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Military injury claims

I’m serving in the armed forces – what are the risks?

Unsurprisingly, working in the armed forces can be highly dangerous. It can involve working in some of the most perilous, warring regions in the world – most recently areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Whether you’re in the Army, Navy, Royal Air Force (RAF) or even the reserves forces or cadet forces, you are at risk.

The most dangerous military roles are riflemen, bomb disposal experts, reconnaissance, combat medics and engineers, para-rescue roles and drivers.  Military personnel are at risk of battle wounds, hypothermia and frostbite, training injuries firearms, crush injuries, military vehicle accidents, and falls from heights. One of the most common injuries sustained during military service is a spinal injury.

Find out more about fall claims.

The harsh reality is, working in the military is dangerous and millions of service personnel have, quite literally, given their lives doing the job they like – a job like no other. Unfortunately, there are many service personnel and ex-military who are injured each year, whether at home or abroad. This includes cold injury claims.

However, if you are a member or former member of the military and have been injured or developed an illness or condition, you may be able to bring a no win no fee military claim.

What should I do claim compensation?

Get in touch as soon as you can for free legal advice and help with making no win no fee injury claim for military accident compensation. You can call on 0800 234 6438 if you have suffered injuries caused while in the military. Specialist personal injury lawyers experienced in securing compensation for armed forces personnel are ready to guide you through the first steps of claiming compensation.

They can explain the claims process involved in claiming compensation, partnering you with a specialist military claims team. To secure maximum compensation, it is prudent to get legal advice from specialist military claims solicitors who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to provide legal services and conduct compensation claims.

For additional support services – including urgent help – you can also contact Veterans UK which runs a helpline, a welfare service and medical assistance.

I was injured during military training – can I claim compensation?

Service-related injuries are not uncommon during military service including military training. Training is tough, necessarily so. The purpose of military training is to prepare you for combat and actual military operations, so training has to be extremely tough. It ranges from physical endurance training such as multiple sit-ups, squats and runs, to lengthier military exercises in the cold and heat on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) training estate.

But with army and navy training comes the risk of injury. For example, in 2015 21 military personnel were injured, some seriously, in a collision involving three troop carriers on Salisbury Plain training area.

Live-fire training exercises can lead to gun-shot wounds and soldiers-in-training can suffer the extreme effects of heat and cold. Often, these injuries are the result of inadequate training and supervision or other forms of carelessness. Even though military training may be inherently dangerous, that does not mean senior officers can take short cuts with their officers’ safety.

So if you’ve been injured during a military training exercise, whether at home or overseas, and your injuries were preventable, you can bring a military accident claim with the help of lawyers specialising in military claim legal services. Depending on the circumstances, your personal injury claim may be against the MoD or it may be against one of its approved contractors – but your solicitor will discuss this with you.

It is important to be aware that proving negligence against the MoD is not always straightforward, but with specialist legal services from the best specialist military lawyer you will have the best chance of a successful military accident claim.

Find out more about claiming serious injury compensation.


The MoD’s training area at Salisbury Plain is the largest army training site in the UK and often hosts Europe’s largest joint military drill. It is some 25 miles long, 6-8 miles wide and has around 94,000 acres.


I was injured during combat – can I claim?

If you were injured during combat, the law is quite complicated. In some situations you may be able to make a military injury claim – but not in others. The general rule is that under the legal doctrine of combat immunity, the MoD is not liable for injuries resulting from combat – ruling out some compensation claims. However, this is not an absolute rule: if your injuries during combat were the result of a failure in the MoD’s duty of care towards you, you can make a military injury claim.

For example, if you were not adequately protected when sent into combat because you were not provided with the right personal equipment and body armour, and you were injured as a result, you should be able to claim military accident compensation.

Similarly, if you were injured during combat because you were insufficiently trained or, for instance, your equipment or army vehicle was poorly maintained, it is possible to bring personal injury claims under health and safety legislation.

Who can claim compensation for a military injury?

Any military personnel and any ex-service personnel have the legal right to bring a military injury claim for compensation following failures on the part of the Ministry of Defence. Individuals can also bring military claims where they have developed a condition or illness as a direct result of working in the military – even if it is some years since they left service, including through medical discharge.

The right to bring no win no fee military claims also extends to those in the reserve forces and to the cadet forces if the accident happened because of someone else’s negligence.

A spouse or dependent of an individual who has suffered military injuries or who has been killed while training or serving in the military may also have the right to bring a no win no fee claim for military injury compensation.

The first most important step you can take is to get in touch on 0800 234 6438 for a free consultation about how a claim can be made on a no win no fee basis. Experienced military accident solicitors will help you claim maximum compensation by bringing a no win no fee claim under a conditional fee agreement. This removes the financial risk in bringing a claim because you’ll have no legal fees to pay if you don’t win.

What do I need to prove?

To bring your injury claim, you will need to provide your solicitors with as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that the MoD was negligent at the time of the incident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, your specialist solicitor will tell you what information they need to bring the strongest possible case on your behalf.

Records of any medical treatment and psychological or psychiatric treatment you’ve received for your injuries will be crucial to your case. Your solicitors will also want to know about any further medical care you need so that the costs of this can be claimed as part of your compensation claim.

If anyone witnessed the incident that caused your injuries, such as other serving personnel, make sure you give your solicitors their contact details so that witness evidence can be taken. Having the evidence of independent witnesses will greatly strengthen your case.

What kind of military accidents can I claim for?

Wherever there have been injuries resulting directly from the MoD’s negligence and/or breach of duty, you can claim military accident compensation. The most common causes and types of military accidents include:

  • Defective and poorly maintained military equipment
  • Lack of supervision
  • Inadequate training
  • Accidents during training through unsafe practices
  • Road traffic accidents involving military equipment
  • Mental health conditions, typically PTSD

Of course, there are other types of military accident and where it is caused by negligence or breach of duty, you deserve to make claim military injury compensation.

What are the most common types of injuries sustained in the military?

Military training and combat can lead to a range of injuries, but perhaps the most common include:

  • Head, back and spinal injuries, breaks and sprains
  • Cold-related injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite
  • Heat exhaustion and burns
  • Crush injuries
  • PTSD
  • Noise included hearing loss

Though some injuries are minor, many injuries can be life threatening or long-lasting, even potentially career-ending. It is only fair that victims are allowed to bring military injury claims in these circumstances.

What can I claim military accident compensation for?

Where your injuries resulted directly from MoD failings, you can make a civil claim for damages for military injury compensation for your injuries and the effects they are having on your life and career. How much compensation you can claim will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries.

In addition to general damages, you can also claim ‘special’ damages for any financial losses that resulted from your injuries. Sadly, serious military injuries can result in a heavy financial impact and could be reflected in your special damages to include:

  • Loss of basic salary and specialist pay, as well as lost promotions
  • Loss of accommodation and other army benefits that you would have enjoyed but for your injuries
  • Costs of medical prescriptions and other medical costs
  • Rehabilitation costs

Your solicitor will go through these losses and potential losses in fine detail to ensure your compensation claim is as full and robust as possible.

In some situations, you may also be able to bring a claim for breach of your human rights – in addition to your personal injury claim. Your specialist solicitor will be able to advise you if this is an additional option for you.

Can I claim compensation for criminal injuries while serving?

Yes, the Ministry of Defence runs the Veterans UK Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas) Scheme which pays financial compensation to armed forces personnel who were victims of violent crime while serving abroad.

This Scheme also compensates ‘accompanying dependents’ of a serving members of the armed forces who suffers a criminal injury. Your solicitors can give you further information about this Scheme and whether you or your partner may be eligible.

Can I claim for mental health issues such as PTSD as a result of time in the military?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition and should be compensated as such. Sometimes known as ‘shell shock’, PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused directly by being exposed to trauma. If triggered by your experiences of war, you can suffer wide-ranging symptoms and difficulties such as flashbacks and relationship problems; sleepless nights paranoia.

PTSD is one of the most common forms of military injuries and can be so severe as to lead to suicide. Military personnel who are faced with the traumatic and stressful scenes and experiences of war can develop PTSD – sometimes soon after the events; at other times – some time in future.

The symptoms of PTSD can begin slowly and may progress to become a serious, debilitating mental health illness affecting your daily life. The effects can also impact you physically, not to mention the impact on your family and loved ones. It can also lead to reliance on alcohol and drugs, and result in anger problems and violence.

Fortunately, PTSD is not only treatable but you can, in fact, claim military accident compensation if you are suffering as a result of your military work. It is only right that if you have developed PTSD or other psychological or mental health disorder, that you should be compensated.

My hearing was damaged whilst serving in the military. Do I have a claim?

It is not uncommon for veterans to suffer hearing damage and loss while in service, because they are typically working in noisy environments. However, sustained excessive noise can lead to permanent hearing loss if protective gear or other measures are not provided.

Military personnel who are exposed to ongoing or significant noise should be provided with adequate ear defenders to minimise the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Proper hearing protection has even been designed with combat and combat support operations in mind, but even specialist ear defenders may not be sufficient to protect you.

Lasting, sometimes permanent problems range from mild or serious hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. These conditions can be caused by gunfire and artillery, explosions and pyrotechnics, and aircraft and engine noises.

So if you have developed some form of hearing loss from your time in the military, you could be entitled to hearing loss compensation.

DID YOU KNOW: In June 2021, the army’s new £3.2bn Ajax tanks with withdrawn – for the second time – after troops were found to have suffered hearing loss after trials
SOURCE: The Times

Are there any time limits for a military injury claim?

Yes, the general time limits in personal injury claims is that the injured person has three years after the date of the military incident or accident while in military service to start court proceedings in the civil courts, otherwise you may be unable to bring a claim (although see below on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)). Because of this time limit, it’s important to get in touch as soon as possible while events are fresh in your mind.

What if you have developed PTSD, hearing loss or another illness or condition after being in the forces?  Fortunately, the law in England and Wales recognises that this is often the case. So, the time limit in these cases is three years from the date on which you first became aware that the military incident was the cause in which to start legal proceedings.

For instance, you may have developed noise induced hearing loss or a mental health condition some years after you left the military. But if you suspect it was caused by your time during the armed forces, and you think it was someone else’s fault, you deserve to make a claim.

What is the law on military injury claims against the MoD?

The law in England and Wales is clear that if a worker has has been injured at work, including was while serving in the military, they can bring military claims if the incident was not their fault.

That said, it’s only relatively recently that military personnel and veterans have been legally permitted to bring military injury claims against the MoD – but only within Great Britain and a couple of specific exceptions.

In 1987, the Crown Proceedings (Armed Force) Act 1987 was implemented, rectifying an injustice and paving the way for the military to bring personal injury claims against the MoD. However, civil claims are limited only to where the MoD failed as employer in its duty of care towards its military personnel.

The MoD is legally responsible to comply with health and safety legislation, particularly the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, in the same was as any other employer. This requires the MoD to protect its employees from the risk of accident and injury as far as reasonably possible. For example, it should:

  • Ensure military equipment and vehicles are properly repaired and maintained
  • Ensure appropriate measures have been taken to ensure personnel operating equipment and vehicles are protected
  • Provide adequate and appropriate training
  • Provide effective protective equipment and armour
  • Carry out regular risk assessments

Where the MoD fails in its duties under health and safety and related laws, and you have suffered injury as a direct result, you can make a claim.

(NB: Injury claims for health and safety breaches against the MoD cannot be brought in relation to accidents or incidents abroad or to British bases in Gibraltar, Cyprus or Germany for example).


The MoD is one of the UK’s largest employers and employed 159,150 service personnel in 2021

SOURCE: Statista

What is the AFCS and am I entitled?

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme providing an additional route to injury compensation, so long as the injury or condition does not pre-date 5 April 2005.

Importantly, unlike typical personal injury claims based on negligence and/or breach of duty, an AFCS claim can be brought where injuries are sustained during active service or combat. Also, no fault has to be shown to make a claim.

You can also still make a civil claim for personal injury in addition to an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claim.

To be eligible, the relevant incident that resulted in injury, illness or death must have happened after 5 April, and you must either be a current or former member of the regular armed forces (including reservists).

You have seven years to make injury claims to the AFCS. In the case of illness or a condition, the seven years runs from the date then you first get medical advice for it.

Under the scheme, you may be entitled to:

  • A tax-free lump sum – An amount is awarded for each injury up to a £650,000 cap, according to a tariff which has 15 levels of seriousness;
  • Guaranteed tax-free income payments – Available in the case of serious injuries, these payments are index-linked and paid monthly.

If you have been seriously injured within the last 6 months, or you’re making a claim on behalf of someone who has suffered significant injuries, it is possible to claim a fast payment from the ACFS worth £61,800. Get in touch as soon as possible for prompt specialist advice.


During 2019-2020, 8,558 injury, illness and survivor injury claims were registered with AFCS; £79.9m was paid out for service-related injuries and illnesses; and £10.1m paid out to surviving dependents.

SOURCE: Ministry of Defence

I still serve in the military. If I claim could I lose my job?

It is unlikely your job is at risk if you make an injury claim. However, if you were to be dismissed as a result, there is no legal right for the British military to bring an unfair dismissal claim against the MoD or armed forces.

That said, it is possible to bring a claim for, eg harassment and discrimination against the MoD, but specialist advice should be taken because the rules are highly complex. For example, a service redress complaint must precede a legal claim.

To find out about the claims process, get in touch with specialist advisors on 0800 234 6438 who can offer free legal advice, or use the contact form and request a call back. You’ll be partnered with specialist injury lawyers for a free initial consultation. Personal injury solicitors are heavily regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – giving much needed peace of mind.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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