Accident Claims Advice

It's been a long time since I last posted and it's not all been due to my injury.

I was medically discharged last year and for the first time in over 22 years, I actually got a have a look at my medical notes. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. My medical notes, that I had relied upon for so many years, contained so many errors it was literally unbelievable. They even got the facts on my medical discharge form wrong!

As you know, actually getting to look at your medical notes, while serving, is an admin nightmare. There are more forms and requests to fill in then there are for getting a mortgage!! As a result, I never bothered. Now it is costing me. I had an accident in 2008 and was advised to claim on my insurances. I had personal accident insurance with Forces Financial and Pax - the full 15 credits. I had never claimed on them and I had them for my entire career, apart from Pax which was introduced sometime later. I thought that there would be no problems. I had a legitimate injury caused by a legitimate accident. I couldn't have been more wrong.

First and foremost, the main problem was with my medical reports. A random entry in my medical notes from 1996 was to play a large part in my problems. The entry was untrue, completely random and totally out of context. There was nothing similar leading up to and after the entry and, to all intent and purpose, it just looked wrong. Chances are the doctor in question was busy that day and entered the symptoms of someone else in my records. Because I never reviewed my medical notes, trusting the medical staff to know what they were doing, the entry stayed there, unquestioned by anybody.

When I claimed on my insurance, both companies latched onto that one entry. It gave them evidence of a pre-existing condition and so they said my claim was invalid. The fact that there was no other record of the same symptom was totally ignored. After two years and several specialists, Chartis UK Ltd, the underwriters for PAX admitted that I had a valid claim. Forces Financial, even after contradicting themselves, still clung onto the entry and so I submitted a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. I am still awaiting the outcome.

Going back to PAX or Chartis UK Ltd. They stated that because I hadn't lost a limb or anything, the claim was complicated. One letter even stated that they were used to dealing with the loss of limbs and not really anything else. They offered me a compensation that was insulting. Even the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme paid out more than they offered. Anyway, to cut a long story short, letters went to and fro, they wanted their own specialist to look at me, etc. In the end, they still refused to pay what the contract dictated and so I am now taking them to court. It's going to be another couple of years but I am hoping to shame them in public for the way they have treated me and my family.

The moral of this story is quite simple:

1. Make sure that you check your medical records. You have every right to see them and although it may be an admin nightmare, it could save you a lot of trouble. Once the record is permanent, not even a court of law can get an error removed. A note can be added, but it wont be removed.

2. The simplest insurances we can get is PAX and Forces Financial Accident Cover. I would suggest shopping around to see if there is something better you can get. I never tried it and I have no idea if there is anything better out there. It is just that my experience with these two companies has not been good and they have been as sly and slippery as an eel that has been covered in oil. In simple terms, they don't want to pay you anything if they can help it.

3. I hope that none of you ever have an injury, especially the loss of limbs or suchlike, but at least the insurance companies can't claim that your leg was due to fall off anyway! They will try and find anything to get out of paying and you have to make sure that you are bulletproof when you fight them.

4. Never give up! I have been fighting both companies for over three years now and I refuse to give in. That's exactly what they want you to do. The fact that I am going to take Chartis UK Ltd to court has shocked them as they thought they had worn me down. Don't let the b*stards get the better of you.

Sorry, it's a long post but I think an important one. I don't want any of you falling foul of administrative errors. My medical docs were full of them and even the medical reports I had in civvy street had significant errors. Make sure you check them and don't let the military bull stop you from doing it. In the long run, it's for your own best interest.

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