wear, which he believed meant they didn’t provide the level of protection they should have, because of incompatibility issues with other equipment such as his helmet.
Four years into his military career, Thomas began to complain of issues with his hearing. He was subsequently diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus. He was medically discharged from The Army.
Following his diagnosis, Thomas made a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and was awarded £6,000. Sadly, however, this was not enough to cover the costs of his lost career.
Thomas subsequently instructed military injury experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate. The legal experts successfully secured him a life-changing sum of £300,000 from the Ministry of Defence in an out of court settlement. The funds will allow him to access the specialist therapies he requires and help him move forward with his life by funding training for a new job. The Ministry of Defence denied liability.
Expert Opinion“Tom lost out on future career opportunities in The Army due to his hearing loss and tinnitus, and his AFCS award was just £6,000 after he was medically discharged from a role he loved. Unfortunately one of the shortcomings of the AFCS scheme for deafness claims is that it rarely provides for an award greater than £6,000 and so a civil claim is usually always the better route and allowed us to recover losses for Tom’s lost future earnings and pension for his lost career.
Through our work, we come across many people who have sustained or developed injury as a result of their time in the Military. While nothing can make up for what Tom has suffered, including losing his career, we’re pleased to have been able to help secure him settlement which will allow him to move forward with his life as best he can.
Like Tom’s’ case, where an injury results in medical discharge, there can be a huge difference between the award by the AFCS and that you would reasonably expect by way of civil claim. After he approached us, we were able to gather evidence that Tom was a high performing soldier and that he had been exposed to excessive levels of noise resulting in his hearing loss and tinnitus.
We’re therefore delighted to have been able to obtain Tom the sum he deserved. He can now get started on a new career path, away from the excessive noise that caused his injuries.
Hearing loss and tinnitus are serious health issues which should never been downplayed. Not only do they affect a person physically, but can lead to psychological problems too.”
Carol Purang - Senior Associate
Thomas enlisted in The Army in April 2012, at the age of 23, and completed his training in November that year.
When taking part in exercises and attending firing ranges, Thomas found there to be issues with his ear defenders. On one occasion, the ear defenders fell out at the time that a colleague started up the engine of a tank within close proximity.
He was medically discharged in November 2016, and was never able to achieve his dream of being promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Now aged 33, Thomas said: “After being diagnosed with hearing loss and losing my career, I didn’t know what to do for a long time, but I’ve had so much support to help me get my life back on track and I can finally begin to look to the future without uncertainty and worry.
“Carol and her team have been amazing from start to finish. The experience was a daunting and personal one, but I was made to feel at ease.
“I also felt completely involved while at the same time being able to carry on my life as normal as the team was doing all the hard work in the background.
“I hope that by sharing my story, others will know there is help out there.”