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Injured in the course of duty

Day after day, across the world, members of our Armed Forces expose themselves to danger in order to protect this country and its citizens. An element of risk is unavoidable in many aspects of the work they undertake, and everyone who serves in this capacity is well aware of this. However, it is only right that if individuals are prepared to expose themselves to such risk, then every effort should be made by the MoD to reduce those risks. Harris Fowler have considerable experience in helping members of the Armed Forces obtain compensation where they have suffered injuries which are unnecessary and have often had a devastating impact upon their lives and their ability to pursue the career to which they were committed.

A common example of problems that can arise is in relation to inadequate equipment. This has been a recurrent theme reported in the media in recent years. For example, there have been deaths caused as a result of travelling in inadequately armoured Snatch Land Rovers which have been called a ‘mobile coffin’ by many members of the Armed Forces due to the inadequacy of the protection they offer. We have also come across many cases of non-freezing cold injury (NFCI) which is more commonly known as ‘trench foot’ (although it can affect hands as well as feet), which is a medical condition first noted in Napoleon’s army in 1812 and was a significant problem in trench warfare during both World Wars and in the Vietnam War. It became a recurrent problem during the Falklands War in 1982, where cold and wet conditions with insufficiently waterproofed boots led to many soldiers being incapacitated.

Often in these cases we are met with arguments that there are financial restrictions which make the provision of adequate equipment impractical. However, this argument does not stand up to any scrutiny either in fact or in law. In many cases the provision of correct equipment is outweighed by the cost of causing avoidable and permanently disabling injury to a member of the Armed Forces, with all the consequential waste of training costs. All too frequently, the decisions made are self-defeating and fail to recognise the need to properly equip our Armed Forces so that they can properly do the job for which they have volunteered.

At Harris Fowler we are proud to represent many members of the Armed Forces in claims for compensation. It is only reasonable that those who are prepared to put themselves in the way of harm on our behalves are provided with proper equipment when they do so. Recent years have seen a welcome trend with the implementation of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) which can provide payment to members of the Armed Forces who have been injured in the course of their duty irrespective of whether there is any issue of fault. In many other cases, consideration of the circumstances of the injury can lead to the conclusion that the injury could, and should, have been avoided. In those cases we have been able to assist many personnel whose lives and careers have been harmed to obtain compensation to help them cope with the situation that has forced been upon them.

If you are, or if you know, a member of the Armed Forces who has suffered an injury they may have the right to bring a claim for compensation. If so, please contact Stephen Baker on 0800 213214 or at stephen.baker@harrisfowler.co.uk

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