How Do I Claim?
To make a compensation claim for a military injury or illness, the first thing you need to do is get in touch with us for a free initial consultation. We'll discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident or illness, advise you on whether or not we think you can claim, and whether you could benefit from a No Win No Fee* arrangement.
The claim will begin by sending a formal letter of claim to the Ministry of Defence. After this, the claim will usually follow the same four stages:
Investigation. We'll begin by determining the extent of your injuries, and assessing what losses you may have suffered as a result. This will involve obtaining copies of your military medical notes, and any civilian hospitals you've received treatment at. We'll also need a copy of your Armed Forces Compensation Scheme file, and your personnel files. The MoD will undertake an investigation, which usually starts by contacting your unit to confirm details of your accident, and obtain any relevant paperwork. They may also speak to any of your colleagues who were present at the time of the accident, and can provide witness evidence.
Rehabilitation. If you have any medical care or support needs, we'll help you to access the necessary treatment and advice.
Compensation. We'll work out how much compensation you should get based on the severity of your injuries and your pain and suffering, any medical expenses you've had and your ability to get back to work. We'll put this amount to the MoD, and they can either accept liability or contest the claim. Resolution. If the MoD accepts blame, you'll be awarded compensation. If not, court proceedings will begin. We will try to settle your claim on the best terms, considering options in addition to bringing court proceedings.. Starting proceedings doesn't mean that your claim will definitely go to trial. Instead, it means that the court take over the management of you case, setting strict timetables for the exchange of documents, witness evidence and expert reports. If you do have to go to court, we'll be there to support you every step of the way.
If you have any questions about the claims process, please contact us today on
0800 022 3321 for your free initial consultation.
Can I Make A No Win No Fee* Claim?
Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.
At the start of your case, we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI), this may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household or car insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.
If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee* agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. You'll only have to pay something if your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement.
No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.
Will Claiming Impact My Career?
No. The MoD understands that they ask service personnel to do a difficult job in dangerous situations – and unfortunately accidents do happen. They recognise and respect the individual's right to bring a legal claim for injuries. Claiming won't affect your entitlement to a pension, either.
The Ministry of Defence should not discriminate against personnel who bring compensation claims after an injury. If you're planning on continuing your service career after your claim, then there are very strict rules about discriminating against someone on this basis.
What's The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme that provides compensation for injury, illness and death caused by service on or after 6 April 2005.
Unlike a legal claim, the AFCS does not require you to establish that anybody else was at fault. This means that you could be able to claim under the AFCS in circumstances where there is no legal claim.
However, the AFCS is a tariff based system – it does not look at the way your injury will affect you as an individual, or what financial losses you will actually incur. For this reason legal claims made through the courts will almost always result in significantly more compensation than claims made through the AFCS.
It's accepted that members of the armed forces have no choice where they're deployed, or in the activities they're required to undertake. This means that compensation could be paid from the scheme for injuries caused in a number of ways, including those that occur during:
Exercise to maintain military fitness
Both regular and reserve forces can apply for compensation through the AFCS, whether you're still serving or a veteran.
Compensation is paid as a lump sum on a tariff-based system determined by the severity of your injuries, and can range from a minimum of £1,200 to a maximum award of £570,000. You could claim through the AFCS as well as claiming through the courts.
find out more about the AFCS here, or alternatively you can contact our solicitors on 0800 022 3321 for a free consultation if you have any specific questions.
Why Choose Irwin Mitchell For A Military Injury Claim?
Our specialist military claims team, which includes former service personnel, has over 25 years' experience in claiming compensation from both the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. Our dedication to ensuring military personnel receive the compensation they deserve has seen us involved in a number of landmark cases, including:
The landmark 1994 Chinook Mull of Kintyre crash
A Puma crash in Iraq involving a Specialist Unit
The death of Lance Corporal Michael Pritchard by friendly fire
The death of Corporal Mark Wright GC at Kajaki Dam, Afghanistan
From the beginning of your claim, we'll work with you to understand any immediate medical treatment needs you have, and any support you'll need in the future, such as:
Mobility aids and modifications to your home
Help buying or selling a house
Support with employment difficulties, or help retraining
Financial planning advice
Wills, trust and probate services
Claiming compensation can be particularly daunting for members of the armed forces. You may be concerned that it will affect your service career or your relationship with the rest of your unit. We understand those concerns and will try to answer any questions before you make the decision as to whether or not to claim.
There are very strict rules about discriminating against personnel who make a claim, and we can advise you on your rights in this respect. Compensation settlements come out of a budget specifically set aside by the Ministry of Defence, rather than affecting the funds available to your unit.
If you have any questions about your military claim, you can contact us on
0800 022 3321 for a free consultation on your case. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have.