Serving in the armed forces can be hazardous for any number of reasons. While you might consider that often these hazardous conditions are part of the job, you can still make an injury claim against the army.
Duty of care is a legal or moral obligation to ensure the safety or wellbeing of others, and, like any other employer, the Ministry of Defence has a duty of care to its employees.
Therefore, if you suffer an injury while you are in the armed forces, you can be make an Armed Forces Compensation Claim (AFCC), if you feel your injury is a result of your employer’s negligence.
Who Can Claim Under an AFCC?
The AFCC applies to all military personnel injured on or after 6 April 2005, whether you are currently serving or not. A military injury is an injury you have suffered while serving in the armed forces, including the army, the navy and the RAF.
This also applies to reservists, and it covers accidents that occurred overseas during any part of your military service.
What Counts as a Military Injury?
A military injury is can cover more things than you realise. They can result from training exercises, from falls, from conditions such as frostbite or hypothermia or collisions involving military vehicles.
Here are some aspects of military service where injuries occur.
- You could have received an injury from being in the gym, on an assault course or during a training exercise.
- It could be an injury involving lifting or loading, or something happening in a workshop.
- Injuries can occur in parachuting, diving, climbing, abseiling and skiing.
- They can occur in armed forces accommodation, at social functions or because of poor weather conditions.
Equipment and Road Injuries
Injuries in the armed forces can result from people handling equipment such as weapons and ammunition, vehicles and specialist kit.
Some sophisticated equipment requires careful, expert handling, which means the personnel involved should have the right training to do so.
There are also occasions where equipment is not fit for purpose, or is lacking, leading to injury.
Road accidents involving military vehicles are responsible for a large proportion of personal injuries in the armed forces.
This can happen while on or off duty, and it can have an impact on future careers, as physical fitness is central to military service.
What Does an Injury Claim Against the Army Involve?
Making a claim against the Ministry of Defence, following an injury during an individual’s service, is a legal process.
It can involve injury, illness or even death, and it must have been caused by being in service.
The AFCS (Armed Forces Compensation Claim) scheme is a no-fault scheme, which means that the Ministry of Defence makes payment without admitting fault. It is separate from any other personal accident cover.
Where the claim involves service-related death, the payment is in the form of benefits to an eligible partner and children.
There is a seven year limit on making a claim, from the time of the injury occurring. Where there is a late-onset illness, you can make a claim within three years of seeking medical advice.
Benefits arising from a successful claim come as a lump sum or guaranteed income payment (GIP).
Normally, with the guaranteed income, this is in addition to the lump sum awarded, and applies to people with more serious injuries or illnesses.