You may have recently settled a claim against the Ministry of Defence (“MOD”) for a personal injury sustained during the course of your service in the military. After receiving your damages payment, you may have spoken with colleagues or your peers who have also settled similar claims and you have discovered that they received more damages than you. As a result, you may be concerned that you have not received adequate compensation for the injuries you suffered. This article sets out what is meant by the term “under-settlement” and what will need to be proved in order for you to succeed in bringing a claim against your former solicitor for any damages you may have lost as a result of their advice.
The meaning of “under-settlement”
In a nutshell, if your claim has been under-settled, it means that you have not received adequate damages for the injuries you have sustained and/or proper compensation for additional losses associated with your injuries.
In a claim against the MOD, your personal injury solicitor may have obtained compensation for your injuries but failed to obtain adequate (or any) damages for your additional losses, known as “Special Damages”. The types of Special Damages that may be applicable in cases where you have been medically discharged from service as a result of a personal injury could include:
- Loss of earnings for the loss of your military career and/or losses resulting from you being disadvantaged on the open labour market as a result of your injuries.
- The loss of benefits that you may have been entitled to had you remained in service, but for your injury.
- The loss of a military pension.
- Compensation for additional heating and clothing (in the case of a non-freezing cold injury) or hearing aids (in a noise-induced hearing loss claim).
- Other miscellaneous losses such as travel expenses for travelling to/from medical appointments.
It may also be the case that inadequate compensation has been achieved for the injury itself.
Bringing a professional negligence claim
To establish a claim against your former personal injury solicitors for failing to achieve adequate damages for you, there are certain criteria that will need to be met, which are:
- That your solicitor owed you a duty of care.
- That the duty of care was breached by your solicitor.
- That the breach of duty caused you to suffer a loss.
If you have entered into a contract for the provision of legal services with your former solicitor (they have been instructed by you to pursue a claim for you against the MOD), it can usually be established that your former solicitor owed you a duty of care.
How we can help
If your claim has been under-settled, it may be possible to establish that your former solicitor has breached their duty of care to you. To establish whether a claim has been under-settled, our specialist Military Department assess what the likely value of your claim would have been and if you received proper advice from your former solicitor. If the damages that you received fall far short of the valuation of your claim, your claim may have been under-settled.
If it can be established that your claim has been significantly undervalued, you will be able to establish that you have suffered a loss as a result of having received inadequate advice on the value of your claim.