Those employed in the armed forces work in one of Britain's most hazardous occupations. Throughout the course of their career, military workers could potentially suffer a range of injuries, such as musculoskeletal disorders, fractures and wounds. However, they are not only exposed to physical harm; some service personnel have also reported psychological conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Regardless of the risks, however, employees often perform their jobs admirably. Yet, if they do suffer personal injury or an accident on a military base while carrying out their tasks, they may be able to claim compensation through the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA).
Set up by the Ministry of Defence in 2007, the SPVA aims to improve "personnel, pensions, welfare and support services to members of the Armed Forces and veterans". Consequently, those investigating how to claim military disability compensation should probably seek advice from this organisation first.
In the United States, military personnel who have sustained debilitating injuries may also be able to receive damages through a similar organisation – the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, figures released by American government officials in 2012 suggest that the VA could be struggling to cope with the high numbers of disabled veterans.
For example, of 1.6 million personnel sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, 45% had attempted or were attempting to claim military injury compensation. These figures compare unfavourably with those from the Gulf War (which ended in 1991), showing that only 21% of serviceman from this conflict attempted to make similar claims.
In addition, it has been reported that many recent veterans were seeking remuneration for multiple injuries. For example, on average, those who filed cases during 2011 were claiming between 11 and 14 conditions – potentially including ailments such as concussion and PTSD.
To put that into context, many veterans of the Vietnam conflict were allegedly receiving compensation for an average of no more than four health conditions. Therefore, these findings suggest two conclusions.
First, the VA is struggling to provide compensation for all these injured personnel. In fact, in 2013, it was reported that this organisation had managed to resolve almost all of the military disability claims from servicemen in Ohio – but these cases had been pending for more than two years.
Second, if nearly 50% of army personnel return from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and seek to claim compensation for a disability, then it can be argued that not enough is being done to prevent these individuals from suffering personal injury.
Claiming compensation through Seth Lovis & Co
If you were adversely affected while working in the British armed forces, Seth Lovis & Co might be able to help you claim compensation – providing the incident was not your fault.
To find out if you could benefit from one of our specialist military accident solicitors, please contact us today on 0370 218 4025. Alternatively, please complete an online enquiry form and we will respond at a time which is convenient for you.