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9 May 2022 | Case Study | Article by Nia-Wyn Evans

Still suffering from a Non-Freezing cold injury after serving in the Army in the 1990s: Mr B’s story

Mr B served with HM Army between 1991 and 1997 and suffered a Non-Freezing Cold Injury (NFCI) whilst on a promotional course which has impacted his everyday life since he has left the Army. This injury resulted in medical discharge and brought his military service to an end.

Mr B explains, “For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to join the Army. I joined the Army in 1991 aged 16 and completed my basic training. I was young, fit, healthy and thrived in the military environment. I had hoped to stay in the Military for the duration of my career.

In March 1996, I was completing the promotional course to become an Non commission officer (NCO) in Brecon. The conditions were very cold at approximately -12 degrees. I was not issued the correct waterproof or cold weather boots for the course. I was made to go through cold water and mud, making my kit very wet and cold.

We slept outdoors in a sleeping bag and poncho every night which made drying clothes difficult. I would therefore have to wear wet/damp clothing through the night. I was cold throughout the course and struggled to warm up for the duration.

A few days into the course my feet became numb, and I had sharp pains in my feet. I attempted to report this to the chain of command who told me that everybody was cold and to get on with it.

On return to camp at the end of the course, I ran a hot bath to warm up. This left me in unbearable pain, and I was hospitalised for a week.

Following my hospital admission, I was medically downgraded for a year. My injury prevented me from being promoted to an NCO despite passing the promotional course. A year later my symptoms returned as the weather worsened. My injury resulted in a medical discharge.

My cold injury meant that I lost my military career, the opportunity to promote in service as well as the opportunity to receive a full military pension. I was told I was medically unfit for any form of service due to my cold injury. This really upset me and has impacted my mental health.

It has been difficult to come to terms with no longer being in service. I have not received the same enjoyment and life has not been the same since sustaining my cold injury.

During the winter, I am faced with greater challenges when wanting to take my children to outdoor activities. I can no longer maintain physical activities when it is cold and wet that I used to enjoy, including running and playing football.

Hugh James has a team that specialises in military claims, and they were able to expertly guide me through my claim from start to finish. I was able to speak to a solicitor who explained my right to bring a claim in the courts for injury during service, including NFCI.”

Mr B’s claim settled out of court for a (gross) figure of £475,000, which included his past loss of earnings and future loss of earnings.

Nia-Wyn Evans, Senior Associate Solicitor in the military claims team, comments on Mr B’s case:

NFCI has had a profound impact on Mr B’s service and life. Mr B was highly regarded by his peers and was committed to a life in service and his promotion. I am pleased that we have been able to secure Mr B’s settlement for his injury and for the impact his injury has had, and continues to have, on his life. Having worked closely with Mr B for a number of years, I hope that this settlement will provide an element of closure to this part of his life.

If you suffer from a cold injury due to serving in the Military, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with our specialist military solicitors today.

Author bio

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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