Injury in the Royal Navy Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an accident in the navy we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an accident in the navy and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming injury in the Royal Navy compensation:

Introduction

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 an injury in the Royal Navy claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee 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 . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

How can Quittance help?

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

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 do I have to make an injury in the Royal Navy claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury in the Royal Navy to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury in the Royal Navy claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an injury in the Royal Navy after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim injury in the Royal Navy compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury in the Royal Navy claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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 early compensation payment?

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

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.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert