Armed forces compensation
If you have sustained an injury whilst serving in the armed forces, you may be entitled to make a military injury compensation claim
How Much Could You Claim?

Military Injury Claims

A career in the military is among the most dangerous jobs a person can have. That said, all armed forces personnel are entitled to protection from the military against unnecessary risks. Where possible, the army, navy, air force and royal marines must eliminate dangers posed to the military personnel.

Just like other employers, the armed forces are legally obliged to provide as safe a working environment as possible, and employees in this field should be able to rely on regular risk assessments and safety measures.

In previous decades, it would have been difficult to claim against the armed forces while remaining a serving member. However, current legislation means that those in the military can now access compensation for injuries, illnesses and losses incurred due to their occupation without the risk of negative impacts on their career or working conditions.

To find out if you could make a military injury claim following your accident, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back. An experienced legal adviser will offer you a free consultation to discuss your case and explain your legal options.

Am I eligible to make a military injury claim?

The Ministry of Defence (MOD), just like other employers, has a duty of care to their employees to eliminate or minimise unnecessary dangers and risks to health and safety. If the military has breached this duty and you have suffered an injury as a result, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

To be successful in your case, your solicitor will need to prove that the MOD was at fault for your accident and that this accident resulted in the injuries you sustained. They will typically achieve this by gathering evidence from medical experts, witnesses and other sources. This evidence could include:

  • Photographs of the accident scene and what caused it, such as defective equipment, before anything is removed or repaired;
  • Pictures of any visible injuries and a photographic journal of your recovery process;
  • Medical records related to the injuries you suffered and the treatments you received;
  • A review from an independent specialist about the long-term effects of your injuries and your future care needs;
  • Copies of any investigation reports carried out into your accident;
  • Contact details of witnesses who could provide a statement about what they saw to help establish liability;
  • A copy of an accident report book entry to show the date, time and location where you were injured;
  • Documents related to all the financial losses you incurred due to the accident;
  • Video recordings, if the incident was captured by a security camera or recorded for training purposes.

If you have a valid military injury claim and you decide to proceed, your injury lawyer will help you gather all the evidence you need to secure compensation. They will also deal directly with your employer and negotiate your settlement so that you can focus on your recovery.

How do I claim military injury compensation?

The Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act 1987 was introduced to allow people working within the armed forces to bring personal injury claims against the MoD. Under this Act, any member of the armed forces who has suffered from an illness or injury while serving in the military is legally entitled to claim damages and losses. The options available to secure military compensation are somewhat different from the standard methods for other workplace accidents.

Military personnel can claim compensation for injuries sustained during service in two different ways. They are:

  • Starting a claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
  • Making a civil law claim against the Ministry of Defence

The AFCS processes claims without you having to prove who was at fault. That means that if it is challenging to show who or what caused an accident and subsequent injury or illness, the AFCS may still be able to process a military claim. The only requirement under the AFCS is that the claimant can demonstrate that the injuries were sustained during their service in the military.

The alternative option available to members of the military is to pursue a civil claim. As with all other civil claims for personal injuries, such as road accidents, slips and trips and medical negligence, you would need to prove that:

  • You were owed a duty of care
  • A breach of this duty of care was the cause of your injury
  • You were injured in the past three years

It is technically possible to claim both routes, although this would not result in two compensation payments. Instead, you will receive the highest of the two amounts awarded.

An experienced and knowledgeable solicitor will be happy to assess the details of your case during a free consultation. They will offer you expert advice as to the likely success of making a military injury claim and recommend the best route to take based on your circumstances.

What is the process of making a military accident claim under civil law?

If the MOD has failed in its duty to protect you from risks as far as reasonably possible, you could make a military injuries compensation claim under civil law. The first thing you should do if you want to take legal action is to contact a military claims solicitor for a free consultation.

They can assess the merits of your case and support you throughout the legal process. If you have a valid claim, they will work with you to gather evidence. As stated above, this could include medical records, incident reports and witness statements. Once you have all the necessary proof to establish liability, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the MOD.

The Ministry of Defence will have four months to investigate your claim and how you acquired your injury. At the end of this period, they will either accept or deny liability for your accident. In the meantime, your solicitor will arrange any rehabilitation or treatment you may need and calculate your military injury compensation.

If the MOD admits liability, your military claims solicitors will negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Otherwise, your claim will transfer to court proceedings. Even so, most cases are resolved before trial. If you have to go to court and argue your case before a judge, your personal injury lawyer will support you throughout the process. Whether you settle or win the military claim at trial, you should receive the compensation award within four weeks.

Many people fear that claiming against the military will hurt their careers. Nonetheless, you should know there are dismissal laws in place to prevent you from being discriminated against. It is your legal right to claim compensation if you were injured due to negligence, and you should not be fired, demoted, or discriminated against in any way for choosing to do so. If you made an honest claim and suffered repercussions, your solicitor could help you make an unfair or constructive dismissal claim against the MOD.

Employer duty of care to protect military personnel from injuries

The Ministry of Defence has a legal duty of care towards its employees. It must follow the health and safety legislation, particularly the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, just like other employers. This Act requires several things from your employer, including:

  • Provide a safe and healthy working environment
  • Provide adequate training to enhance your skills, knowledge and capabilities
  • Make sure there are no risks to your health when handling, storing or transporting work goods
  • Make sure you have the proper clothing and equipment for the job and that these are adequately maintained
  • Ensure the military vehicles are in good working order
  • Carry out risk assessments to identify hazards that could cause injuries
  • Provide suitable accommodation and facilities that meet basic living standards
  • Provide access to medical care and support for both physical and mental health issues
  • Protect employees from harassment, bullying and discrimination

If the MOD fails in its duties to protect your safety and well-being and you suffer damages, you can most likely make a military injury claim. To find out if you are entitled to compensation, enter your details into our online claim form to receive a free consultation with one of the specialist military claims solicitors we partner with.

What is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) enables serving soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to feel secure knowing they can access damages even in incidents where the military is not liable for injury or illnesses sustained.

This scheme was set up by the government to provide compensation to military personnel injured due to their service on or after 6th April 2005. Family members and dependents of someone who has died on duty can also claim through the AFCS.

Unlike a military negligence claim under civil law, the AFCS is a no-fault scheme. That means you do not have to prove your injury was due to someone else’s negligence. You only need to show that you were injured while on duty.

The AFCS uses a tariff system with 15 levels which reflect the severity of the injury. Level 1 is associated with the most severe injuries, and level 15 with the least serious. The maximum lump sum payable for the most profound injuries sustained in a single accident is currently £650,000. Individuals who receive this level of compensation will also be entitled to the highest level of income stream, which can amount to £1 million or more over their lifetime. That results in a claim for compensation with a value of over £1.5 million.

If you suffered a long-lasting injury with an ongoing impact, you can also receive a monthly income payment. It is known as a Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) and is paid for life, tax-free and inflation-proof. The GIP is based on your age and basic salary at the time you left service and the severity of your injuries.

If you or a loved one suffered a significant injury within the past six months, you can claim a fast payment from the AFCS worth £61,800.

While you can start a claim through the AFCS on your own, a solicitor can offer invaluable help with gathering the evidence you need to secure the highest compensation award you are entitled to.

What types of accidents could lead to a military claim?

If you suffered an injury due to the MOD’s negligence or breach of duty, you could make an injury compensation claim. The most common types of military accidents include:

  • Training accidents due to faulty equipment, insufficient planning or lack of safety measures;
  • Vehicle accidents during training exercises, operational deployments, or routine activities involving military vehicles;
  • Slips, trips and falls caused by various factors, such as uneven terrain, inadequate footwear, obstacles in walkways or poor lighting;
  • Friendly fire incidents due to communication challenges, limited visibility and insufficient training;
  • Injuries caused by defective or unsafe equipment, such as faulty weapons, heavy machinery, body armour or diving gear;
  • Medical negligence like misdiagnosis, surgical errors or misprescription of Lariam can cause avoidable injuries;
  • Exposure to harmful substances, such as toxic gases, nerve agents, asbestos and other toxic materials can result in both immediate and long-term health effects;
  • Heat and cold injuries suffered during deployments or training exercises in extreme weather conditions;
  • Fatal accidents due to friendly fire, inadequate or poorly maintained equipment, or preventable vehicle accidents;
  • Workplace violence, such as bullying, harassment and abuse;
  • Exposure to unsafe noise levels caused by explosions, gunfire, aircraft and vehicle engines can cause permanent hearing damage.

This list is not exhaustive, and many other accidents could lead to injuries suffered by military personnel. If you were injured on duty and want to claim military compensation, call 0800 032 3660 today to speak to a legal adviser. They can let you know if your case has merit and answer any questions you may have.

Common injuries or illnesses leading to a military accident claim

Military training and combat can lead to many minor, life-changing, and even fatal injuries. The most common types seen in military injury claims include:

  • Head and brain injuries caused by falls, blasts or combat-related trauma. These injuries can lead to cognitive, emotional, and physical challenges. Symptoms may range from mild headaches to severe mental impairments.
  • Spinal cord injuries can have profound effects on mobility and sensory function. They can lead to varying degrees of paralysis and need extensive rehabilitation and support.
  • Amputations. Explosions, accidents, and combat situations can result in the traumatic loss of limbs. This loss can have significant physical and psychological impacts.
  • Military hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises, explosions, gunfire, and machinery can damage hearing. Hearing impairment can affect communication, job performance, and overall quality of life.
  • Cold injuries. Exposure to extreme cold weather can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. These can cause severe damage to the body’s extremities and overall health. Proper training, equipment, and preventive measures are essential to avoid cold-related injuries.
  • Heat injuries. Military personnel operating in hot climates or engaging in strenuous activities are at risk of heat-related injuries such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Adequate hydration, rest, and appropriate protective gear are vital to prevent these injuries.
  • Burns can result from exposure to open flames, explosions, chemicals, and other sources of extreme heat. They can cause severe pain, scarring, and long-term physical and psychological consequences.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Exposure to traumatic events, particularly in combat situations, can lead to PTSD. PTSD may cause flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and emotional distress, requiring specialised mental health support and treatment.
  • Fatal injuries in the military can occur due to combat operations, accidents, or unsafe practices. Family members of military personnel who died during service may be entitled to military injury compensation.

If you were injured due to the negligence of your employer, you could start a military claim. Alternatively, you could claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Can I claim compensation if a loved one died while serving in the armed forces?

If a loved one suffered a fatal injury on duty, a solicitor could help you start a military accident compensation claim. Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, any dependent of the deceased could claim compensation from the negligent party, including:

  • Their spouse or former spouse
  • A civil partner or former civil partner
  • Someone living in the same household as their spouse for at least three years before their death
  • A child or another descendant
  • A parent or another ascendant
  • Anyone treated as a parent or child
  • Siblings, uncles and aunts

Dependency claims generally cover two areas: loss of income and loss of service. A financial dependency claim will include lost wages, benefits, and other financial contributions the deceased would have provided to their dependents. You can also receive compensation for the services your loved one would have continued to provide, such as caregiving, household management and childcare.

If your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death, you can also recover funeral expenses like the cost of a memorial and the headstone. Under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, you can also claim past financial losses incurred between the accident and the date of death. These could include lost wages, medical expenses and costs of care and assistance.

A limited number of dependents are also entitled to bereavement damages for pain and suffering, including spouses and civil partners. The current bereavement award has a value of £15,120.

Are there any time limits for making a claim?

There are different time limits in place for starting a military injury claim, which will depend on the route you choose to follow.

The time limit for beginning a claim through the AFCS is seven years from the incident that caused your illness or injury. However, if an injury is not diagnosed or linked to your military service until later, the time limit begins from this date of knowledge. Typically, it takes around six months to receive military compensation from the AFCS.

If you decide to make a military claim under civil law, you will have three years from the date of the accident to begin legal proceedings. The claim limitation date is set out by the Limitation Act 1980. If you miss this deadline, your case will become time-barred, and the court will no longer accept it. Several exceptions may apply to your case:

  • If the injury was diagnosed later after the accident, the three years start to run from the date of knowledge.
  • If the claimant has suffered a traumatic brain injury or PTSD and cannot handle a case, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any time.
  • If you suffered an injury due to a violent crime while on duty abroad, you could claim Criminal Injuries (Overseas) Compensation within two years of the incident.
  • If you lost a loved one in a military accident, the three-year time limit begins on the date of death.

No matter how long you have left before the time limit, the sooner you start your military injury claim, the better. This will make it easier to talk to witnesses and gather evidence to support your case. Moreover, your solicitor can help you with the recovery and may also be able to secure interim payments on your behalf.

You can find more information about the time limits for making a claim here: How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?

How much compensation can I claim for a military accident?

The compensation you could receive in a military claim will depend on various factors. Firstly, it will depend on the type and severity of the trauma you have suffered. The more severe your symptoms and their impact on your life, the higher the compensation amount will be. The award for the physical injury is based on general damages such as:

  • The pain and suffering it has caused you
  • The related mental and emotional distress
  • Psychological injuries like depression and anxiety
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Reduced quality of life or life expectancy

Additionally, the awarded damages will factor in any related financial losses, known as special damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses like prescriptions and private care
  • Lost earnings during recovery
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Travel costs related to treatment
  • Damage to personal belongings
  • Costs of assistance with daily activities
  • Medical aids like prostheses and hearing devices
  • Required modifications to your home or vehicle

You will be asked to provide comprehensive information and evidence related to your losses. These may include incident records, medical assessments, treatment details, and, if feasible, witness statements and photographs. Once your solicitor has assembled a robust case to support your claim, they will engage in negotiations to secure the highest possible settlement on your behalf.

General damages are awarded according to the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. You can refer to our compensation calculator to learn more about how much you could receive for a successful military injury claim.

Do military claims solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service?

If you have a valid claim for military compensation, the solicitors we work with will take on your case on a no win no fee* basis. That means you will not have to pay a single penny upfront to receive legal representation and support. You only have to pay your solicitor a success fee if and after you receive the compensation you are rightfully owed.

This success fee cannot exceed 25% of your settlement and will be decided from the beginning. There will be no surprises or hidden charges you have to worry about. If you lose the claim, you do not have to pay anything at all to your solicitor.

Furthermore, the no win no fee service will include an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy. The ATE is a legal expenses insurance that will cover all the costs incurred by you and the defendant during litigation if your case fails. These include the defendant’s solicitor, court fees and disbursements such as travel expenses.

The no win no fee agreement provides peace of mind, as you will not be left out of pocket if your case is unsuccessful.

To find out if you have a valid military accident claim, contact us by calling 0800 032 3660 or use our online claim form to speak to a legal adviser. This service is completely free and provided with no obligation to proceed.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.