Military Training Accident Claims

Military training is designed to prepare you for combat. By its very nature, the training regimen is physically and mentally demanding, often testing recruits to their limits. Under these rigorous circumstances, some injuries are usually inevitable. However, some injuries are a result of accidents caused by bad decisions made by commanding officers or by faulty equipment. Both of these instances count as negligence.

Employer duty of care applies to the Ministry of Defence too

All employers in the UK have a legal duty of care toward their employees and are required to make sure that precautions are taken to prevent unnecessary injuries at work. This employer’s duty of care also applies to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

To comply with the legal requirements, the MoD is expected to run training exercises in a safe manner, and provide trainees with appropriate and properly maintained equipment along with adequate training in how to use the equipment correctly. If you think the MoD failed in their duty of care and you were injured as a result of this negligence, you may have a legal right to file a military training accident claim.

Military training injuries causes & consequences

While accident causes are the same as in any other workplace, there are others that are unique to military training. Common causes of military training injuries may include but are not limited to:

  • Inadequate fitness training and preparation for more rigorous physical activities
  • Badly planned drills with inadequate risk assessment
  • Faulty combat equipment
  • Incorrect or inadequate equipment
  • Insufficient training in the use of combat equipment
  • Inadequate training for high-risk manoeuvres and exercises such as parachute jumps
  • Inadequate training or protective measures while playing sports
  • Harassment by senior officials

Military training accidents can have devastating long term repercussions that can compromise your military career. An extended time off for treatment of your injuries can delay your seniority and promotion. More serious injuries may prevent you from progressing as far in your military career as you would have before your injury. Permanent disabling injuries may result in a medical discharge putting an end to your military career before even getting started.

If your military career has been impacted in any way due to a no-fault training accident, you must speak to a personal injury lawyer to determine your rights.  The thought of going up against the Ministry of Defence can be daunting but don’t let that deter you.

Pros & cons of filing a claim through the AFCS

The AFCS or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a government scheme that aims to provide compensation for injury, illness or death caused during military service or military training.

Unlike legal claims filed through a civil court, the AFCS is a no-fault scheme. It does not require injured trainees to establish who was at fault. You are eligible to file a claim through the AFCS regardless of fault.

The downside of claiming under the AFCS is that it is a tariff-based system. It does not take your actual financial losses into consideration nor does it consider how your injuries will impact you as an individual. They calculate compensation solely based on their internal tariff system.

Although you are almost certain to get compensated for your injuries through the AFCS, the settlement tends to be lower than the compensation awarded through civil claims.

If you are injured while undergoing military training, the best way to proceed is to make a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. At the same time, you should also speak to a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling military training accident claims.

How a personal injury lawyer can help you file a claim

Most personal injury lawyers offer military personnel and trainees a free, no-obligation consultation to determine their right to claim. During this session, they will want to hear about the circumstances surrounding your accident. If you have any photographs or other documentation supporting your claim, take them along with you. The lawyer will analyse the merits of your claim based on the evidence and will advise you on how to proceed. If you have a strong case and the lawyer agrees to represent you, they will discuss funding options. If you do not have the funds, most lawyers will waive their retainer fee and deal with the claim on a no win, no fee basis.

By using a no win, no fee agreement, you’ll only pay a fee if your claim is successful. The fee, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the settlement, is only to be paid after receiving the compensation settlement. Signing a no win, no fee agreement allows you to benefit from the lawyer’s experience without any financial risk to yourself.

Your lawyer will first calculate how much compensation you are entitled to based on the severity of your injuries, your pain and suffering, and actual losses. If your civil claim is successful, the amount awarded to you through the AFCS will be deducted from the total settlement awarded to you.

Time limits when filing a military training accident claim

There are strict time limits in place for filing military training accident claims. Claims through the AFCS must be made within 7 years from the date of the incident that caused the injury. In the case of illness, the claim must be filed within 7 years from the date of first seeking medical advice for that illness.

However, the time limit for filing a civil claim is 3 years. This is why it is so important to contact a personal injury lawyer at the earliest to discuss a potential claim. If you are too injured to visit the lawyer’s office, they will make arrangements to visit you at the hospital, at home or at any location convenient for you.

Can a military training accident claim affect my career?

This is a thought that could prevent trainees from filing a military training accident claim even if they know they are eligible. The truth is, filing a claim should not affect your military career. The Ministry of Defence understand the dangers involved and they also acknowledge and respect an individual’s legal right to be compensated for their injuries. Filing a claim will not have an adverse effect on any aspect of your military career or your pension entitlement.

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