Military Medical Negligence Claims

Bolt Burdon Kemp’s military claims experts are specialists in the unusual field of military medical negligence and have years of experience representing armed forces personnel.

Our team understands that military doctors, including civilian doctors working for the MoD, are required to demonstrate at least as high a duty of care towards service personnel as the NHS is towards civilians.

In some cases the military doctor’s special relationship with his or her patient, and knowledge of the unusual conditions on service life, means that this duty of care is even higher.

If the standard of medical care you received in the military fell below this standard then get in touch with us to talk about bringing a claim. We usually work on a no-win, no-fee basis and can also help with a claim with the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Medical negligence cases

Our military claims solicitors are highly experienced in dealing with compensation claims in the military.

The kinds of military medical issues that our team deals with include:

  • Heat injuries
  • Non freezing cold injuries
  • PTSD and psychiatric injury
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Injuries arising from training
  • Use of anti-malarial drugs such as Lariam (also known as mefloquine)
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Faulty discharge procedures
  • Movement between countries
  • Incorrect medical grading
  • Incorrect limitation on deployment

And we also have brought negligence claims after military personnel have been affected by medical issues that they have in common with the civilian population, including:

  • Orthopaedic injuries
  • Testicular cancer
  • Birth injuries
  • Spinal injuries

Duty of care and the military

Military medics not only have a duty of care towards those with specific health problems, they also have an obligation to ensure that personnel are fit for the duties they are assigned by their chain of command.

For example, a medical officer or military psychiatric nurse who ought to realise that a soldier is suffering from PTSD should think not only of treatment for the condition, but also of medical grading and whether procedures need to begin to prevent the patient’s deployment.

A failure here can result in a service man or woman being sent into combat, with the result that their condition deteriorates to the point that medical discharge is necessary. Here, the duty of care has been breached.

Failures by individuals or the system

Failures in care can happen if an individual medical practitioner makes a mistake or there is a fault in the system. This can lead to the wrong treatment being given to a service man or woman, the right treatment being denied, or it being delayed for so long that injury occurs or a career is lost.

In addition, because service personnel are exposed to unusual conditions, military medics have a duty to be on the alert for unusual conditions such as PTSD, compartment syndrome or cold and heat injuries.

Of course, service men and women are also susceptible to the same diseases as civilians, such as cancer – and these can be misdiagnosed by military medics. Each military medical negligence case is unique because the severity of the issues will differ on a case-by-case basis.

Specialist advice in military medical negligence

Military doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals are working according to procedures and following rules that are, in many ways, very different to those in the NHS or a private clinic.

Even a lawyer who is an expert in civilian clinical negligence work may not have the experience of the military health system that will allow him or her to deal effectively with a claim involving the treatment of a training injury by a Senior Medical Officer, for example.

We have years of experience in working with service personnel with military medical negligence claims, and have a wealth of knowledge of this very unusual area.

We are also fully aware of how complex and valuable military careers and pensions can be − both before and after discharge from the services. What could appear to be a relatively minor injury in a civilian context can often, if the victim is in the services, have catastrophic financial consequences which are not immediately apparently to the non-specialist.

Making a claim for medical negligence in the military

If you believe the medical attention you received in the military was inadequate, then contact our team to discuss a claim and how it would be funded. We may need to see your medical records before deciding on the best course of action.

There are time limits for bringing military medical negligence claims. Please visit the main military claims page for more information, and contact us as soon as possible.

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