Injury in the Royal Navy compensation claims

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

How much can I 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.

Making a risk free no win no fee naval accident compensation claim

A no win no fee agreement ( known as a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between a claimant and a PI lawyer.

A CFA is essentially the terms under which the solicitor works for their client.

It sets out what the solicitor will actually do as well as how the solicitor is rewarded if the compensation claim is won.

If you instruct a Quittance solicitor for your naval accident claim there are absolutely no additional costs , no up-front fees and the comfort that you will not be financially out of pocket.

Meet our team

The national network of Quittance solicitors take on all types of work accident claims, from fast track cases to serious, long-term injury. Our lawyers are chosen for their winning track record and their level of specialist experience.

Meet the team - click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
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.

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