Injury in the Royal Navy Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by illness or injury while serving in the Royal Navy, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

You can make an armed forces injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

We can help you make an armed forces injury claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article


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.

If you suffer an avoidable injury during your Naval service, you may be eligible to make a claim against the MOD.

Injury claims may be made through either the civil courts, or via a government-backed compensation scheme (AFCS).

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, your solicitor must prove that:

  • The MOD was negligent, and
  • Their negligence caused your 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 your injury. You may be eligible to 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.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

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

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any fees if your injury 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 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 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 claim?

If your injury 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.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. injury in the royal navy claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

How we can help you

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and 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
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

Call me back
  • Tick icon FREE consultation
  • Tick icon Find out if you can claim
  • Tick icon No obligation to start a claim

Injury 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:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.

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:

Claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make an injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for an injury 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.

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

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

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?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher