Military Injuries Abroad and Combat Immunity | Bolt Burdon Kemp Military Injuries Abroad and Combat Immunity | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Military Claims

Military Injuries Abroad and Combat Immunity

Although combat immunity means you cannot make a military combat injury compensation claim after engaging in combat, there are exceptions. A specialist military solicitor may be able to help you secure life-changing compensation for the suffering you have experienced.


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What is combat immunity?

Combat immunity is a common law doctrine used as a defence by the Ministry of Defence. It means the Ministry can’t be held liable for negligence and deliberate damage caused by a member of the Armed Forces during combat operations.

Can I make a military combat injury compensation claim?

Combat immunity means that, normally, it is not possible to bring a civil claim for compensation when you have suffered an injury because of combat. However, you can still claim for an injury caused during training, exercises or deployment abroad where you were not in a combat situation.

Even if you were injured during combat, you may still be entitled to bring a claim if you can show that the fault happened in this jurisdiction. For example, all battlefield equipment, including weapons and vehicles, must be carefully assessed and troops must be trained appropriately.

After all, if a defect is missed or training is not provided, then this can lead to serious injury or death that could have been avoided, which means you could bypass the restraints of combat immunity.

You may also have a claim where an injury sustained during combat has been made worse by negligence. Your chain of command may have failed to support you after your injury, or your treatment may have been delayed due to medical negligence.

Get in touch to speak about the possibilities of making a military combat injury compensation claim.

How are injuries abroad and combat immunity linked?

As of April 2023, most personnel in the UK Regular Forces were stationed in the UK (around 96%). Meanwhile, over 5,800 personnel are stationed overseas in Europe (65%), North America (15%), North Africa (7%), the Middle East (7%) or Sub-Saharan Africa (6%).

Currently, combat activity happens abroad, which means that personnel in these settings will likely have to navigate combat immunity if they want to claim military combat injury compensation.

While you might think that being injured abroad means you won’t have the same level of protection as you would in the UK, you may still be able to claim with the help of an experienced combat immunity solicitor. They can establish whether you have a valid case and help you navigate cross-border issues.

What factors are considered when making a claim for military injuries abroad or combat immunity?

The Ministry of Defence has a duty to keep you safe when you are deployed abroad, whether you are travelling, on training exercises or on operations. It has promised to maintain, wherever possible, the same standards of health and safety abroad, as those that it has to uphold in the UK, including its obligations to:

  • Provide adequate training
  • Maintain equipment and vehicles so that they are safe to use
  • Provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Maintain a safe system of work
  • Prepare and review risk assessments
  • Arrange for adequate medical and treatment facilities
  • Arrange appropriate housing and accommodation.

How can our solicitors help you seek military combat injury compensation?

If you have suffered an injury during combat, it is still worth exploring your options because if it is something that could have been avoided, you may still be entitled to bring a civil claim for military combat injury compensation. You may also be entitled to bring a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation or War Pension Schemes.

Bolt Burdon Kemp has extensive experience of bringing claims against the Ministry of Defence for injuries caused by faulty equipment, unsafe working practices and poor risk assessments.

Whatever the reason for your injury, whether it is physical or psychological, our specialist solicitors are here to help you with your military combat injury compensation claim.

Meet our Military Claims Team

Hannah Swarbrick
Senior Associate – Part of the Military Claims Team
Gaggan Mawi
Partner – Part of the Military Claims Team
Marie-Joelle Theanne
Senior Solicitor – Part of the Military Claims Team
Meet the full team


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