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A Guide To Royal Air Force Injury Compensation Claims ( RAF )

The Royal Air Force, colloquially known as the RAF incorporates the UK’s regular air force, RAF auxiliary and Royal Air Force Reserves. Along with the navy, it is one of the UK’s armed forces with a royal assent. Serving in many roles within the RAF can be inherently dangerous. However, serving forces personnel, civilian contractors and reservists have the right to expect that their safety will be protected when they are not in a combat situation or the line of duty. If this care has been breached, the affected person may be able to make a Royal Air Force injury compensation claim against the Government or Ministry of Defense (MOD).

Whilst serving in the Royal Air Force will always carry risks, it is however accepted that regular, auxiliary and reserve personnel should be protected when serving in non-combat roles, non-combat situations, on base or other places during their service. All personnel should also be equipped with the correct equipment and training to carry out their duties as safely as possible on a day by royal air force injury compensation claimday basis, and also when on active combat duty.

Accidents and injuries can happen outside of combat zones, whether in training or in more ‘civilian like’ environments. However, whilst you are a member of the armed forces, the Government has a duty to minimise these risks and the likelihood of personnel being injured. Anyone who has suffered an avoidable injury whilst a part of the UK armed forces could be eligible to make a Royal Air Force injury compensation claim against the MOD. Depending on the circumstances and nature of your injury, there are two routes for service personnel to begin a claim. These are made through a personal injury claim in the civil courts or through the government-backed, Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

If you have been injured in a military accident, where safety procedures or training have not been followed you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim. For more information, read our guide below.

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Air Force Injury Compensation Claims

Historically, making armed forces and air force injury compensation claims have been harder to process than straight civilian compensation claims. However legislative changes in the last few decades have made it easier for RAF and armed forces personnel who have an accident resulting in an injury to begin a claim. These newer laws were put in place to protect air force personnel, reservists and civilian’s whilst in the workplace. Our guide is designed to help you better understand your rights. The 1987 Crown Proceeding Armed Forces Act allows RAF and other armed forces personnel to make a claim for compensation. They just need to be able to show that the Ministry of Defence has been negligent in its duty of care and has failed to provide a safe working environment.

Making a civil claim against the Ministry of Defence can happen for a variety of reasons and members of the RAF and other air force branches may be injured in a variety of ways. An RAF accident could happen whilst the claimant is serving on a base in the UK, abroad or whilst they are undergoing training. Situations, where air force personnel could be injured, include; training or exercise, accidental explosions, falling from structures (such as an aircraft/ airframe or assault course), car and other vehicular.

Specialist Armed Forces Injury Solicitors

If you have been injured as a member of RAF, you might want to choose a specialist armed forces solicitors to work with you and get you the compensation you deserve. RAF personnel can be exposed to many of the same risks that people working in the civilian world can. They can also be exposed to a variety of accident and injury types which are specific to the armed forces and to the royal air force. Common air force injury claims can include injuries such as;

  • Slips, trips and falls – one of the most common accident types.
  • Accidents when handling or using defective equipment.
  • Manual handling accidents with equipment (can also be caused by insufficient training).
  • Noise-induced hearing loss. This can have multiple causes, from insufficient ear protection when aircraft are taking off to loud noises and insufficient protection when an ordinance is detonated.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials, such as asbestos, can cause cancers and other diseases.

Airforce injury compensation claims can include any or multiple injuries stated above. They can also include a range of other accidents, injuries and illnesses that occur as a result of their service.

The only exception to being able to make a claim is if the injuries were sustained whilst on duty/ in service in an active war zone, when in combat, warlike conditions or in conflict situations. In these situations, the Ministry Of Defence may suspend compensation claims. However, if the injury was the result of an accident, such as being caused by defective equipment, you may still be able to make a claim for compensation.

Do I Have An Air Force Injury Claim?

If you have been injured as a member of the RAF the process for claiming compensation can be different to making a normal civilian accident claim. There are two ways in which you can make a personal injury claim if you have been injured in the armed forces. These are, making a standard civil claim through the courts, or through the ACFS – Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. If your illness or injuries are outside the armed forces time limit, you can still bring a claim for compensation but you will need to make a claim via the war pension scheme. You can find more information on this by checking with the Veterans Agency. Personnel who are still serving may still be able to make a claim through the AFCS. For more information on your best route, talk to a specialist personal injury solicitor today.

As a member of the RAF or wider armed forces, if you are making a civil claim you have three years either from the date of the initial injury or from the presentation of your symptoms. Civil claims allow a claimant to claim for damages beyond the initial injury. These can include loss of income, treatment costs and other out of pocket expenses you may have incurred as a result of your accident.

If you suffered your injury in the theatre of war you can’t usually make it possible to make a claim for your injuries. In some cases, there have been cases where government policy or decisions have caused a breakdown in or insufficient supply of equipment. In these cases, you may be able to make a claim. Our panel of expert solicitors will be able to work with you to provide clear advice about the best way to make your claim.

What Is The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a no-fault system. This means that service personnel only need to show that the illness or injury happened whilst in the RAF to make the claim, they do not need to show it was the fault of the RAF. This is especially helpful for cases where it is hard to prove liability. Claimants using the civil courts still need to show their injury was caused by negligence.

As with civil courts, the AFCS has a time limit, though this is longer at seven years from the date of the accident, or if the symptoms only arise after this period you have three further years in which to make the claim. This works in the same way that civil claims work. This scheme can only provide compensation for the injuries or illness suffered and associated pain. It also can only make awards based on the armed forces compensation scheme tariff. For the most serious of cases, this scheme will award a guaranteed monthly payment for life after the claimant has been discharged from the armed forces or RAF.

Which route to claiming the compensation you need and deserve after an injury in the armed forces and air force, in particular, will depend upon your individual circumstances. There are benefits and drawbacks to both claims routes and which is right for you depends on your injury and claim circumstances. At the start of your claim, you should see the advice of an experienced solicitor who can advise you about how to proceed with your claim, and what the implications of making it could be for you. In some circumstances, you may be able to make a claim through both the civil courts and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. However, you won’t be awarded compensation for both or receive double the award. whichever award is greater will be paid out.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Compensation

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is commonly defined as a mental disorder which can be triggered by a traumatic event in a person’s life. To be defined as PTSD, it needs to last for more than a month and cause the person to have recurring flashbacks to the event as well as disturbing dreams and other emotional issues. The PSTD may or may not be severe enough to impair the person’s ability to carry on in their normal life and some people may outwardly seem not stressed and able to carry on working.

Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can include; unpleasant dreams, disturbing flashbacks, distressing memories, emotional numbness, physical pain as well as shaking/ trembling and vomiting as well as sickness. Other mental effects include clinical stresses, anxiety and emotional instability. The symptoms of PTSD may not be limited to those mentioned above and different people will experience PTSD in different ways. Not all people will suffer all the symptoms and not all sufferers will have all the symptoms at the same time. Some people experience these symptoms in a more severe way and for longer than other sufferers.

RAF personnel who have post-traumatic stress disorder can have their lives totally disrupted by these experiences and may continually question themselves as to why they are going through these symptoms as well as why they are reliving these events again and again. Wider society can be a problem for those suffering from PTSD and the recurring injuries as well as lack of, or disturbed sleep can have a lot of effects for the people suffering from PTSD. Those with PTSD can find it difficult to concentrate on day-to-day tasks and that this can cause them to become angry, irritable, as well as agitated for a lot of the time.

Other PTSD symptoms can include mental health issues such as general depression, anxiety and symptoms of fear. Sufferers may turn to emotional crutches such as alcohol or even self-harm as a way to get through the day. Their behaviour may be become more destructive, and lead them to drugs as well as other behaviours. Talk to the expert legal solicitors at Legal Expert today for more information on armed forces compensation scheme PTSD payout amounts and awards.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For An Air Force Injury?

All employers, including the Ministry Of Defence, have a legal duty to ensure that their employees have a safe and secure workplace. Personnel have the right to carry out their day-to-day duties in a safe way. It binds the MOD and Air Force to maintain equipment in the highest standard of repair. Employers should ensure that service personnel are always trained to carry out their duties in the safest possible way, manually handling equipment in the right way. To safely make a compensation claim, solicitors working on your behalf need to show that the Air Force was in some way negligent, and that this negligence was the cause of the persons’ accident and injury. If negligence can be proven, the claim will proceed in the same way as normal civil Air Force injury compensation claims. Below are some examples of RAF compensation scheme payouts and awards that you might be eligible to receive.

InjurySeverityAmountNotes
Chest InjuriesModerateUp to £3,000This includes fractures of the ribs and damage to the soft tissues which cause serious pain and disability for several weeks
Neck InjuriesSevere£50,000 - £99,500 This includes more serious fractures or damage to spinal discs which later can cause disabilities.
Neck InjuriesMinor£3,300 - £6,000 Minor injuries from which the claimant will recover within a two year period.
Back InjuriesSevere£29,475 - £53,000 This also includes soft tissue damage which can lead to long-term chronic conditions.
Back InjuriesModerate£21,100 - £29,475 Includes a very wide range of injuries. Some may include the future risk of lasting osteoarthritis. There will also be lasting pain and discomfort.
Leg InjuriesModerate£21,100 - £29,800 Damage to the knee joint, muscle wastage and lasting limited movement in the joint. Leading to general instability in the knee.
Leg InjuriesSerious£13,650 - £21,100 Fractures or soft tissue damage where the claimant can make a complete recovery.
Leg InjuriesModerate£6,925 - £10,700 Simpler leg fractures where there is no lasting damage.
Knee InjuriesSerious£53,000 - £73,125Including knee injuries where the claimant will develop osteoarthritis.
Knee InjuriesSerious£39,625 - £53,000 Fractures which extend into and through the knee joint. Leading to lasting pain and discomfort.
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere£47,000 - £81,000 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amounts could range higher than this when special damages are included.
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderSerious£18,000 - £47,000These are more serious PTSD cases, but ones where it is not severe enough to warrant the maximum payout.
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderModerate£5,500 - £18,000People who are suffering from 'medium/ moderate' levels of PTSD will generally make a full recovery and within a shorter period of time.
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderMild£3,100 - £5,000 More mild cases of PTSD will only show certain symptoms of the disorder and these will only display in very mild forms.

Whilst AFCS claims will only take into account direct physical and emotional injuries, a civil claim will also include other things. Claims we can pursue through the civil courts will also be able to include current and future lost earnings, out of pocket expenses and any costs of medical treatments. These types of damages are referred to as special damages.

RAF Compensation Scheme Payouts

One question many veterans and Air Force personnel will ask about the armed forces compensation scheme, how long does it take? Veterans UK will aim to process any Armed Forces compensation Scheme claims within a six month period. If you have a more simple personal injury claim, it may be possible to settle compensation claims with just a few months. The more complex the claim case, and the more complex the injuries (or injuries sustained in a war zone), the longer the case it likely to take and conclude. It is difficult to accurately determine how long it will take to agree to a settlement in your armed forces or civil claim compensation case. Sometimes it can be more beneficial for the claimant to refuse the first offer and wait for a higher settlement in the future. Civil claims and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims will proceed in different ways.

An AFCS claim is a no-fault type of case. This means that you and your solicitor will not need to prove who or what caused your accident and injuries. Rather, it only needs to be shown that the accident and injuries happened during the course of your service and duties. As such, in more complex cases these types of claims may have a higher chance of being awarded than an equivalent civil claim. In civil claims, you will have a good chance if the Royal Air Force does acknowledge their responsibility. However, if they do not, or if they insist that in fact, you were at fault, then your claim may be less likely to succeed through the civil courts.

As such, your solicitor will take you through the best way to make your claim. There are several steps you can take before you contact your solicitor and in the early stages of a claim to make it more likely to be successful.

The first steps you should take to make your claim as successful as possible is always to follow the correct reporting procedure for accidents and injuries. At the same time, you should also seek any medical attention needed to treat your injuries. As well as helping you to recover in the best possible way, recording your injury and seeking appropriate treatment, these records can later be drawn upon by your solicitor (and any medical experts cited) as supporting documentary evidence of your claim.

Further steps in your claims case should also include gathering all witness statements, as well as their contact details. If possible, you should take photos of the accident to document your injuries. You should then report the accident to the appropriate military authorities. Even if you are bringing a claim sometime after your injury was sustained, it is still worth taking as many of these steps as you can. The evidence will still help to document your case.

A Guide To Making A No win No Fee Air Force Accident Claim

At Legal Expert, we can help you with your Air Force injury compensation claim on a no win no fee basis. Put simply, this means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay anything towards your case.

No win no fee agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA’s) form the basis of most personal injury claims cases. The agreement is made between the solicitor and claimant and it will set out details of the work the solicitor will carry out on behalf of the claimant. Importantly (for the point of view of the claimant) it will also set out the fee and payment structure the claimant will pay under. It will state a percentage fee that will be deducted from the award if the solicitor is successful in pursuing the case. Legally, this fee can not be more than 25% of the total award. There will be no upfront fees for you to pay, or ongoing costs that you will have to meet during your case. As the fees are set out in the agreement, there won’t be any hidden costs or fees when you work with our personal injury solicitors.

Why Choose Us For Your RAF Injury Compensation Claim?

At Legal Expert, we have a fantastic reputation for serving our clients and getting them the compensation that they deserve. We will work with you to get you the compensation you deserve. The solicitors on our panel of legal experts have decades of experience between them in personal injury claims, making them the ideal people to help you recover and get your life back on track.

Call Legal Expert Today

Talk to Legal Expert today. Our dedicated specialist legal solicitors are on hand seven days a week to help with your claim. We will talk you through your case and start to look at the amount of compensation which you might be entitled to. Call us today on 0800 073 8804, use our online chat feature or send an email with the details of your case to info@legalexpert.co.uk and request a call-back.

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