Q: I left the military at the end of 2019 after serving for six years. In the summer before I came out, I was involved in an accident when the vehicle I was driving came off the road. It was later proven that the vehicle had not undergone service checks when they were due, and the accident could be attributed to a fault that would have been rectified if the check had been carried out. I did not sustain any serious injuries at the time but during the latter part of this year I began to suffer severe pain that has now been diagnosed as resulting from whiplash. Can I make a claim against the MoD?
A: As is the case with all employers, the Ministry of Defence has a duty of care to provide appropriate training and equipment and a safe place of work. If that duty of care is breached, resulting in injury and subsequent loss, a claim can be brought.
For injuries caused by unsafe or defective equipment, clinical negligence and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sustained in training accidents and unsafe practices, victims can bring a civil personal injury claim against the MoD. As this type of claim must be brought within three years, claimants should seek legal advice as soon after an accident or becoming aware of related health problems as possible.
A civil claim is dealt with very differently to a claim for injuries sustained during an active operation or ongoing combat, as a claim of that nature would have to be channelled through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. Further, an AFCS claim must be made within seven years of the injury being sustained, rather than within the three years’ limit of a civil claim. You should make an appointment to see a solicitor who specialises in military claims as a matter of urgency.
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Partner and Complaints Handler
Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham