Last Updated on 16.12.20 by Gary Boyd
Gary Boyd, Partner and the Firm’s Military and Extreme Sports Personal Injury Specialist has recently settled two separate military non-freezing cold injuries (NCFI) claims, securing outstanding settlements for both his clients (in excess of £1.3 million for the 2 claims). In both cases, the MOD ultimately accepted 100% liability.
Both of Gary’s clients came from Nigeria to the UK to pursue full and rewarding careers in the British Army, and both have been discharged by the Army due to their injuries sustained during their service. They have been unable to work since because of their injuries, with symptoms including constant pain in hands and feet as well as having to deal with the associated impact on their mental health.
Gary Boyd said:
“Securing these settlements for these two loyal veterans is why we do what we do for a living. These two guys served the UK and the British Army with courage and determination. They came to the UK and enlisted in the Army with the intention of serving for a full 24 years and to give themselves and their families a better life. Through no fault of their own (as was ultimately accepted by the MOD) they sustained avoidable, and very debilitating and permanent injuries. The damages we recovered for them will at least allow them to rebuild their and their young families’ lives. Like so many soldiers/veterans, despite their suffering, they displayed extreme stoicism and were reluctant litigants but a pleasure to act for. “Gary Boyd, Partner and Military and Extreme Sports Personal Injury Specialist at Gorvins Solicitors
What is a non-freezing cold injury?
Non-freezing cold injury (NFCI) symptoms are commonly suffered in the feet and/or hands (the most well-known form is ‘trench foot’), typically after a soldier has been cold and wet for a sustained period of time. On rewarming, there is altered sensation and often discolouration along with swelling and pain (often extreme and debilitating). Also, due to the pain and the effects on careers (sufferers are very often medically discharged), NFCI often causes psychological symptoms.
Non-freezing cold injuries (NFCI’s) often lead to long term/ permanent increased sensitivity to cold and pain. Whilst all soldiers are at risk of NFCI, research suggests those of black Afro-Caribbean ethnicity are at 2.8 to 6 times more susceptible.
What should you do if you have a non-freezing cold injury?
It is crucial that soldiers noticing any NFCI symptoms report them promptly to their medical officer/ centre. They should then be referred for the requisite investigations. These are typically carried out at the MOD’s old Injury Clinics. Delays in investigation and diagnosis should be minimised because those diagnosed with NFCI should immediately be placed on restricted employment, sheltered from cold and damp conditions and are unlikely to be able to play many sports or to be fully deployable, in order to maximise the chances of recovery.
Making a legal claim for a non-freezing cold injury
It is vital that those suffering from suspected NFCI’s seek early legal advice, as strict time limits (usually three years from the incident causing the injury) apply in bringing claims. This is particularly important in the many cases where soldiers face the possibility of early medical discharge.