Not Fit For Duty

Not Fit For Duty

If you can’t continue life in the Army because your arm hurts, make sure the guilty party coughs up…

I was involved in a straightforward accident. The other driver was apologetic and after three days I got a letter from his insurance company admitting the accident and offering me, if I needed it, physiotherapy. That was all very nice, but as my broken left wrist was still in plaster it wasn’t a lot of help to me. I am a craftsman mechanic in the Army.

I have got good physiotherapy from the Army, but I now have a real problem rotating my left wrist and hand. I am right handed. I have been offered £4,000 for my wrist injury, which my insurance company appointed solicitors told me was the correct sum of money for my injury.

However, I have been seen by an Army surgeon who tells me I have broken a small bone in my wrist. My insurance company are not interested in what my Army doctor has said, but have sent me to see a doctor six weeks after the collision who said, without having seen any X-rays, that I should be fully recovered in three to nine months.

A year on I still cannot properly use my left hand. My immediate boss in the Army has started making noises about whether or not I am fit to re-engage as there is so much work I cannot do. My current engagement comes to an end in two years, but it was my intention to serve 22 years, minimum, as a soldier. Surely my claim has got to be worth more than £4,000.

Answer

You have broken your scaphoid bone, a small bone in the wrist which allows rotation. It is a horribly common motorcycle injury and can be a career ending injury for a man in your work. Your claim is worth massively more than £4,000, but you do need to wait and see.

First of all you need a hand specialist surgeon. You have already had X-rays from the Army, so getting hold of X-rays should not be any difficult.TheArmy are pretty good at giving out medical records.

I suspect that you will be in real difficulty continuing work as a mechanic. The Army, like all HM Forces, tend to make decisions based on injury very slowly, but I think it is quite likely that you will not be invited to re-engage, so you will not be able to continue your Army career. You will probably be struggling to find work as an almost one handed mechanic in Civvy Street.

I suspect your claim is likely to be worth well into six figures, not £4,000. Do not take the money, and sack your claims monkey. Get a proper lawyer, your case is not a little whiplash but potentially life changing for you. You may well need to leave the Army and retrain. Like a lot of REME lads and lasses, you will be skilled but if you cannot fulfil a mechanic’s role in Civvy Street, most of your military skills will be pretty close to useless.

Your claim will include lost earnings fora career in the military with promotions, an Army pension, retraining and the difference in your life time earnings between a serving soldier and a disabled man doing a job of some description. It is a substantial case. However, you need to hold your fire until the Army decides if it wants to keep you on. A claims monkey who does not have the first clue about the impact of this injury on you and your lifetime earnings is a very dangerous thing in your life. It is a lot easier to get your claim right first time than later suing claims monkey for screwing up a relatively simple but high value case.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes March 2016

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: April 7, 2016 at 12:00 am

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.