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13 April 2022 | Comment | Article by Simon Ellis

An important day for cold injury personal injury claims

Cold Injuries are complex and can be a life-altering injury impacting mainly service personnel. Often sustained after significant exposure to cold and/or wet conditions for an extended period of time, these injuries are almost unique to service personnel due to the nature of their training and exercises.

Although common within military circles, very little is known about this type of injury outside of the armed forces. The majority of the general public are understandably unaware that injuries, sharing similarities with the infamous Trench foot of the First World War, are still prevalent even today.

Yesterday marked an important day surrounding Cold Injuries as, for the first time the Judicial College Guidelines have published guidelines on Cold Injuries to determine the value of the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by cold injuries.

The Judicial College Guidelines provide judges and lawyers with guidance when determining the financial value of personal injury claims. This provides guidance to enable legal practitioners to seek a consistent amount of damages as per each personal injury claim. The guidelines ensure that the amount of damages awarded in each claim is fairly awarded.

The assessment of general damages for Cold Injuries has been published today for the first time in Chapter 8 (c) of the 16th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines. The guidelines have assessed the value of Cold Injury claims as follows:

  • The value of less serious cold injuries that have resulted in intermittent yet manageable discomfort begin at £15,000.
  • Cold injuries that are more serious, that cause continuous discomfort and are difficult to manage even with warm clothing are valued at a preliminary £32,500.
  • More serious injuries again that can be described as chronic injuries can be valued at £28,000 to upwards of £84,000 and more depending on the severity of the injury.

This update to the guidelines is encouraging to those who who are seeking compensation with the comfort of knowing that these guidelines exist and can be referred to when deciding to bring a Cold Injury Claim.

From the perspective of legal practitioners, this guidance provides a positive future outlook to Cold Injury claims. Henceforth, the consistency that the guidance offers can ensure that Cold Injury claims can proceed more efficiently, providing better and quicker results for our clients.

If you’ve suffered a non-freezing cold injury during your time in service, past or present, contact our military team.

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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