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5 December 2023 | Case Study | Military case studies | Article by Nia-Wyn Evans

Cold injuries are preventable injuries and can be a lifelong condition: Andrew’s story

Between May 1994, and August 2017, Andrew served in the British Army. “I decided to join the Army when I was 17. As I have a family history of military service, it seemed a natural step to take at the time.”

Case Study Cold Injury

In the winter of 1996, Andrew faced an unexpected adversary during a two-week exercise in freezing temperatures in Germany. Little did he know that the challenging conditions he endured would lead to a lifelong struggle with cold sensitivity.

In January 1996, during a rigorous exercise in Germany, he endured sub-zero temperatures, sleeping in a Warrior Armour Fighting Vehicle that provided no warmth. Limited opportunities to stay dry and warm, coupled with constantly wet boots, left Andrew’s feet exposed to the harsh elements throughout the exercise.

Post-exercise, Andrew noticed excruciating pain in both his feet. The initial tingling sensation progressed to pins and needles before his feet became numb and took on a waxy white/blue colour.

Seeking help, he reported his injuries to his Section Commander, who, in turn, informed an on-site medic. Unfortunately, the medic’s attempt to rapidly heat Andrew’s feet using an exhaust from a 432 Ambulance only intensified his discomfort.

Unable to complete the exercise, Andrew was transported to the medical centre, where he was diagnosed with a non-freezing cold injury. Hospitalised for five days, he was discharged in February 1996, with orders to avoid outdoor work and stay in the warmth. However, the pain persisted for weeks, and his feet remained cold and numb for several months.

A Lifelong Cold Injury

Andrew’s exposure to cold injury recurred in Canada and Bosnia later that year. Now, at 46 years old, he continues to suffer from lifelong cold sensitivity affecting both feet. The tingling and numbness return when exposed to the cold, limiting his employment opportunities and outdoor activities with his family.

Recognising the impact of his preventable cold injury, Andrew sought legal advice from Hugh James’ specialist military legal team. Under the guidance of lead solicitor Gurminder Sidhu, the team successfully settled Andrew’s case against the Ministry of Defence for £75,000 gross.

Reflecting on the case, Gurminder Sidhu expressed satisfaction in achieving compensation for Andrew, stating:

“After suffering severe symptoms at the time of his cold exposure in service resulting in a diagnosis of Non-freezing Cold injury, Mr. Dodds has been left with lifelong cold sensitivity. I am pleased we were able to settle his claim in respect of his preventable cold injury and agree compensation after negotiations with the MOD.”

Andrew’s Testimonial

Speaking about his experience, Andrew commented on the support he received from Hugh James, saying:

“ The military team was very professional and made the claim process extremely easy. Communication was excellent and advice always provided. I would highly recommend to all who are considering a claim against large organisations.”

His words underscore the importance of seeking specialist legal help for those who have suffered preventable injuries during military service.

Andrew’s journey serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by military personnel and the importance of seeking recourse when preventable injuries occur. If you or a loved one has faced similar challenges, don’t hesitate to reach out to legal experts who understand the unique complexities of military claims. Together, we can ensure that those who serve our country receive the compensation and support they deserve.

Contact our military specialists today to explore your options and seek the compensation you deserve.

Author bio

Nia-Wyn Evans

Senior Associate

Nia-Wyn is a senior associate solicitor with Hugh James. She has specialised in representing military service personnel and veterans bring claims against the Ministry of Defence, with a particular interest in cold related injuries.

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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