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8 May 2019 | Comment | Article by Simon Ellis

MoD to pay £500K+ to former Royal Marine suffering from chronic hearing loss

Judgement announced: Alistair Inglis vs MoD

It has been announced today that former Royal Marine, Alistair Inglis, 39, will be awarded £545,766.60 from the Ministry of Defence after it was proven that his hearing loss was caused by sustained and unprotected exposure to extraordinary noise levels during combat and in training.

This final judgement follows a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London from 4-7 March.

The MoD had already admitted liability for Mr Inglis’ injuries ahead of the hearing on an 80/20% basis in favour of Mr Inglis, acknowledging that it had failed in its duty of care during his years in service.

We welcome today’s judgement, which acknowledges the avoidable suffering and damage caused by the lack of protection of the hearing of our armed forces.

The compensation awarded recognises the significant impact that Mr Inglis’ injuries will have on his earning capacity, both now and for much of the rest of his life.

The judge has rightly considered the detrimental effect of Mr Inglis’ hearing loss on his civilian career options, taking into account approximately 20 years of reduced earnings over the remainder of his working life, as well as a significant loss of pension. Mr Inglis will also have to pay for essential, costly hearing aids for the rest of his life.

Hearing loss is a huge issue for many members of our armed forces, with estimates suggesting over 300,000 ex-service personnel currently living with hearing loss in the UK. It impacts many parts of a sufferer’s life and the consequences of living with it cannot easily be understated.

While everyone accepts that extraordinary noise levels are part and parcel of military life, by admitting liability ahead of the hearing on an 80%/20% basis in favour of Mr Inglis, the MoD has acknowledged that it could and should have done more to protect its personnel from hearing loss.

The award announced today goes some way to allowing Mr Inglis to move on with his life after his employer failed to protect him, in a job where he was putting his life on the line to protect his country.

We’re receiving a significant number of enquiries every week from military men and women whose lives have been adversely affected by hearing loss suffered during service to their country.

In some cases, we’re speaking with individuals in their 40s, 30s and even 20s who, like Mr Inglis, will now need high quality private hearing aids costing many thousands of pounds for the rest of their lives, as well as seeing a detrimental effect on their ability to find future employment.

We hope that the judge’s decision announced today provides reassurance to current and former military personnel that they are entitled to pursue justice by bringing their case to court. We urge anyone facing similar hearing loss to get in touch by visiting our military deafness page.

Type Approx. amount
General damages £25,000 plus £1,000 interest
Loss of congenial employment £8,000 plus £320.00 interest
Loss of earnings to date -£24,133.30
Loss of benefits to date £7,662.36
Miscellaneous past losses 0
Future loss of earnings £257,518.00
Future loss of benefits £562.19
Future loss of pension £351,313
Future claim for hearing aids £54,919

Hearing loss and work: the issue

According to the Royal British Legion, there are over 300,000 ex-service personnel currently living with hearing loss in the UK, and veterans aged between 16-74 are around three and a half times more likely to suffer with hearing problems than the UK under-75 population.

According to Action on Hearing Loss, people with hearing loss are four times more likely to be unemployed than a hearing person.

Noise-induced hearing loss can make it very challenging to work in an office environment or a job where meetings involve a number of people as it can be difficult to hold a conversation in an environment where there is background noise. This can limit career progression for those with hearing loss.

About Hugh James

Hugh James is one of the UK’s leading law firms. Its specialist teams represent individuals and groups throughout England, Wales and worldwide, seeking justice for those affected by catastrophic personal injury.

Hugh James has helped thousands of people who have suffered catastrophic personal injury, extending to areas including sexual abuse, clinical negligence, workplace related illnesses (industrial disease), environmental nuisance, and military legal services. The firm’s specialist teams have significant experience in working on complex and high-profile cases, including group actions, where more than one person’s life has been affected by the actions of an individual or an institution.

A Top 100 firm, employing a team of more than 700 employees, including 60+ partners, Hugh James has ranked for many years in the top tiers in both Chambers UK Guide and the Legal 500 for personal injury claims.

While all claims are different and your outcome may differ from Mr Inglis’, we urge anyone facing similar hearing loss to get in touch by visiting our military deafness page.

Author bio

Simon Ellis is a Partner with Hugh James and has worked with the firm for more than 25 years, having trained and qualified here. Simon heads up the Military Department, advising and assisting current and former military personnel with various health conditions and injuries. He specialises in claims such as hearing loss, non-freezing cold injuries, compartment syndrome and military injury cases. He is often asked to advise on more unusual claims in the military context.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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