Personal Injury and the Armed ForcesPublished on: 10 December 2019
To serve in the Armed Forces is an honour and a privilege for many, but it can also be one of the most dangerous and demanding careers a person can undertake. As a result of the physical and mental demands of serving in the Armed Forces, injuries at work for military personnel are more common than most other industries. In this blog, I will set out the various ways in which we at Lanyon Bowdler can help injured personnel get the compensation they deserve.
Whilst working in the first seat of my training contract with the personal injury department, I met Louise Howard, the firm’s specialist solicitor in military law. Over the past few months I have been assisting Louise with various military cases, which has included meeting a number of former personnel who were looking for advice on whether they were entitled to compensation for injuries that they suffered during their time in service.
I have also been attending the local Armed Forces Operations Hub meetings, which take place on the first and third Monday of every month at Palmers’ Café in Shrewsbury. The group is made up of representatives from numerous charities and support groups including Help for Heroes, the local council, Combat Stress, Walking with the Wounded and West Mercia Police. These meetings allow for retired and serving personnel and their families to get together and network, as well as providing support and advice for those who need it.
How the personal injury department can help
In terms of the support we can provide at Lanyon Bowdler for injuries suffered in the Armed Forces, there are two main areas of claim which we can assist with:
1. Negligence cases against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as an employer and as a provider of medical services, including physical and psychiatric injury.
The Ministry of Defence is bound by the same rules as any other employer and is therefore responsible for providing a safe working environment, underpinned by sound employment procedures, for all of its employees. Whilst it is accepted that serving in hostile situations brings a greater element of risk than your typical office job, there are still legal requirements which the MoD need to follow in order to mitigate the risk of injury as far as they are possible.
If they fall below these requirements, it may be possible for an injured service person to bring a negligence claim against them.
2. Assistance with Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims, both initial applications, requests for review and tribunal appeals.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) provides compensation for injury, illness or death caused whilst serving in the Armed Forces, other than in combat. A person claiming under the scheme has no obligation to establish fault, meaning that if the injury was caused by serving in the Armed Forces, and the requisite eligibility criteria are met, then that person is entitled to make an AFCS claim.
As a firm we are able to offer a range of support for military personnel through our extensive legal expertise. This can include the drafting of wills through our private client team, the buying and selling of homes through our residential property team and dealing with relationship and child arrangement issues through our family law team to name just a few. For more information on any of these matters, please feel free to contact us at Lanyon Bowdler and you will be put through to a member of the appropriate department who will be able to advise you from there.