Injured solider compensated £356,000
I acted for a former soldier who was prematurely discharged from the Army on account of injuries he sustained while in service. My client is from Ghana. He graduated with a diploma in marketing before coming to the UK on a working visa. Upon visiting the Army careers office, he was interested in pursuing a career in the military and applied. He was accepted and enlisted in the Infantry.
After finishing his basic training my client requested a transfer to the Royal Logistics Corps where he worked as a logistics supply specialist. He excelled and quickly gained promotion to lance corporal. Successful deployments followed to Afghanistan, Oman and the Falklands. After three further years my client was promoted again, to corporal.
However, while on his promotion course my client suffered a non-freezing cold injury. He was out in the field at the military training camp in Sennelager, Germany. The weather was freezing, and my client was ordered to perform a river crossing and stand on static sentry duty. Unable to dry his kit my client was exposed to the freezing conditions. His hands and feet became numb and he had pain on rewarming.
Symptoms of pain and tingling continued which my client reported to the doctor after his course. The appropriate referral was made to the Institute of Naval Medicine in Gosport and thermography testing was done, revealing cold sensitivity in my client’s hands and feet. His outdoor activities were restricted, and he was downgraded as medically non-deployable. His formal discharge on medical grounds was finalised in 2017 and my client left service after nine years.
Had my client served to 12 years, he would have been offered an extension to serve for a full 24 year career. I obtained employment expert evidence which confirmed that statistically my client would have stayed on for 12 years, and therefore would have been granted automatic extension to serve for 24 years. The expert evidence also indicated that my client was a promising solider and would have likely earned further promotion in his career.
After leaving service my client decided to study for a degree and after graduating will pursue a career in IT. These residual earnings (and his pension) were credited against his claim. Notwithstanding this, my client’s likely military earnings and pension amounted to a considerable loss.
There were potential difficulties with the case. Liability was contested, and the medical experts were agreed that my client’s non-freezing cold injury was mild and had the potential to further improve. In addition, he suffered with other unrelated medical conditions which may have resulted in his early discharge from service in any event.
Once the expert evidence was finalised the parties agreed to a joint settlement meeting. Liability was not disputed for the purposes of the meeting, however the defendants took issue with my client’s unrelated medical condition and argued that his strong capabilities meant that he would do well in his civilian role, for which he would need to give credit.
Following negotiations, it was agreed that but for his injury my client would have remained in service, but his eventual rank and overall length of service could have been impacted by several factors. That said, it was accepted that my client was entitled to be compensated for his lost military career and settlement was achieved in the sum of £356,000.
The settlement represented a fair outcome for my client who lost his military career and is having to re-train with a view to working in a different field. His compensation will afford him a greater degree of financial security as he seeks to achieve this.
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