Injuries sustained whilst serving

Just a quick question if someone could point me in the right direction.

Many moons ago I was injured whilst involved in an exercise. (No great problem so far)

However the full extent of the damage has only come to light within the last month and as a result of the poor diagnosis and treatment of the injury i find that I will be needing a new bionic knee sometime in the future. (Knee replacement surgery) It is unlikely with the current damage in the knee that the 'original' will last until I am 50, the earliest our wonderful NHS would ever consider replacement and I am only 40 now.

Now I am not one to try and screw every penny from the system, and I do appreciate greatly that there are servicemen and women with far more pressing injury issues than mine but..............

I realise that a 'compensation' claim must normally be made within three years, however would it be fair to judge that from the injury occasion or when the extent of the damage and it's debilitating effects are realised.

The reason for this question is it has become clear through various scans, CT, MRI and XRay that proper treatment and aftercare was not provided or offered during the time the injury occured. In fact I was made to wait until return from Germany to England before I could get to see a doctor and then only through the RMO.............

My only concern for asking the enquiry is due to the costs likely involved in care issues up until surgery can be completed and the ability to work and support my family in the meantime. That and the long term disability affect from the replacement and it's usable lifetime.

Just a question so please don't shoot me. It is genuine and as I said I do appreciate there are far more deserving issues currently.

I may be wrong but I think the time limit of 3 years is from the time you realised you could claim

example. you damaged your knee in 1990 but the full extent of the injury has only recently become known

you now have 3 years to begin your claim
best to verify this with a solicitor though but I think thats how it works.
I spoke to a lad still serving the other weekend; in his case he had moved from unit to unit with a knee injury, undiagnosed on each posting and resulting in him missing cadres for promotion etc. He was then diagnosed on a recent posting as requiring the bionic knee. His situation is that he may be downgraded and discharged, or possibly medically discharged an was looking for advice on that.
I had a word with a military law solicitor, with one of the big criminal law practices, and as not publicly funded in his field like criminal or courts martials he was unable to help personally, but I think was able to suggest a firm who could. If you like to pm me I can let you have his name, email and and a contact number.
There are two claims that can be made.
One is a DSS Disability claim. You should ring the local benefits office (thats just where they send the forms from, you are not one of those claimers!) and register it as an industrial injury.

They should tell you if you need a medical assessment to assess the level of disability (it's worked on a percentage figure and can be added to with subsequent injuries), you may then qualify for a lump sum payment. You've paid your N.Ins so claim.

The second is a civil action claim. This all depends on blame/negligence. If you did something stupid, like climbing over the block roof whilst pissed in the attic bar and fell off injuring your legs, then they would say you had significant contributary negligence and your claim would be doubtful.

However, if they were negligent/to blame then you should be OK.

Not sure if the 3 years is from the incident or realisation though, so you had better check.

Beware though, no win/no fee doesn't always mean that at the end.

I only know this because I chopped the tips of two fingers off when a Saxon hatch, locking mechanism, broke during a brake test and used my fingers to cushion the blow as it slammed shut. (They sewed them back but I lost movement in them) I was told by my QM that I couldn't claim until I left the Army. I left about 2 yrs and 10 months later and only just got my claim in. The Solicitor said I should have done it whilst serving. In those days though, you did what you were told.

Good luck, and don't forget to register with the DSS, you will be protecting your future.

I recommend that you start byconsulting RBL: they have relevant expertise, a good track record. Their support will be with you, but their advice is impartial. And, importantly, it's free.
Unless you have all the proof to say that it was directly attributed to being in the services, it was work related and the MoD admits liability (been down this road and due to poor record keeping, solicitors suggested it wouldn't be cost effective to pursue) it will be hard to make a successful claim. If the knee is giving you grief and it's affecting your daily life. I suggest you take the path of claing a war disablement pension.

The RBL is the best place to start.
Regarding the no win no fee that mittmayo mentioned.Check with the provider of you're house insurance.

I am claiming for a similar thing,accident at work resulting in both knees requiring surgery,not military though.I am covered by my house insurance so dont need the no win no fee.
Forgot to add that I took a copy of the defect report submitted about the Saxon before I left the Squadron.
vampangua said:
I recommend that you start byconsulting RBL: they have relevant expertise, a good track record. Their support will be with you, but their advice is impartial. And, importantly, it's free.
I had the RBL act for me for an injury that occurred while serving and I received a payout and free prescriptions, plus a review should the injury deteriorate.

They were very good and it didn't cost me a penny.
I am glad the RBL have a facility, I should have caveated my post above on using solicitors. Any respectable lawyer would explore in-service and other assistance before starting to charge fees, other than maybe a small advisory fee which they should quote first.

Any "no-win no fee" contract should be carefully read before signing as if unsuccessful, some have allowed that some costs fall on a claimant if unsuccessful, and if errors were made in the information given to the "no-win no-fee" that could also result in a back-claim for costs.

Does anyone know if RBL are able to help the serving, perhaps expecting discharge, or if their help is limited to those whose service has finished?
I actually started my claim as I was leaving on advice from Headley Court, it took about 18 months to complete and there was no comeback from anyone. It was 13 years ago so things I would have thought should have got better
The three year time limit for personal injury claims runs from the date of knowledge of the injury.

The date of knowledge is either the date of the accident - car crash leading to whiplash being a classic example or the date at which the person claiming the injury became aware of the injury, or (this is where you could come unstuck) the date at which the Court believes you should have been aware of the injury. This second option is called "constructive" knowledge.

Bottom line - seek professional assistance. RBL should be a good starting point. Alternatively, most law firms offer the first half hour interview free during which they should be able to resolve the situation if you have all the information you can gather available to show them.

No Win No Fee arrangements are subject to the law firm in question believing that you have a good claim. No Win No Fee means that the law firm is, in effect, gambling on you being successful because they will not get paid by the defendant until the claim is finished so they are bankrolling a claim. If you lose you pay nothing but the law frm will claim on an insurance policy that they will have taken out, at your expense, to pay the costs ordered to be paid from you to the defenfdant !

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