£1m awarded for brain injury from accidental shooting

Solicitors secured £1,150,000 for a 29 year male soldier following an armed forces compensation claim for a soldier who suffered severe head and brain injuries as a result of being accidentally shot in the head during his service nine years earlier.

Injury Details

The Claimant was stationed at an army base in Germany. Another soldier accidentally discharged his weapon while cleaning it next to the Claimant.

As a result a round entered the Claimant's head and lodged in his brain.

A CT scan following the accident showed the damage to be extensive. Surgery to remove the lodged bullet was carried out two weeks later.

The injuries were extensive, including some mild facial weakness, headaches, hearing loss and numbness in his left finger. 

The Claimant suffered an epileptic fit, with medication prescribed to control any future seizures.

The Claimant's mother had to manage his affairs, as the injuries caused him to find concentration difficult. His communication with others and ability to understand were also reduced.

Changes were noted in his personality also, as he suffered from angry outbursts out of character with his behaviour prior to the accident.

Following a year of treatment the man was medically discharged from the Army.

Allegation

It was alleged that the soldier cleaning his weapon was negligent insofar as he did not check the barrel was clear before commencing cleaning. 

The weapon should have been inspected prior to cleaning to ensure the safety catch was on and a bullet was not in the chamber. Further the soldier should not have pointed the weapon at the Claimant during cleaning. 

Prior to the accident the Claimant had a normal personality. His career prospects were good in the Army. After he was prone to anger, unable to find work easily or at a level he previously enjoyed.

The claimant was no longer independent. He relied on professional care support as a result of his injuries which would be needed for the rest of his life.

Conclusion and settlement

Initially the Defendant denied liability. Court proceedings were issued and after three years liability was admitted. 

Compensation was approved by the Court at £1,150,000. 

£100,000 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity".

Although no breakdown of the remainder was agreed, the amount included cover for lost earnings, cost of care and future treatment costs the Claimant would incur.