A Guide to Claiming Injury in the Royal Navy Compensation

In the following guide we explain everything you should know about making a successful naval accident compensation claim.


Members of Her Majesty's Navy are expected to assume a degree of risk when they take up service as part of the armed forces. Combat situations are inherently dangerous and it is likely that some service personnel will be injured. Accidents may also occur during training or in a more civilian-like setting.

However, the Ministry of Defence has a duty to minimise the accident risk wherever possible. Navy personnel have a right to have suitable training and equipment to carry out their duties, and should expect to enjoy a safe working environment outside of direct combat.

Anyone who suffers an avoidable injury during their Naval service may be eligible to make a claim against the MOD. Claims may be made through the civil courts or via a government-backed compensation scheme.

Naval ship

Types of Navy accident claim

Navy accident claims may be made for injuries sustained in a wide range of accidents, including:

  • Accidents during training
  • Collisions and sinkings involving naval ships, submarines and other military vehicles
  • Carrier landing accidents
  • Accidents involving equipment failure and defects
  • Accident that take place on MOD land, such as slips, trips and falls
  • Explosions, fires and burn injuries.

Claims can also be made for short-and long-term health problems that arise as a result of naval service. These include:

  • Food poisoning sustained in a staff canteen or on board a naval craft
  • Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise, such as that experienced from a ship's engine pitch, engines revving or weapons being fired
  • Exposure to hazardous substances, which may cause industrial dermatitis, cancer, lung diseases or asbestosis.

Routes to making a Navy accident claim

There are two primary routes to compensation for a Navy accident claim:

  • Claiming through the civil courts, which is possible for military injuries occurring after 15th May 1987
  • Claiming through a government-backed scheme such as the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) or the War Pension Scheme (WPS).

Claiming through the civil courts

To make a successful claim through the civil courts, it must be shown that:

  • The MOD was negligent, and
  • Their negligence caused the claimant's illness or injuries.

In general, the MOD is subject to the same rules regarding health and safety as a civilian employer. If it can be proven that a specific health and safety rule has been breached, then negligence will almost always be assumed. In this scenario, normal rules for an accident in the workplace claim would apply.

Damages can be sought for the pain and suffering caused by the injury, as well as out-of-pocket expenses such as lost earnings, medical costs and travel expenses.

Those injured in combat situations are unable to claim compensation through the civil courts. The MOD has immunity from claims for injuries sustained in a theatre of war situation.

Claiming through a government compensation scheme

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, for accidents occurring after 6th April 2005, and the War Pension Scheme for accidents before that date, provide an alternative route to compensation. Both schemes are no-fault, which means that blame or fault does not need to be proved. This is useful if there is not enough evidence to prove negligence.

Claims may also be made to the AFCS for injuries sustained in a combat situation.

Successful claims typically receive between £1,200 and £570,000, depending on the severity of the injury. Unlike with a civil claim, it is not possible claim damages for other expenses such as loss of earning or medical costs. Read more about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Which is the best route to compensation?

The best route to compensation will depend on the Navy personnel's circumstances and the nature of the injury. It may be possible claim through both routes, although safeguards are in place to stop claimants receiving compensation through both the AFCS and the civil Courts. An experienced injury lawyer can recommend the best option in each case.

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any fees if your injury in the royal navy claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also called a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a injury in the royal navy claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my injury in the royal navy claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my injury in the royal navy claim?

If your injury in the royal navy claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees .

Read more about No win, no fee

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Injury In The Royal Navy FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an interim compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert