Armed Forces (Pension and Compensation) Act 2004

This comes into force on 6th April 2005. It brings about the introduction of the much heralded no fault compensation scheme. It is a tariff-based system that is effectively based upon the JSB guidelines, which, in the more serious cases, provide for a guaranteed income payment to reflect the likely loss of earnings. The scheme will be administered by the Veterans Agency which is now within the domain of the Ministry of Defence.

One of the main differences between this scheme and the War Pensions Scheme is that serving personnel can apply whereas the War Pensions Scheme is only available post discharge.

The danger is that many members of the Armed Forces will conclude that the no fault scheme is the only route to follow. This is not correct. They are still able to pursue their ordinary civil remedies and a claim for damages. They are going to be infinitely better off in many instances by pursuing a civil claim.

There is a five-year time limit for bringing a claim, compared to the old seven-year time limit for the War Pensions Scheme.

Some recent CICA awards

a) A client was exercising control and restraint at a hospital. As the client was helping to get a patient back into the bedroom and onto his bed, he was pushed back and he injured his back on a set of shelves. The CICA application was refused first but on appeal an award of £2,500 was made. The client had been off work for more than 28 weeks. The CICAP reinstated the £2,500, and awarded an additional £300 for an additional rib injury, and accepted our arguments on special expenses of £1,285.43. The total award was £4,085.43.

b) At a CICAP hearing on 10th March 2005 we appealed against an award of £1,000 (level one) using evidence from a consultant psychiatrist; the CICAP agreed that the cases merited an award of £4,400 (level nine). We were also awarded the costs of the medical report, the cost of the medical records and the SCAND fee in full.

c) A park keeper was injured as a result of some local cherubs entering the park overnight and removing a manhole cover and then covering the hole with twigs, branches and leaves. The park keeper fell down the hole. The CICA accepted that there was a “crime of violence”.

Damage to artificial knee

A 60-year-old man, at date of trial, was sitting in a stationary vehicle when it was struck from behind by the defendant’s vehicle. He suffered injuries to his right knee and bruising to the right shoulder. The impact of the accident caused gross deformity to the knee replacement that the claimant had 13 years previously. As a result the claimant had to undergo revision surgery and have a new prosthesis fitted. Prior to the surgery the claimant was unable to bear weight and walk which greatly restricted his activities. He was away from work for 57 weeks. General damages were awarded of £8,750.

Ball -v- McDonald. Northampton County Court 10th December 2004

NHS treatment scheme delayed

A scheme, that would have enabled the NHS to recover the cost of treating victims of workplace accidents from insurers, has been delayed. It was due to be introduced on the 1st April. The Department of Health said it was still committed to introducing the scheme by October 2006 but there was “still a high level of concern about how the insurance market will cope”! We will need to wait and see.