Military Injuries. Personal Legal Services

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1 Military Injuries Personal Legal Services

2 This information relates to the law and procedures in England and Wales. Please contact us if you need advice about the law and procedure in other legal jurisdictions. I would like to thank you for everything you have done for Ben. You have fought incredibly hard to ensure that injured soldiers, like my son, get the support and compensation they deserve and which will help them to live the best quality life possible. Without your professional knowledge, patience and expertise, there would not have been such a successful outcome. We will always be grateful for the difference you have made. - Diane Dernie, Mother of Ben Parkinson 2

3 We understand military culture and the unique issues connected with having an accident on duty. Our specialist military injury claims team, which includes former service personnel, can guide you through this difficult time and help you get the compensation you deserve. Introduction Serving in the Armed Forces is a dangerous job. There are risks involved in combat and it is inevitable that people will be injured. However, the Ministry of Defence [MoD] has a responsibility to minimise those risks where possible. If you suffer an avoidable injury during military service, just as in any other job, you may be able to claim against the MoD for failing to properly protect you. Due to the physical nature of military service there are a large number of common causes of personal injuries including: Assault courses and adventure training Aviation incidents Bullying, harassment and assault Diving and maritime vessel accidents Equipment failures Hearing loss due to noise exposure Negligent discharge of weapons Non-freezing cold injury Parachuting Road traffic accidents on and off duty Training exercises Vehicle-related incidents Weapons, fires and explosive incidents. We can represent you in claims relating to these and other circumstances whether you serve in the Army, Navy or RAF. With Irwin Mitchell you can be assured that specialist solicitors will fight hard to secure compensation, as well as offering guidance on the types of welfare support that might be available to you and your family after an accident. 3

4 Why use Irwin Mitchell? Irwin Mitchell is one of the largest and most experienced personal injury law firms in the country. Our reputation for helping people with military injuries is second to none and every year we recover millions of pounds of compensation for people who have been injured on or off duty. Specialist team Our specialist team provides a sympathetic and understanding service, supporting you throughout the claim process and seeking the justice you deserve. Our initial consultations are no-obligation. We know that talking to a solicitor about a claim can be sensitive when you re in the military, so you can be sure that our service is strictly confidential. This applies equally in instances where a military incident has led to the death of a loved one and the claim is being brought by relatives. In all cases, we will; Pursue your claim fearlessly and tirelessly, with confidence that we can achieve a positive conclusion Relieve you of any stress relating to your case, as far as it is possible for us to do so Explain each stage of the process clearly, so that you understand what we are doing on your behalf. 4

5 How can we help? Seeing the effects of military injuries first hand has led us to campaign for research and legislative change to improve the quality of treatment available to victims. We have a long history of campaigning, fundraising and working with leading organisations in the Armed Forces welfare field, including: Army Families Federation Army Welfare Service BLESMA Blind Veterans UK Combat Stress Defence Medical Welfare Services Help for Heroes Pilgrim Bandits Regimental Associations SSAFA Forces Help The Royal British Legion Troop Aid. Together with these organisations, we seek improvements in health and safety, quality of life and levels of compensation for service personnel who have suffered injury or been involved in fatal accidents. Our legal support for the campaign of Ben Parkinson helped to introduce a significant increase in Armed Forces Compensation awards for seriously injured servicemen and women. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on: or visit: you can also follow us on 5

6 When can I make a claim? You cannot make a claim against the MoD for accidents or illnesses caused by events occurring before May Claims after that date can be made within a set time period whether you are still serving or have left the Armed Forces or are about to be medically discharged. The time limit for most claims is three years from the date of the accident, or when you realised you were injured. However, that limit varies depending on the type of claim, where it happened and the facts of your case. When you contact Irwin Mitchell, we will give you clear advice about the time limits that apply to your claim. Contacting us promptly enables us to begin our investigations into the circumstances of your injury, which is crucial to securing the evidence and documents needed to give your claim the best chance of success. Do I have a case? If you can prove that either the MoD or someone else was at fault and you can prove that your injuries and illness are related to work, you can make a claim for compensation. Even if you re unsure whether you have a claim - or you think you may be at fault it s always worth calling us. We ll assess your case free of charge, tell you what we think and then you can decide if you want to go ahead. What are my chances of winning? We have a long track record of winning compensation cases where our client initially thought they did not have a claim before taking advice from us. When you contact us we will give you realistic advice on the chances of winning based on the information you provide. It is not possible to give a definitive answer on any case. However, the more information we have the more accurate an assessment we can make. Off duty accidents Our specialist military department also represent members of the armed forces who are injured off duty due to the fault of another person, such as road traffic accidents. Our clients have the benefit of knowing that their solicitor has an excellent understanding of the impact of their injury on their military career and the financial loss that may result. We also represent service personnel who have suffered from assault in a criminal injury whether in Great Britain or overseas under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. 6

7 How much will it cost? Don t worry about legal costs. Contacting us for initial advice on your claim will cost you nothing even our phone number is free to call. If we advise you to pursue a claim with us, we will review all the options for funding it. Options for funding your claim There are a number of ways to fund your case. These include; Conditional Fee Agreement commonly known as a No Win No Fee agreement PAX Legal Expenses Insurance offered as part of PAX Personal Accident Insurance Legal Expenses Insurance as part of your household or car insurance you may have legal expenses cover to help with any legal costs Trade Union if you are a member of a trade union they may provide assistance for some legal issues. New Legislation The Government introduced some changes to how legal costs and funding for personal injury cases will work from 1 April Due to these changes you will no longer be able to recover all of your legal costs from your opponent. Whilst all of your legal costs can no longer be recovered from your opponent, it is likely that you will still recover the substantial majority of your basic legal costs. If you do not have access to legal expenses insurance or trade union assistance, your best option may be to consider a No Win No Fee agreement. Even if you do have access to other funding options, a No Win No Fee agreement may still be the best option for you. When we discuss your claim in more detail we will tell you if the No Win No Fee option is available or if we need to look at the other funding options above. 7

8 How a No Win No Fee agreement can work for you The Government has provided a 10% increase in the amount awarded to you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The advantage of a No Win No Fee agreement, combined with an insurance policy designed to protect you, is that there is no financial risk to you if you are unsuccessful.* If you win: Your opponent will pay the majority of our basic legal costs and disbursements (e.g. court fees, medical reports) If you win, any costs not payable by your opponent will include: - The premium for your insurance policy to protect you fully against any risk of legal costs - Some of your basic legal costs which cannot be recovered from your opponent - A success fee which compensates us for the risk that if it was unsuccessful then we would not recover any legal fees at all If you win, you won t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket until your claim has successfully come to an end and then any of the costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you If any disbursements cannot be recovered from your opponent these will be covered by your insurance policy There are no hidden costs. You will receive regular updates about the costs being charged to your case and any costs not recovered from your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you To help you with your legal costs, the Government has provided a 10% increase in the amount awarded to you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. If you lose: We can promise you, there is no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful* You won t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket whilst your claim is being pursued We would make no charge whatsoever to you You will be fully covered by your insurance policy for any disbursements You will be fully protected by your insurance policy from any of your opponent`s legal costs There are no hidden costs. You will receive regular updates about the costs at key stages throughout your case so you are fully aware of the charges involved. If unsuccessful there is no financial risk to you.* We will do everything we can to protect and support you to proceed with your claim and we will keep you updated at all times. Remember, there is absolutely no financial risk to you or your family if you are unsuccessful.* * Subject to entering into a No Win No Fee agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Litigate insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms. 8

9 How much compensation will I get? The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the seriousness of your injury, how it has affected your life, how much money you have lost or will lose as a consequence and whether you will need extra support in the future. Individually assessed We will advise you at the outset on how your opponent`s insurers and the courts approach the assessment of compensation and how that will apply to your case. However, it is important to bear in mind that everyone is different and the consequences of the same injury in terms of working life and home-life will vary from person to person. We have a track record of specialist knowledge in assessing compensation that can be claimed, for example as a result of discharge from the armed forces and/or rehabilitation and support needs. Many non-specialist solicitors may not understand the complex calculations that relate to loss of armed forces benefits and pensions. We have been at the forefront of ensuring that our clients maximise their award to ensure that they are fully and fairly compensated. Armed Forces Compensation Scheme As well as making a civil claim, you might be able to claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, which was designed to compensate people who are injured while serving in the military. Our dedicated Armed Forces team will tell you if you are eligible for this when your contact them. However, the right to apply under the scheme does not prevent you from also making a civil damages claim if there is fault for your accident. Keeping you informed As we learn more about you and your circumstances, we will be able to provide you with a more accurate idea of the financial value of your claim. You can be assured that we will do everything we can to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We will also advise on the best payment terms to suit your immediate and ongoing needs. As well as securing financial compensation, we will help you and your family with the practical issues and day to day impact of your injury as well as helping you to get access to the best medical care and rehabilitation. 9

10 What else can we help you with? We don t just specialise in military injury claims. Irwin Mitchell has dedicated teams working in all areas of Personal Legal Services, enabling us to deliver quick and efficient legal advice on anything from settling family disputes and wills to buying a house. Our ability to offer clients a wide range of such specialism under one roof is one of the key benefits of our services. Our friendly and professional staff give straightforward, honest advice in all areas of personal legal services, including; Buying or selling a house Divorce, children and family matters Employment difficulties Financial planning including tax and trusts Personal injury or illness Planning or environmental decisions Questioning social, education and healthcare provision Support with personal welfare and healthcare matters and how the Court of Protection can assist Wills, trust and probate services. Whatever your legal issue our specialist staff will be pleased to help you sort it out all you need to do is pick up the phone and give us call. To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on: or visit: you can also follow us on 10

11 Whatever your legal issue our specialist staff will be pleased to help you sort it out all you need to do is pick up the phone and give us call. 11

12 Useful contacts Army Families Federation UK Central Office 1DL 414 Floor 1, Zone 7 Ramillies Building Marlborough Lines Monxton Road Andover SP11 8HJ Telephone: Website: Army Welfare Information Service HQ Land Forces Louisburg Block Erskine Barracks Wilton Salisbury SP2 0AG Telephone: Website: Blesma, The Limbless Veterans High Road Chadwell Heath Romford Essex RM6 6NA Blind Veterans UK Harcourt Street London W1H 4HD Telephone: Website: Combat Stress Tyrwhitt House Oaklawn Road Leatherhead Surrey KT22 0BX Telephone: Website: Help for Heroes Unit 14 Parkers Close Downton Business Centre Downton Salisbury Wiltshire SP5 3RB Telephone: Website: Telephone: Website: 12

13 Pilgrim Bandits Unit 3 & 4 Shelley Farm Shelley Lane Ower Romsey Hampshire SO51 6AS Telephone: Website: RAF Association 117 Loughborough Rd Leicester LE4 5ND Telephone: Website: The Royal British Legion 199 Borough High Street London SE1 1AA Telephone: use online enquiry form Website: Troop Aid 21 Radway Road Shirley Solihull West Midlands B90 4NR Telephone: Website: SSAFA Forces Help SSAFA Central Office 4 St Dunstans Hill London EC3 R8AD Telephone: Website: 13

14 Notes

15 Notes

16 Freephone For a list of our offices visit our website To see a list of our offices please visit our website. Irwin Mitchell LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Clinical Negligence PLS-PI-MI-0002-B

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