0800 022 3321
Military Injury Compensation Claims

Off Duty Accident Claims

If you've been injured while off duty in an accident that wasn't your fault, or you've been assaulted, our solicitors may be able to help you claim compensation.

We understand that service personnel have different needs when making a claim. Concerns about loss of service benefits, pay and allowances following an injury are common, and we'll ensure that all these things are considered when pursuing compensation on your behalf.

Insurance companies often have limited knowledge of the value of a lost service career, so without specialist military lawyers to accurately value your claim, it could be settled for less than you’re entitled to.

We've represented service personnel who have been in a number of different kinds of accidents, including:

In some instances – such as injuries sustained at a gym or service-approved sporting event – it may be possible to claim from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). Our specialist solicitors will be able to advise you on who we will need to claim against for your injuries.

Our lawyers are also experienced in claiming through the Criminal Injuries (Overseas) Compensation Scheme, which is a specialist scheme for service personnel (and their families) who have been assaulted abroad.

If you’ve been injured in an off duty accident while serving in the Army, Navy, RAF or Special Forces you may be able to claim compensation. You may also be able to claim if you were injured while serving in the Army Reserve (formerly the Territorial Army), Navy, RAF or Special Forces Reserves.

We have the largest personal injury team in the UK, claiming over £1 billion in the last two years alone for our clients. No matter the injury, and no matter the circumstances, you will be met with compassionate, practical advice that puts your well being first.

If you have any questions about claiming compensation for an accident that happened while off duty, 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.

No Win No Fee*
Experts in both military and civilian claims
Specialist lawyers with a service background
Active members of The Royal British Legion Solicitors Group

Call our experts FREE on:

0800 022 3321

Or we can call you back at a time of your choice

  • Phone lines open 24/7, 365 days a year

Contact us today

For a free initial consultation

Prefer not to call?

Use our form

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

Off Duty Accident 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 an off-duty accident or injury 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.

    • Are The Rules Different For Civilian And Military Personnel?
    • As a member of the armed forces, you have the same right to make a compensation claim for an accident or injury that occurred because of negligence as civilians, and you're entitled to claim compensation for accidents that occurred while you were off duty too.

      If you're claiming for an accident that occurred during your service, the claim will be brought against the Ministry of Defence. If the accident occurred while you were off duty, we'll determine the party liable for your compensation during the claims process.

      The majority of military accidents do not happen in combat. Where injuries are sustained in combat, the MoD may be able to use the defence of “combat immunity”. Combat immunity essentially provides the MoD with a defence if your injury was sustained at time when engaged with an enemy. However, even in these situations, if negligence was partly or fully to blame for your injuries, you may still have a legal claim.

      If you’re unsure whether you can make a legal claim, please call our military experts on 0800 022 3321 for a free consultation.

    • What's The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?
    • The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme that provides compensation for off-duty accidents, 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 Claim Compensation For An Off-Duty Accident?

If you were involved in an accident that wasn't your fault while you were off-duty, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

There are different rules for military personnel who are injured while on duty, but if you were off-duty at the time then you'll generally have the same rights to make a claim as a civilian would.

The only difference may be if you were on a base, but off-duty, when your accident happened. In this case, it may be that the Ministry of Defence is liable for your compensation, depending on the circumstances of your accident. In this case, you may also be able to claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, though there is nothing stopping you from making a civil claim too.

If you were off-base at the time of your accident, then you can make a claim if someone else was responsible for your injuries, whether it was an accident caused by another party's negligence, or a criminal assault.

You generally have three years from the date of your accident to bring a compensation claim, though there are a few exceptions. If you were under 18 at the time, for example, you will have three years from the date of your 18th birthday to claim.

In the case of fatal accidents, the family of the deceased have three years from either the date your loved one died, or the date you received the post-mortem results.

There is no time limit for people who don't have the mental capacity to make legal decisions, which often applies to those who have suffered serious brain injuries.

We've helped our clients claim for a wide range of injuries, in an equally wide range of circumstances, including:

Injuries that we have helped our clients claim for include:

  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Serious injuries
  • Fatal injuries
  • Psychological trauma

However, these lists are by no means exhaustive – no matter what your circumstances, if you believe that someone else was responsible for your injuries, then you may have a claim. For more information, call us on 0800 022 3321 and we'll be happy to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.

Read More... Read Less...

What If My Accident Happened While I Was On Leave Abroad?

Travel is a central part of the lives of many in the armed forces, and accidents while on leave abroad are common. If you were injured in an accident that wasn't your fault while you were on leave abroad, you still have the same rights as civilians to make a claim.

However, whatever your status, the rules for claiming compensation can be different from country to country, so there may be different rules or time limits to if you were making a claim at home.

If you were travelling with a package tour operated by a company located in England or Wales, then there are special provisions under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 that mean you'll be able to claim through the UK courts. However, if you were travelling independently, then you may have to bring a claim through the local courts of the country where your accident took place.

If this is the case, we work with an international network of partner law firms to ensure we have all of the knowledge of local laws required to handle your case. Representatives from these firms can also attend court hearings on your behalf, so you don't have to worry about returning to the country in question to go to court.

When making a claim for an accident that happened abroad, there may be different time limits to the usual three year timeframe for claims in the UK, so it's vital that you contact us as soon as possible to ensure you don't miss out on your opportunity to claim compensation that you're entitled to.

If you have any questions or concerns about making a claim abroad, then contact us on 0800 022 3321 for a free consultation on your case.

Read More... Read Less...

Can I Claim If I Was Assaulted Abroad?

Since 1979 the MoD has operated the Criminal Injuries (Overseas) Compensation Scheme, which mirrors the UK Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme. This allows service personnel deployed abroad (and their families) to claim compensation if they are the innocent victims of violent crime.

You normally have two years from the date of the assault to claim through the Criminal Injuries (Overseas) Compensation Scheme. If you have been the victim of criminal violence after being stationed overseas, it’s important to contact us as soon as possible so we can begin investigating your claim.

In order to claim through the Criminal Injuries (Overseas) Compensation Scheme, we need to provide supporting evidence. Paul Weston from our military injury team specialises in helping soldiers and their families to gather the necessary evidence from the police, medical professionals and witnesses to support their claim. One recent case Paul has been involved in is:

  • Securing £175,000 so far for a young soldier from the Royal Fusiliers, who was assaulted by a fellow soldier while off duty overseas. As a result of this attack, the soldier suffered a severe brain injury and will require specialist care and support for the rest of his life. We are currently gathering further evidence so the soldier’s compensation reflects his future loss of earnings once he is medically discharged from the armed forces.

Claiming compensation can be a daunting prospect for anyone, so it helps to have the experts on your side. If you have any questions about our services, and how we can help, don't hesitate to contact us on 0800 022 3321 for a free initial consultation on your claim.

Read More... Read Less...

Awards and Accreditation

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.

Read More Feedback

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.

© 2019 Irwin Mitchell LLP is Authorised & Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our Regulatory Information.