Tuesday, 8 January 2013

How to Make a Claim after a Military Accident

Making a claim against the Ministry of Defence (your employer) following a military accident isn’t always easy. There are several laws in place that make some accidents claimable but others not so. You need to find out before starting any accident claim whether your military accident qualifies as an ‘accident at work’.

What does this mean?

Personal injury resulting from a military accident can fall into two main categories: 

 Injury sustained in combat
  • Injury sustained due to negligence or breach of duty on the part of the Ministry of Defence
An injury sustained in combat is unlikely to be considered an accident at work unless the injury is a result of defective equipment belonging to the MOD or friendly fire. Any injury sustained as a result of the enemy force can’t be claimed for using a work accident claim but it is often possible to go through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme instead.

An injury sustained as a result of the MOD’s negligence or through a breach of duty does warrant a work accident claim however you will need a significant amount of evidence regarding the accident to secure a favourable outcome. You will also need to show that the injury occurred after May 1987 since this is when the law changed to make the MOD open to personal injury claims. Injuries that fall into the claimable category include: 
  • Those that occur as a result of defective equipment 
  • Those that occur as a result of the actions of another employee 
  • Road traffic accident injuries when in an MOD vehicle or on active duty 
  • Industrial illness providing the stimulant for the illness e.g. asbestos, was first encountered after May 1987 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although this is a very complex and grey area at present. 
Making your claim 

If you have sustained an injury in a military accident that warrants a personal injury claim, or alternatively a claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, then you need to claim within 3 years of your accident. Every decision made by the appeal courts has the effect of changing the law slightly, making compensation claims against the Ministry of Defence quite complex with ever-changing rules – so you do need to leave enough time to get through the red tape and complete the claim by the deadline. 

You’ll also benefit from using a specialist lawyer who understands the complexities of making a legal action due to a military accident . Many personal injury lawyers know about accident at work claims, but because of the uniqueness of the Ministry of Defence as an employer it really will help to put your claim forward in such a way that there is no doubt about who was responsible for your accident. 

At the start of your claim you will need to provide as much information as possible relating to the accident. This is what the MOD, or the appeal court, will use to decide whether your claim is valid. The amount of compensation paid out will depend on things like the severity of your injury and the loss of earnings you’ve incurred as a result. Give as much information to your lawyer as you can and you should see a positive outcome to your military accident claim.

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