Forces Veterans PTSD Cases Rise 26% in 12 Months

Military charity Combat Stress has raised concerns about the large increase in numbers of veterans seeking treatment for mental health problems including PTSD after serving in Iraq of Afghanistan. It reported a surge in numbers of 26% in just one year.
Combat Stress is now dealing with 6 new HM Forces veterans asking for help every day, and has never been busier in its history.

The 26% increase in the last twelve months is twice the rise seen in the previous twelve months, and is due to a dramatic rise in the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coming forward.

This latest leap in cases follow on from many years of increases, and the cases of PTSD stemming from recent conflicts will only continue to rise, according to Combat Stress. The charity is calling for more NHS treatment for veterans.

Armed Forces PTSD – MoD denial

The UK Ministry of Defence however claims that the number of the cases of depression and PTSD in members of the Armed Forces is no greater than in the general population as a whole.
Statistics show that over the last year, 2,264 ex-soldiers, sailors or airmen came forward to veterans’ mental health charities seeking help. 75% of those undergoing treatment have PTSD, and many of those also suffer from depression or have problems with alcohol or drugs.

Earlier PTSD treatment – the good news

The good news is that veterans from these recent conflicts also appear to be coming forward far more quickly than military personnel who served in previous military conflicts – in particular in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands.

Statistics also show that veterans of the war in Afghanistan wait on average 2.2 years after leaving the Armed Forces before seeking treatment. Iraq veterans come forward after 4 years, but veterans from earlier conflicts take 13 years to seek help.

Further good news is that military personnel who served in Afghanistan or Iraq are thought to be better informed about mental health issues, and in addition, to feel less stigma about admitting they need help.

The lag in personnel coming forward means that Combat Stress expects to see the number of people coming forward to grow for some years to come, and the charity strongly encourages anyone who suspects that they are suffering from PTSD to seek help.

The MoD said that any increase was down to its work to reduce levels of stigma surrounding PTSD, and to encourage personnel to come forward. It also stated that there were no greater numbers of Forces personnel suffering from PTSD than in the public as a whole.

An academic paper in the British Medical Journal also stated that Combat Stress’s six week intensive therapy programme saw an improvement in PTSD symptoms in 87% of cases.

Victim of Military PTSD? Thinking of Compensation Claim? Contact Us Now

Whether you are currently serving in the UK Forces or have retired from the military, if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and think you could be entitled to compensation, contact us now.

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Soldiers injured in battle could now claim compensation

In an historic ruling, the Supreme Court has found that human rights legislation covers soldiers engaged in combat overseas. The court decided that soldiers had inalienable rights under UK law which applied which applied whether they were in the UK or abroad.

The ruling came after the MoD was taken to court by the families of three men who were killed in service in Iraq when their inadequately armoured vehicles were blown up by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Between 2005 and 2007, Kirk Redpath, Phillip Hewett and Lee Ellis lost their lives and their families sought damages from the MoD for negligently failing to discharge their legal duty of care to protect the soldiers so far as could reasonably be expected. Further claims for compensation were made by the relatives of men who were killed or sustained injuries after the Challenger tank they were in was fired upon by comrades in a separate vehicle. The families argued that the MoD had failed to train the soldiers adequately and that most censurably, it had sent them out in vehicles which were known to be underequipped.

The MoD’s lawyers argued that the claims were invalid because British soldiers were no longer under UK jurisdiction once they left their British base. The idea of “combat immunity” was central to the defence; the idea that it would be unjust and unreasonable to make the MoD’s duty of care apply to troops in the heat of battle.

The Supreme Court looked at various matters including whether or not it would indeed be unfair to impose such a duty of care on the MoD. It also looked into whether or not article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights covers British soldiers whilst they are abroad (which would assume that they are within UK jurisdiction).

It was found that the principle of combat immunity was not relevant in this case and that the soldiers were within UK jurisdiction, therefore giving them human rights as recognised by UK law. However, whether or not those rights were breached will need to be decided at further trials meaning that the legal battles are likely to continue for some time as families will be able to bring claims citing both negligence and breaches of human rights. It is highly likely that the ruling of the Supreme Court Justices will lead to a host of similar claims but each case will be considered on an individual basis.

The issue of troops being sent into war underequipped has caused major controversy in recent years with stories of troops being forced to buy their own protective equipment shocking newspaper readers. Many have accused the MoD of neglect whilst others have defended the government y saying that it has made the most of limited resources. However, the deaths of the men named in this case demonstrates that soldiers are not receiving the protection they deserve and it is crucial that the MoD responds to the ruling by improving the level of protection afforded to soldiers who are serving overseas.

Call our military lawyers for expert advice on compensation claims

If you are considering bringing a military injury claim against the MoD, you will need to have a specialist military lawyers on your side. The team here at Bonallack and Bishop are military law experts and could help you win the compensation you deserve wherever you are based – at home or abroad.

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Claiming for loss of hearing or deafness in the military

Those who have served in the military and suffered hearing loss of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) after 1987 may find that they are eligible to claim compensation.

Loud engines, heavy machinery, explosions and gunfire can all lead to hearing loss, especially when Armed Forces personnel are not provided with the equipment they need to protect their hearing. The damage to hearing can be long-term, from tinnitus to deafness and it is only fair that individuals are compensated if they suffer due to failures on the part of the MoD. The MoD is bound by 2005 regulations designed to prevent the exposure of workers to very loud noises. The MoD should provide those exposed to high noise levels with ear plugs but it often not done. The health and hearing of military personnel should also be checked regularly.

In order to claim compensation for hearing loss, comprehensive evidence will be needed. An audiologist will be needed to assess the claimant and produce a report on the cause of their injuries and their severity. If it can be shown that the loss of hearing has been sustained due to military service rather than other factors and that this directly resulted from the negligence of the military, the claim is likely to succeed.

The armed forces rely on the excellent communication skills and teamwork or all members. Hearing loss can therefore be career threatening. If you have serious hearing difficulties or ear problems such as ear drum perforation or grommets, you will not be accepted into the armed forces. Equally, if you develop serious hearing difficulties, you could be discharged from service.

Recent research from a campaign group suggests that 2 out of every 3 members of the armed forces who served in Afghanistan now have hearing difficulties.

Call our military lawyers for advice on military deafness claims

It is important to instruct expert solicitors for your military deafness compensation claim but these can be difficult to come by. Fortunately, the solicitors at Bonallack & Bishop specialise in military injury claims.

Whether you are in the army, navy or air force, if you are thinking of claiming compensation for your hearing loss, get in touch today with us on 01722 422300, or

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Military injury claims – the real figures, the real cost

According to figures recently published by the government, the last seven years has seen 36,000 retired and serving military personnel successfully claim injury compensation. In addition to the successful claims, a further 11,000 were unsuccessful.

The statistics also reveal that since 2005, 16,000 of those 36,000 claims, were made by military personnel for injuries they suffered either on training or on the battlefield – under which together they received a total compensation package of almost £341 million.

The figures confirm that the highest military injury compensation claim payouts were to those who have received the most serious injuries – with individuals receiving lump sums of up to £570,000 to a total of £114 million.

One of the reasons given for the rise,  of course, was the introduction by the Ministry of Defence after 2005, of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. The new scheme is, as I reported in an earlier blog [Click here to read my earlier blog about the AFCS], is hardly generous rise scandalously little compensation for many serious injuries – far, far less than you would receive in a civilian court for an accident at work – but that scheme was a distinct improvement on the scheme. It replaced in 2005 – the much more limited War Pension Scheme. Partly due to more active promotion of the new and improved compensation scheme by the MoD (with increased advertising, it was featured for example, on YouTube) just 165 military personnel made claims for compensation in 2005 – but under the new Armed Forces Compensation Scheme , by 2011-12 that figure had increased to  8,815.

Those who work with the military you in will be aware of the truly horrendous injuries suffered by many serving soldiers – especially in Afghanistan. Whereas in years gone past, many of those with severe injuries simply died on the battlefield, improved modern medical techniques mean that  many more of those with really serious injury, survive – and this includes, for example, an increasing number of multiple amputees.

It seems to me, the providing a fair level of compensation for those who are severely injured whilst serving their country is entirely proper – yet the likes of the Daily Mail have launched yet another smear campaign against the so-called compensation culture, criticising the amount of compensation made payable to military personnel.

Whilst no one would support compensation being awarded in respect of fraudulent military claims for compensation, surely no one, not even the Daily Mail, could expect someone who had suffered severe physical injuries, with the loss of multiple limbs in the course of fighting for their country, to receive no financial assistance at all.

Thinking of making a military injury compensation claim? Our specialists can help

If you have sustained an injury on the battlefield or during a training exercise you could be entitled to compensation. Don’t rely on the MoD’s own Armed Forces compensation scheme – payouts are set well below the level of awards in civilian courts.

For specialist legal advice, simply give a military law solicitor from our team a call on 01722 422300, or

Get in touch using the enquiry form below.

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Claiming compensation for military injury – two options

As a member of the Armed Forces, you have two options when it comes to claiming compensation for an accident sustained on duty.

Firstly, you can follow the usual civilian claims route and make your personal injury claim against the Ministry of Defence through a county court with the assistance of a specialist accident claims solicitor. This is the way most service personnel choose to make a claim.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Alternatively, you may prefer to claim for yourself, or on behalf of a family member through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) which is open to all military personnel. The AFCS was established in 2005 as a replacement for the War Pensions Scheme and accounts for all types and severity of injury.

The scheme was designed to reduce the traffic in the county courts, instead encouraging armed forces members to use the military process and with the number of military claims going through county courts declining it appears to have been successful. The problem is that those using AFCS tend to receive smaller payouts due to the rigid 15 tiered system used to assess injuries and the compensation that should be paid. Unfortunately, this means that claimants often receive less than they deserve and effectively only receive their military pension with a small amount added as compensation.

The AFCS will not pay out more than £570,000 irrespective of the seriousness of the injury and when this is compared to the millions which may be awarded in a disastrous injury claim it appears very small. Some important considerations appear to be overlooked in AFCS payouts such as medical care expenses, loss of earnings due to forced retirement, costs of adapting the home and lost pension rights. These things would all be considered in the county courts.

It should be mentioned that the scheme generously gives claimants 7 years in which to make their claim compared to the three year claims limit enforced by the county courts. The danger here though is that is that military personnel are unaware of the different time limits and miss out on their chance to claim in the county courts.

For specialist advice on Military Injury Compensation, call us today

If you’re thinking of making claim following either an accident at work, or after suffering medical negligence in the military, we strongly advise that you instruct a military injury claims expert to handle your case. These can be hard to come by but thankfully our accident claim team have the experience of dealing with the military you need to recover the full and fair amount of compensation that you deserve – wherever you are based in the UK, or overseas.

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Claiming compensation – army training accidents

You would expect the vast majority of army accidents to be sustained in the heat of battle, however a greater number of injuries (albeit less serious ones) are suffered on manoeuvres and in training.

When army personnel are not given sufficient briefing and preparation or are treated neglectfully by superiors they can be put at great risk during training exercises. Procedures exist to negate the risks involved but these are sometimes not followed leading to accidents which cause injury. If you are injured on armed forces training and it is not your fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

When you join the army, you prepare yourself for a dangerous career and the exercises you undertake in preparation for war are also likely to carry a degree of risk. However, like anyone, members of the army should be able to rely on their employers to protect their well being in the workplace. If members of the armed forces are not properly briefed or supplied with faulty equipment by their supervisor a compensation claim should be considered. However, a successful claim will require proof that the injuries sustained were caused by negligence or careless on the part of the MoD.

There are deadlines for making a claim so it is important to act quickly. Generally speaking, military injury claims must be made within 3 years of the incident. However, this limit is increased to 5 years if you are claiming under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Thinking of making a claim after an army accident? Our army lawyers can help

If you have sustained an injury during an army training exercise which you do not believe was your fault, our specialist army lawyers could help you win deserved compensation.

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Common causes of work accidents in the military

Work in the Armed Forces can, to the uninformed outsider, appear far more hazardous than almost any job they might care to consider outside of the military. The tendency is to believe that members of the armed forces spend much of their time handling weapons, munitions and explosives, parachuting out of aircraft, riding over rough terrain in huge, heavy armoured vehicles and generally risking life and limb twenty four seven.

In actual fact, with the exception of combat, they are as safe at work as most people and a good deal safer than many. That is because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) or any sub-contractor employing people in the military are under the same legal duty as any other employer to ensure that workplaces are safe and to ensure as far as is reasonably practicably the health and safety of their employees.

Only in very rare and exceptional cases will the Secretary of State for Defence exempt the MoD from having to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 on grounds of ‘national security’ or due to what is called the ‘combat exemption’; where personal injury claims cannot be brought in instances where the injury was sustained when the victim was in a combat zone and exposed to enemy action.

Consequently the causes of most of the work accidents in the military tend to be the same as the causes of similar accidents in other work sectors. Accidents involving slips and trips and manual and other handling statistically predominate, followed by being hit by an object and falls from height. This suggests that, as is still frequently found in ‘civvy street’, there can be instances in the military of poor health and safety practice around keeping the workplace clean and tidy to prevent slips and trips and providing sufficient or adequate manual handling training and reinforcing that training in a timely manner.

Less frequent instances of failures to keep military personnel safe at work manifest as injuries sustained as the result of inadequate clothing in cold and wet weather, friendly fire, sports accidents, military medical negligence, training accidents, road traffic accidents and psychological trauma/combat stress. Most of the accidents are avoidable, a considerable proportion are not the fault of the victim and just because that victim is a serving member of the military does not in any way mean that they are not permitted or entitled to make a workplace military accident claim for compensation.

For expert advice about claiming military accident compensation, talk to us first.

How common are accidents in the military workplace?

Considering all the potential dangers that members of the armed forces encounter in the course of their normal work, for instance in handling firearms and munitions, explosives, specialist vehicles, fast-roping, undertaking demanding physical training and playing sports, the number of accidents reported annually in recent years are relatively low. In 2010-11 the military reported the following accidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

• 1 fatality (due to a fall from height).

• 83 major injuries (the vast majority caused by slips and trips and rest as a result of manual and other handling, being hit by an object, falls, vehicles, animals and harmful substances).

• 181 over 3 day injuries, a third of which were caused by slips and trips and the remainder, in slightly different proportions, caused by the same factors as for major injuries.

Of course one accident is an accident too many but the gradually declining numbers of accidents in all reportable categories indicate that the Ministry of Defence is continuing to improve its expertise in risk management.

The statistics reported above only include injuries serious enough to require reporting to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 and do not provide any indication of how many injuries in total are suffered by people working in the military which do not fall into that category. Fortunately, for the purposes of this article, a 2011 study for the US National Institute of Health (NIH) provides a snapshot of what could be considered a representative example of injury rates and risk factors for 660 British infantry soldiers sampled undergoing standard pre-deployment training. Additionally, data compiled by the Defence Analytical Services & Advice organisation indicates a markedly higher number of fatalities (non combat) and major injuries than appear in the HSE figures.

The NIH study found that in the course of the training 58.5% of the soldiers suffered one or more injuries. 71% of those injuries were to the lower body, including 14% to the lower back, 19% to the knees and 15% to ankles. 83% of the total injuries were blunt trauma injuries. The injuries were sustained thus:

    • 30% physical training
    • 26% general training/work
    • 22% playing sports
    • 22% other causes

95% of the sample stated that they had previously suffered lower body and specifically lower back injuries during their period of service.

These statistics, if we choose to consider them as a representative sample of the injuries and risks experienced by the military as a whole, suggest that HSE reported injuries might represent just the tip of an enormous unreported and uncompensated injury iceberg.

Contact our Military Injury Claim Solicitors today

Considering making a military injury compensation claim? Our team are specialists

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The consequences of military related illness and disease

Taking the consequences of military related illness and diseases in order of importance from a humanitarian standpoint inevitably places the pain and suffering of the service personnel who contract diseases and fall ill through no fault of their own unquestionably in the number one position. Some of the diseases members of the military can be exposed to in far flung corners of the globe can be extremely unpleasant and even potentially fatal, such as Coxiella Durnetii which can cause inflammation of the heart or Visceral Leishmaniasis which inflicts a cocktail of adverse health outcomes, such as fever, enlargement of internal organs, weight loss and even death on its victims.

Add to those more ‘exotic’ ailments such well-known diseases as tuberculosis, malaria, influenza, various industrial diseases and a range of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), to name but a small number, and it is easy to understand the extent of the potential health perils serving members of the military might be exposed to – if their employer doesn’t comprehensively discharge their duty of care towards them. The vast majority of food, soil and water-borne diseases, industrial diseases, blood-borne infections, respiratory infections and STDs are preventable or treatable and the Ministry of Defence has a legal responsibility under current health and safety regulations to see to that they are prevented or treated.

The second most important consequence of military related illness and disease is the reduction in efficiency in the armed forces caused by servicemen and women being unavailable for duty due to having contracted a disease and fallen ill. A recent study of hospitalised and out-patient British servicemen/women carried out by the American National Institute for Health (NIH) found that within their sample, on average, those hospitalised due to disease stayed in hospital for 3 days and were off duty for 20 days. Those who were out-patients and attended hospital on average once were off duty for 22 days. Considering that on average ten to fifteen times the number of service personnel fall in due to disease (usually on operational duty) than are injured as a result of being injured in combat, the scale of the problem begins to come into focus.

At number three in the top three of consequences is the fact that service personnel, who contract diseases because their employer failed to take the necessary steps to protect them, might be able to make a claim for compensation. Many service personnel, who find themselves in this situation, for instance, suffering from malaria because they were not vaccinated or vaccinated in time or suffering from the effects of inhaling asbestos dust or some other hazardous substance, would benefit from consulting a specialist solicitor who specialises in military injury claims.

Need a Military Injury Claim Solicitor – call us today

There are strictly enforced time limits for all accident and medical negligence claims. Don’t risk losing your right to the compensation you deserve.

For FREE phone advice and a FREE first appointment from one of our Specialist Military Solicitors;

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Military injuries – the official statistics

Recent figures from the Ministry of Defence tell us that, in the last decade, over 190,000 British Soldiers have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, with about a quarter of those having been in both war zones.

We work for serving military personnel on a very regular basis, and we go behind the wire to advise soldiers most weeks. It is always shocking to actually find out how many servicemen have been severely injured on active. The sad thing is that these injuries have become so very common, that the news really reports them – focusing only on palaces, which are a small percentage of the number of soldiers who are left with often horrendous injuries – including multiple amputations.

In fact, according to figures on the website of the MoD itself [which you will find at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInAfghanistanBritishCasualties.htm ] in the period between 1 January 2006 and 31 August 2012, the military reported the following casualty levels;

• 2,005 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to Field Hospitals and categorised as Wounded in Action -these injuries are considered serious – the figures do not include minor injuries.

• 4,109 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to Field Hospitals for what is described as either “disease or non-battle injuries” [non battle injuries are apparently classified as any injury not caused by a hostile act – these include traffic accidents and sports injuries for example

However the harm suffered by UK servicemen is not restricted to physical injury. War is a traumatic experience for soldiers and research shows that around a third of war veterans will get mental health problems, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as a result of what they have seen and dealt with whilst serving in the forces. This is particularly true with severe trauma relating to disfigurement or amputation.

Many military personnel, quite often frontline soldiers, will develop symptoms such as clinical depression, sleeplessness, nightmares, restlessness and feeling emotionally numb. Symptoms can often worsen with time and can lead to alcohol or drug abuse, and sometimes criminal behaviour.

While the psychological effects of war on an individual cannot be changed, we now have a better grasp of the ways to treat the problem. Often, treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) can really help an individual.

It is important to allow returning war veterans the opportunity to discuss their problems openly, knowing they will be treated with understanding and given the help they need to get their life back on track.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from a physical or psychological injury as a result of military service and you think they might be entitled to compensation, get them to call or email our special military injury claim solicitors – personal injury solicitors who understand the military.

Contact Our Military Lawyers

We represent serving military personnel throughout the UK, and those posted or deployed abroad – and those who have retired from the military. So wherever you are based, for specialist, clear, practical legal advice, get in touch with our Military Lawyers today:

• By phone on 01722 422300 or

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