Whether you can make a personal injury claim for accident compensation is dependent on a number of eligibility criteria which we will list below. Armed Forces personnel have been able to make such claims since 1987 and contrary to popular belief you do not have to have left the military before you can do so.
Before we detail the factors that might prevent you being able to make a personal injury claim it needs to be explained that making such a claim might not be your only route to compensation. If the accident in which you suffered your injury occurred before April 6th 2005 you might be able to make claim for a War Pension Payment and if it occurred on or after that date you could make a ‘no fault’ claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) (providing the claim was made within seven years of your accident occurring). However, the amount of compensation you could hope to receive through the AFCS would be generally only a fraction of that which you could expect from a personal injury claim.
The reasons you might not be able to make such a personal injury claim or which might affect the amount of compensation awarded are as follows:
1. You were entirely to blame for your accident.
2. It is more than three years since your accident occurred.
3. Your employer had not been negligent in carrying out his legal health and safety duties to ensure a safe workplace and ensure as far as practicable your health safety and welfare.
4. If your employer was negligent as above, your accident wasn’t a reasonably foreseeable consequence of that negligence.
5. Your accident occurred in a combat zone. Your employer can then claim that ‘combat immunity’ applies and that they can’t be held responsible. This applies even if you weren’t engaged in combat yourself.
6. Your accident happened in a foreign country and the negligent or careless party was a national of that same country. You would have to contact a personal injury lawyer in that country to make a claim under their law.
7. You have never served in the military. You must have served or be currently serving in a military or in civilian capacity and your accident must have been caused by that service.
Some of the issues covered above can be complex and require the astute mind of a seasoned work accident solicitor who specialises in military accidents. Such a professional will be used to dealing with the legal bureaucracy peculiar to the Ministry of Defence, their legal department and their insurers who deal with claims. They will also have many useful contacts with military welfare organisation. Describing such a solicitor as an ‘invaluable asset’ when it comes to making your claim, doesn’t begin to do them justice.
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