Quick guide: Accident Injury Claims for Military Personnel

Posted Jul 18, 2018.
If you are a member of the UK’s armed forces – Army, Navy or Air force – then like any other employee, you have basic rights to make a claim for compensation if you have been injured in an accident or incident that wasn’t your fault. Whilst there are some specific exceptions for HM Forces personnel, the legal entitlement to claim compensation are the same as if you were a nurse, builder, engineer or indeed any other employee.

Most injury and accident claims for military personnel will be against the Ministry of Defence (MOD), and as well as working with a lawyer in ensuring that any claim settlement is appropriate for your own circumstances, a claim can also be made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) or War Pension Scheme.
For more serious accidents and injuries, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) or Regimental Inquiry may be set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident in more detail, with a view to both properly assessing an individual’s injuries whilst also using the findings to help ensure that similar types of accident are not repeated. Whilst such findings are not generally made available to the general public, the MOD will normally supply details of their investigations to the injured serviceman or their next of kin, which can provide vital information when making a successful claim.

Are you still serving in the military?

It is important to understand that you do not have to wait until you leave the forces before you can make a claim. This is a common misconception and indeed, it is important that you seek professional legal advice from a lawyer or solicitor as soon as possible as many types of injury will be subject to maximum time limits in which you have to start your claim. For most accident and injury types, you need to bring a claim within three years from the date of the accident or the date of knowledge that you have suffered an injury should symptoms appear later on.  Again, seek professional legal advice as soon as possible. The deadline for AFCS claims is generally seven years.

What if you were injured whilst on active duty?

One area of personal injury compensation law that is different for HM Forces personnel is if you were injured whilst on active duty in a war or conflict. This can be a more complex area legally, and is generally referred to as ‘combat immunity’. Overall, your rights to make a compensation claim from the MOD during a war or similar conflict is suspended, unless the injury was unrelated to combat. However, each case is very much taken on its individual merits and your particular circumstances. Again, seeking professional advice from a solicitor or lawyer as soon as possible is recommended. 

The team at Bakers have dealt with many military claims over the past 30 years, and our friendly and approachable team will be happy to discuss a potential claim with you.