Ministry of Defence Negligence Claims
Posted on 19th February 2020
A recent investigation by the BBC has found that the Ministry of Defence breached Health and Safety Laws 40 times in the last 20 years, renewing calls for a change in the Law to allow prosecution of the Ministry of Defence for negligence. The investigation focuses on training and selection processes for the military where soldiers were required to complete exercises, including long distance ‘against the clock’ marches in high temperatures and with little wind to cool the soldiers. Multiple soldiers have died as a result of the same SAS selection test in 2013 when they were required to march 16 miles as quickly as possible wearing 25kg packs. The day in question was one of the hottest of the year and a Senior Coroner investigating the deaths ruled that the Army’s planning that day was “poor” and that they had been “neglected by the Army”.
Despite this finding, another soldier died during an annual Army fitness test in July 2016. Corporal Hoole, described as one of the fittest soldiers in his unit and having toured Afghanistan on active service, collapsed and died near the end of the course he was set. Almost half of the soldiers participating that day 18 out of 41, either dropped out, collapsed or were withdrawn by medical staff.
It is not just extreme heat but also poor equipment that has caused deaths, with specialist divers being killed due to equipment that the Ministry of Defence was warned to replace on multiple occasions, with the latest deaths occurring in 2018. Overall, 148 Service Personnel have died during training exercises in the past 20 years. Whilst signing up for military service comes with a known risk, it can be generally expected that most recruits expect danger to come in the field and from enemy forces, rather than during controlled, planned exercises and from kit provided to them by the Ministry of Defence.
The Ministry of Defence cannot be prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive as it has Crown Immunity and so, there is no sanction or change that can be imposed, even in the event of a Coroner’s verdict, clearly laying blame at their door, as described above. MG Legal, your local personal injury solicitor, can advise that it is still possible to make a Civil Claim for compensation following injury or death, however, this is a monetary award, rather than any finding of Criminal responsibility or an obligation that the Ministry of Defence must change its’ processes.
Such a Civil claim would be similar to an Employer’s Liability claim, which non-military individuals would make following an Accident at Work. MG Legal, your local personal injury solicitor, regularly pursues personal injury claims against employers for people who have been injured as a result of an Accident at Work. If you have sustained an injury or illness whilst at work that you believe could have been prevented, whether by better training, better equipment or any other reason, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and also to recover any losses such as lost earnings and medical expenses.
If you believe you have been injured at work and that it was not your fault, contact MG Legal, your local personal injury solicitor, to discuss your case with one of our specialist team. We look to accept all personal injury claims, including accident at work cases, on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) and we have offices in Lancaster, Garstang and Longridge. Please contact our offices by phone, email, web-contact form or by calling into any office and we will be happy to help and get your claim started today.
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