We have experts in a wide range of specialties who are experienced in giving evidence in cases of War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Proceedings
What are War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Proceedings?
In the UK, there are two compensation schemes for serving and former service personnel injured as a result of their service in the Armed Forces.
- The War Pension Scheme (WPS) compensates for any injury, illness or death which was caused by service before 6 April 2005.
- The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme provides compensation for any injury, illness or death which was caused by service on or after 6 April 2005.
Most decisions under these compensation schemes have a right of appeal. For decisions under the War Pension Scheme this is known as a review and for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme as a reconsideration. If an individual still has concerns about the decision, they can appeal to the War Pensions and Armed Forces Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal.
This chamber of the First Tier Tribunal decides whether the claimant’s illness/injury was caused or made worse by serving in the armed forces. If the conclusion is that this was the case, the Tribunal then decides whether the claimant is entitled to a pension or compensation, the quantum, and any entitlement to extra allowances (for example, mobility needs).
What issues do our experts typically address?
In order to consider a claim, the First Tier Tribunal collects information from as many sources as possible, inside and outside of the Ministry of Defence. This commonly includes information from experts in the fields of health and social care. The Tribunal may themselves choose to instruct specific experts to undertake an assessment of the claimant. Experts are also often instructed by the legal representative of the individual seeking compensation. Depending on the nature of the illness or injury sustained or exacerbated during active service, evidence from experts in many different specialities may be useful.
Under the War and Pension Scheme the awarded financial compensation depends largely on whether the illness or injury in question amounts to a disability, and the severity of that disability. A gratuity, or one-off payment, is awarded for less severe degrees of impairment, whereas a regular pension is given to individuals with more severe and/enduring disabilities.
An important aspect of instructing an expert witness may therefore be to establish whether the individual has a disability under section 6(1) of the Equality Act 2010, and if so, the degree of impairment caused by that disability. The specialism of the expert who should be instructed will depend on the nature of the disability. For example, in cases where a head injury has been sustained during active service, an expert in neurology is likely to be most appropriate. An expert in psychology or neuropsychiatry may also be instructed to complete assessments to ascertain whether any degree of cognitive impairment has been sustained due to the injury.
Experts in psychiatry are often instructed to comment on whether a mental disorder reaches the threshold to be considered a disability. They may also be asked to provide evidence on psychiatric injury. This is the amount of psychiatric harm that has been sustained as a result of an event or series of events occurring during the relevant period. A common example for these proceedings would be whether a claimant has symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and if these symptoms were caused or exacerbated by events occurring during active service. If this is the case, the expert may be asked to give evidence on the nature and degree of impairment the claimant has suffered as a result of these symptoms, and the impact on their level of functioning.
It may not always be clear which expert is most appropriate for a particular case. For claimants suffering with chronic pain originating from a limb injury for example, several different experts may be able to provide evidence on the claimant’s condition. An orthopaedic surgeon and/or radiology expert witness will be able to give evidence on the nature and severity of the initial injury. Both a general practitioner and an expert in pain medicine can help the Tribunal to understand the resulting chronic pain in this situation, and the duration of treatment recommended. A physiotherapist can assess the extent of impairment caused, and an expert in occupational therapy can give guidance as to what adaptations to daily living are needed by the claimant. If there is doubt as to which expert(s) may be most appropriate to instruct in a particular case, we will be happy to discuss the case with you and provide guidance.
Looking for an expert to undertake your assessment?
If you are looking for an expert witness for War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Proceedings, please get in touch on 01865 587865 or email us at email@example.com to see how we may be able to help.