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Military accidents compensation claims

People in the armed services accept that their job can place them in dangerous situations, and military accidents can happen – carrying a greater risk of injury than in civilian life.

The nature of military service is very different to civilian employment. But a member of the armed forces is still eligible to claim workplace injury compensation if they are injured in military accidents during service. The Ministry of Defence still owes a duty of care to their military personnel.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) duty of care

Armed forces personnel cannot always claim compensation for injuries sustained in military accidents in combat situations, however the Ministry of Defence owes a duty of care to its service personnel in the same way as any civilian employer. This duty of care broadly means that they must supply their employees with safe systems of work, appropriate work equipment and sufficient training.

Military injuries for personnel

Whether you were on or off duty as a member of the armed forces, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation if you have suffered a personal injury in a military accident whilst employed in any of the following:

  • Army (regular or territorial)
  • Royal Navy (RN)
  • Royal Air Force (RAF)

Typical military accidents

Hugh James military accident lawyers and employer liability solicitors deal with military accident claims for injured members of the army, Royal Navy and RAF who have sustained injuries as a result of:

  • road traffic accidents
  • military training exercises
  • parachuting accidents
  • fires and explosives
  • inadequate and faulty equipment and machinery
  • fatal accidents
  • mountaineering
  • vehicles
  • sports and adventure training (including assault courses)
  • manual handling
  • workplace violence
  • chemical accidents
  • exposure to harmful substances
  • medical treatment

Consequences of a personal injury in the military

The impact of a military accident and workplace injury, particularly a serious one, can have a fundamental effect on the individual and their family. Physical pain, discomfort and financial losses are just some of the more common consequences; individuals may also require surgery, therapy and other such treatments. In extreme workplace injury cases, individuals may suffer psychological problems, which may warrant further costs, treatment and therapy.

Military accident claims

If you are a member of the armed forces, or a former member, and you were injured in a military accident whilst employed by the Ministry of Defence you may be entitled to claim compensation. Contact one of our military accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Where possible, our cases are funded on a no win, no fee basis.

Hugh James military accident lawyers

Hugh James has one of the largest personal injury and accident legal teams in England, and the biggest department of military accident lawyers in Wales. We have a dedicated military accident personal injury claims department which has a vast amount of experience in dealing with claims for accidents at work and securing military compensation for those injured within their employment in the armed forces. We treat each client exactly the same whether their injury is minor or major. Contact us today for free advice on military accident claims, with no obligation.

Key contact

Simon Ellis


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.

Your questions answered

Historically it wasn’t possible to bring a civil claim against the MoD for an injury or illness caused through service. This was referred to as Crown Immunity. It was removed for military personnel on 15 May 1987. It is possible to claim against the MoD for any injuries or illnesses sustained during service after this date.

Compensation is made up of general damages and special damages. The amount payable depends on the nature of the injury or illness.

General damages are paid for the pain and suffering caused by the injury or illness. They are a lump sum payment and are based on the conclusions of the medical expert instructed to report on the condition.

Special damages cover specific individual costs or losses incurred or to be incurred in the future. These losses may include past or future earnings lost as a result of the injury, the costs of equipment such as hearing aids to help in a noise induced hearing loss claim or the costs of changes and adaptations to the home, required following a serious injury through service.

We will fully advise on the level of damages payable in individual claims.

Many clients believe they are unable to bring a civil claim whilst they are still serving. This is not correct. It is possible to claim whilst someone is in the armed forces. Moreover, delaying in bringing a claim until after you have left can result in the claim being denied as being brought too late.

Anyone thinking of bringing a claim should seek urgent legal advice as soon as possible, even if they are still serving. You should never wait until leaving the forces to do so, as the time limits that apply may result in you being prevented from proceeding with your case.

The criteria used for a claim under the WPS or AFCS are different to those used by the courts in civil claim. It is not uncommon for successful civil claims to be brought in cases where the WPS / AFCS claim was rejected. If your WPS / AFCS claim was turned down, you should still seek legal advice about a possible civil claim.

Not all firms of solicitors specialise in military claims. Different solicitors will not always approach the same case in the same way. Hugh James has successfully dealt with a number of cases previously turned down by other solicitors. Even if you have been turned away in the past it is still worth seeking legal advice from military specialist solicitors.

Almost all claims handled by Hugh James are dealt with under a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee). If your claim is not successful, it won’t cost you anything.

It is usually necessary to bring court proceedings in a civil claim within three years of becoming aware of an injury or illness and the fact this was caused by military service. Predicting when this three-year period begins and ends is not always easy, particularly for conditions such as hearing loss which often develop over a period of time.

Where a claim is brought outside this three-year period, the MoD will often argue the claim is out of time. You would then need to ask the court to waive the deadline and allow the claim to proceed out of time but there is no guarantee they will do so.

There is no need to wait until you have finished service before bringing a claim. Where possible any claim should be brought within the three-year period. If you are outside this time limit you should consult specialist military solicitors and bring your claim as soon as possible, as any further delay is likely to reduce the chances of the court allowing your claim to proceed.

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