TA or reservist injury compensation claims
In the following article we explain everything you need to know about making a territorial army accident compensation claim.
Anyone joining the Army Reserve or Territorial Army (TA) knows they could be called out to serve on operations, in UK or abroad, for anything up to 12 months.
Reservists may find themselves serving in circumstances that are as dangerous to those faced by the Regular Army.
The Army has a responsibility to all its soldiers (including reservists) to provide as much protection as reasonably possible, looking after their health and safety interests whilst engaged on active duty. This duty includes ensuring soldiers receive full training and equipment which is fit for purpose.
Any reservist or member of the TA who is injured or contracts an illness as a result of his or her service may be able to make an armed forces injury claim.
Compensation may be claimed for any injury or illness that happened as a result of the claimant's service, in the course of carrying out their duty. Circumstances can include service-related activities such as training exercises.
Physical injuries may be a result of accidents including parachuting, mountaineering or abseiling as well as road traffic accidents involving military vehicles. They may also be caused by faulty equipment or weapons.
In addition to physical injury, members of the armed forces may be exposed to situations that cause them to sustain psychological illnesses such as depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Existing illnesses may also be made worse through service activities. It may, in some cases, also be possible to claim for the consequences of this worsening of symptoms.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Compensation may include a lump sum and/or regular payments and the amount will depend on the severity of the injury or illness.
If the injury or illness is due to service after 5 April 2005, a claimant may receive a tax-free lump sum payment through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
For more serious illness or injury, the claimant may also receive a tax-free monthly payment for life after he is discharged. This is known as a Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP). The amount payable is based on salary, age and the severity of the injury.
If the GIP awarded is 50% or more of the claimant's salary he may also be eligible for an Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
Where the injury or illness was sustained during service before 6 April 2005 a successful claimant may be awarded either a pension if the disability is assessed at 20% and above, or a lump sum for a disability assessed at below 20%.
Amounts awarded depend on the severity of the injury or illness.
Other allowances may be available for those with problems in getting around or with finding a job.
There are different qualifying rules according to when the claimant was injured.
For those whose injury or illness was due to service after 5 April 2005 claims are made through the AFCS.
Through this scheme the claimant has up to 7 years after the injury or illness to start a claim (unless claiming for an illness that started later as a result of an injury - sometimes known as a ?late onset illness'). He can be a current or former member of the Army Reserve
Where the claimant's injury or illness is due to service before 6 April 2005 a claim should be brought under the War Pension Scheme (WPS).
There are no time limits for claiming under the WPS but claimants must be no longer serving as reservists.
The AFCS does not allow claims for expenses incurred, for example costs associated with getting to medical appointments. As these may add up to considerable sums it is recommended that claimants also make a personal injury claim through a civil Court in addition to their AFCS claim.
The civil claim would need to be started within three years of sustaining the injury.
It may also be advisable to bring a personal injury claim where there are multiple injuries, especially where they are less severe.
No Win, No Fee injury claims are started once an injured claimant signs up to, with their solicitor, a "CFA", or Conditional Fee Agreement,.
The Conditional Fee Agreement defines a contract or "terms and conditions" between you and your personal injury solicitor. The document sets out the service the solicitor provides and a success fee. This is the fee that will be taken from your compensation award after they win the case.
Selecting a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor, you have peace of mind with the knowledge that there is nothing to pay at the outset.
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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.
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