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Military Injury Compensation Claims

Military Inquests And Fatal Claims

If a loved one has died while serving in the armed forces and you suspect that their death could have been prevented, our solicitors may be able to help you make a claim for compensation.

You deserve to know the full circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one. If you believe they died unnecessarily, then we can help you find out what happened and why.

In addition to claims for fatal injuries, we've been representing the families of armed forces personnel at military inquests for over 25 years, handling cases with sensitivity and care. We support families through an inquest's challenges, such as:

  • Dealing with Public Interest Immunity Certificates
  • Representing your interests against lawyers from the Ministry of Defence and the British government
  • Witnesses who are unavailable through deployment
  • Trying to trace key documents to support your case.

Dealing with an inquest or compensation claim following the death of a loved one is always going to be a difficult experience and it helps to have the experts on your side. We handle every aspect of your case during this emotional time, putting your needs first every step of the way.

If your loved one has died 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 they died while serving in the Army Reserve (formerly the Territorial Army), Navy, RAF or Special Forces Reserves.

To get the full benefit of our legal expertise, we recommend contacting our team as soon as possible - before an inquest takes place. This will give us the time to access information and documents from the armed forces to ensure the inquest answers the important questions about how and why your loved one lost their life.

Call us today on 0800 022 3321 for a free initial consultation about your case or contact us online and we'll get back to you.

Proven track record in high-profile inquests
Expert lawyers with a service background
Bringing claims against the MoD since 1987
Strong links with military charities, including Inquest and the Independent Inquest Advice Unit of the Royal British Legion

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Military Inquests And Fatal Claims - More Information
    • 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 anything if your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement. 

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • How Much Compensation Can I Expect?
    • How much compensation you receive after a military accident or illness will depend on a few factors related to your condition, its circumstances, and the support and rehabilitation you need.

      When calculating your compensation, we'll take the following things into account:

      • Your age, rank and specialism
      • The pain and suffering caused by your injury or illness
      • Loss of your service earnings caused by delayed promotion or medical discharge
      • Loss of any civilian earnings
      • Loss of pension contributions / resettlement grant
      • Loss of a commitment bonus
      • Loss of specialist pay and allowances
      • Loss of service benefits including loss of subsidised quarters and Learning Credits
      • Your care and support needs – both now and in the future
      • Modifications to your home
      • Mobility aids

      Any settlement is paid by the Ministry of Defence, out of a specific budget set aside for these situations. It doesn't come out of your unit’s budget, and it doesn’t come out of the budget which pays for kit, equipment and other resources.

      For more information, call us on 0800 022 3321 and we'll be happy to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.

    • What's The Claims Process?
    • 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:

      1. Investigation. We'll begin by determining the extent of your injuries, and the losses they may result in. 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 file.

      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.

      2. Rehabilitation. If you have any medical care or support needs, we'll help you to access the necessary treatment and advice.

      3. 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.

      4. 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. The MoD should also do the same, as they are obliged to as a branch of government.

      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.

    • 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:

      • Operations
      • Training
      • Service-approved sports
      • 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.

      You can 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.

    • Meet The Experts
    • Our military injury team have been helping service men and women claim against the MoD since 1987. The team includes several former military personnel, and includes:

      • Geraldine McCool, who was described as the “Military Master” by The Lawyer. Geraldine is secretary of The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group and heads our specialist military injury team.
      • Paul Harrington, who completed an operational tour in Northern Ireland as a Bomb Disposal Operator. Paul brings his expertise as a former Ammunition Technical Officer and specialises in claims involving equipment, weapons, munitions and training accidents.
      • Simon Harrington, who has over 15 years of experience bringing claims against the MoD. Simon specialises in cold injury claims, having helped hundreds of service personnel to claim over £10 million in compensation for their injuries.
      • Andrew Buckham, who served in the Army for seven years before joining Irwin Mitchell. Andrew specialises in claims relating to serious and fatal injuries. He is also a trustee for the Defence Medical Welfare Service

      Meet our military injury team.

Getting the support from Irwin Mitchell with my adapted house has given me the encouragement and independence I needed to get out there and find other things I am interested in."

Ray Lowrie
Ray Lowrie

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Make A Claim For Compensation Following A Fatal Military Accident?

If your loved one has lost their life as a result of an accident while serving in the armed forces, then you may be able to claim compensation.

In fatal cases, you have three years to make a claim, starting from the date your loved one died.

It doesn't matter what branch of the service your loved one was in – we have made successful claims for service personnel in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy, including specialist units.

We have also made successful claims following a range of fatal incidents, including accidents during training exercises, while travelling, or in combat.

Claims for fatal injuries that occurred while in combat can be more complicated due to what's known as the combat immunity defence. This means that the Ministry of Defence is not under a duty to maintain a safe system of work for service personnel engaged with an enemy in the course of combat.

However, if we can prove that your loved one's death has been caused by negligence on the part of the MoD, whether through friendly fire, inadequate/poorly maintained equipment, or preventable transport accidents, we may still be able to make a case. Find out more about how combat immunity can affect a claim.

If you're not sure whether you'll be able to make a claim, it's important to seek legal advice from expert lawyers. Call us on 0800 022 3321 today for a free initial consultation on your claim, and we'll be able to offer our expert opinion on your options.

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What Happens At A Military Inquest?

When a member of the armed forces dies, an inquest may be undertaken to determine the exact circumstances. It's independent from the Ministry of Defence, with a coroner appointed by the Ministry of Justice.

Inquests are carried out when the cause of death is unknown after a post-mortem, or if there is reasonable possibility to believe that your loved one's death was caused by a failure to meet standards that ensure the safety of service personnel.

The coroner will question witnesses to find out exactly what has happened, preparing a legal statement that sets out the exact circumstance of where, when, how and why a person has died.

An inquest’s job is not to find fault, but in many cases its conclusions will greatly assist us in seeking compensation for your loss.

If you have any concerns about a military inquest, contact us on 0800 022 3321 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers, who will be able to answer any questions you might have.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell For An Inquest Or Fatal Claim?

We've been representing the families of armed forces personnel at inquests for over 25 years, working closely with groups such as the Independent Inquest Advice Unit of the Royal British Legion and the Inquest Lawyers Group to make the best case possible, while also providing our clients with the support they need during this difficult time.

We understand that dealing with an inquest or compensation claim can be a daunting prospect, so it can help to have the experts on your side. We’ll handle every aspect of your claim, and will approach your case with care and sensitivity.

Our extensive experience in this area has meant we've represented families in a number of high-profile inquests, including:

Our dedication to our clients doesn't end when compensation has been paid. We pride ourselves on being a full service law firm, and our lawyers can provide support with a number of other personal legal services that you may need following the loss of a loved one.

If you have any questions about how a claim or inquest works, or how we can help, don't hesitate to contact us online, or call us on 0800 022 3321 today for a free initial consultation to discuss your options.

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Awards and Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK

The Times Best Law Firms 2019 chambers-2019 legal-500-2019

What Our Clients Say

We truly value and appreciate the feedback we receive from our clients, as we look to improve the services we offer on an ongoing basis.

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Royal British Legion


We're proud to be part of The Royal British Legion Solicitor's Group

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:

  • The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group
  • Help For Heroes
  • SSAFA Forces Help

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).

Our Offices

Our offices are located in major cities throughout the UK and have excellent transport links.

Start Your Claim Today

To begin your claim for compensation, or ask any questions regarding personal injury claims, contact us today for a free consultation.

This data will only be used by Irwin Mitchell for processing your query and for no other purpose.

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