Every year service men and women suffer heat injuries during training and on active service, both at home and abroad. Heat injury is avoidable with the right planning and preparation, but the MOD does not always ensure this is the case. If you or a loved one has suffered a heat injury, our expert military solicitors could help you make a compensation claim. 

The effects of heat injury can be very serious and may lead to permanent downgrading or early retirement from the Forces. Symptoms may include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Physical collapse.

The most severe cases of heat injury can be fatal – we represented the family of a soldier who was one of three to die from hyperthermia during an SAS training exercise in the Brecon Beacons.

Serving in the Armed Forces can mean exposure to extreme environments, but the MOD still has a duty of care to ensure that proper planning and protocol is in place to avoid preventable injury. The Joint Service Publication 539 (JSP 539) sets out the regulations for training in very hot or cold temperatures, but as cases such as the Brecon Beacons show, these rules are not always followed.

If you’ve suffered a heat injury while serving in any capacity in the Army, Navy, RAF or Special Forces you may be able to claim compensation. You could also claim if you were injured while serving in the Army Reserve (formerly the Territorial Army), Navy, RAF or Special Forces Reserves.

Our expert team of specialist military solicitors is the largest in the country and includes three ex-servicemen. We’ve helped hundreds of servicemen and women get compensation after preventable injuries, working with military consultants to identify where mistakes were made and understand the full impact on our clients’ lives and careers.

Bringing a claim against the MOD can seem daunting, but we have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process. Call one of our expert team today on 0800 022 3321 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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Heat Injury Claims - More Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Heat Injury?

There are three main types of heat injury. These are:

  • Heat cramps – presenting as muscle spasms, usually in the legs
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

Headaches, exhaustion, dizziness and confusion, and a raised body temperature, are all symptoms of heat injury. Heat stroke is the most severe, needing immediate medical attention – in extreme cases the core body temperature can rise above 40°C. However, heat injury in all its forms is potentially dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.

Heat injury is caused by over-exposure to a hot environment. This can happen in a temperate climate as well as an extreme one – both heat injuries and non-freezing cold injuries are a frequent problem for soldiers training in the UK every year. Completing gruelling physical activities over a prolonged period, often with heavy uniforms and equipment, can easily lead to injury if not overseen properly.

Heat injury happens because the body is trying to rid itself of excess heat through sweating. This leads to a critical loss of vital nutrients in the body, and can be very dangerous if not dealt with immediately.

The MOD has a duty of care to its soldiers and cadets to make sure they have the right preparation before during a training exercise and appropriate supervision during it, to avoid preventable cases of illness and injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered a heat injury, we could help you make a claim for compensation. Call today on 0800 022 3321 or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

How Can Heat Injury Be Prevented?

It is possible to prevent heat injury with proper planning and preparation. The Joint Service Publication 539 issued by the MOD lays out precautions that should be taken when servicemen and women are exposed to hot and cold environments.

Some of these precautions include:

  • Proper risk assessment in advance
  • Adequate rest periods
  • Sufficient food and water
  • Fast response to symptoms of heat injury

It is the duty of the senior officer overseeing the training to ensure everyone is aware of the risks, understands the importance of staying hydrated, and seeks medical aid when appropriate.

In intensive training scenarios, when endurance is often key, it can be hard to prioritise basic physical needs. However, to avoid heat injury and other damage, it is essential that hydration and rest are factored into any training exercise, and that those in charge are aware of the wellbeing of their team.

In the tragic case of the Brecon Beacons, three soldiers died on an SAS training exercise on the hottest day of 2013. The inquest found that deaths could have been prevented if the exercise had been cut short when they fell ill – instead the exercise was continued, with fatal consequences.

If you’ve suffered heat injury or lost a loved one on a training exercise, our military lawyers could help you get the answers you need. Call today on 0800 022 3321 or fill out our online enquiry form.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

We have the largest military injury team in the country and we’ve already helped hundreds of servicemen and women get compensation after injuries, both in training and on active service. We have offices across the UK, with military experts based in Manchester, Sheffield, Cambridge and Southampton.

Our team includes several ex-servicemen, whose experience and knowledge of the military make us uniquely placed to understand the individual circumstances of every client’s case. We also work closely with two military consultants, one of whom was the lead Land Accident and Investigation Team (LAIT) investigator of heat injuries during the later stages of his service career.

Our work in this area means we are extremely familiar with the rules and regulations regarding training in hot weather, as laid out by the Joint Service Publication 539, and are experts in identifying how failings may have occurred.

This knowledge and experience also means that we are able to understand the full impact of our clients’ injuries, both now and in the future, and value their claim accordingly. The compensation available through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is capped and often does not adequately reflect the extent of the damage on our clients’ personal and professional lives.

We’ll work hard to get you the right level of compensation, enabling you to get the proper support and rehabilitation, as well as make up for lost future earnings, if your career has been downgraded as a result of your injury.

Call today on 0800 022 3321 or use our online form and we’ll get back to you.

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Our Armed Forces Expertise

Since 1987, our specialist military injury team has helped hundreds of injured personnel from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy to claim compensation. We are considered one of the top law firms in the country for military claims and several cases we were involved in were recently featured in the Chilcot Inquiry.

We work closely with a number of Armed Forces welfare branches and organisations, and are the PAX appointed legal representatives under the PAX Personal Accident Insurance Scheme. We're also proud supporters of:

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Several of our solicitors were part of team that recently won The Claims Innovation Award for Legal Service Team of the Year (2016) for their pro bono work within The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group (TRBLSG).

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