Army officer compensated after car crash
An army officer, who had just returned from Afghanistan, has won £150,000 in compensation after he sustained severe injuries in a car crash within hours of returning from Iraq.
When he flew back into the UK from the Middle East, a soldier had been told to collect the Captain in the early hours of the morning and was asked to drive the captain back to barracks, but the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
The car crashed into the back of an HGV travelling in the same direction and the captain had to be cut out of the car by fire fighters.
The army officer broke his left leg in two places, ruptured a number of ligaments in his knee, lost the use of his little finger in his left hand and now suffers from numbness in his right leg.
The fractures caused Deep Vein Thrombosis which is a lifelong ailment that must be managed for the rest of his life. He also suffered chest pains and has intermittent back pain.
When the Army Captain was discharged from hospital he was left reliant on care from his wife after the accident in 2005.
Officer back on duty
After working hard to regain his fitness, he has now been able to return to duty. However his injuries will cause him increasing difficulties and he lives with the risk that his career may be shortened.
Following the accident he contacted a law firm but became unhappy with that firm's level of service, so he instructed an injury lawyer from the organisation to pursue a claim for accident compensation.
The captain was successful in securing the damages after the Ministry of Defence admitted liability for the incident.
He said: "I'm grateful to [the] Solicitors for helping me to receive these damages. My injuries have potentially limited what I will be able to achieve both in the military and post discharge as a civilian.
"It is sometimes difficult to accept that I survived a posting in Iraq unscathed but managed to be seriously injured within a matter hours of arriving back to the UK."
Since 1987 armed forces personnel injured other than in war or conflict, have been able to claim compensation under civil law where they can show that the forces were to blame for their accident.
New scheme for Army personnel
Under such circumstances they are compensated under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) which was launched on 6th April 2005. The scheme is also accessible by armed forces personnel injured in non conflict situations.
Andrew McDonald from a law firm which specialises in Forces negligence claims, said: "The fact that this accident happened in a military vehicle was irrelevant. My client was injured due to the negligence of the driver and was able to pursue a claim in just the same way as any other member of the public.
"It is not necessarily true, and is one of the major misunderstandings among armed forces personnel, that the AFCS represents their only form of redress. Claims can be made under the AFCS and under the civil law. The civil payout can often be very much higher than the statutory payout under the AFCS claim."
Mr McDonald concluded: "Injuries may be seen as a hazard of the job by members of the armed forces but even in places like Afghanistan they may have absolutely nothing to do with the conflict. Independent specialist legal advice will make clear if there is a civil claim to be made."