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Friday, January 21, 2011

Does a Soldier sue the Government?

With Veterans Affairs Canada dithering over the wounded and injured from the war in Afghanistan is it time to move to the next step?

£1.7m payout for bravest of the brave Para who lost a leg when caught in an Afghanistan minefield trying to save comrade

To use Canadian examples as comparisons:
A single amputation is $125 000
Double amputation is $250 000
Triple amputation already maxed out at $250 000
Quadruple amputation already maxed out at $250 000
These payments are made through the Military insurance plan as soldiers are unable to purchase insurance from any other vendor... (SISIP)

VAC one time payment pays on disability and a single amputation is considered 45% disability and two amputation 100% and anything above its maxed out as well at $277 000.

The reason that a single amputation is maxed at 45% (despite the limb length; foot, ankle, through the knee and hip are all the same, same with hand, wrist, below the elbow, through the elbow and above the elbow) is that a condition of a soldier getting a 50% to 100% disability  payments have to be made to the spouse or survivor after death.... If less than 50% then no payments are required.

The future care clause in this UK soldiers settlement is something that VAC has already said it will cover... for the wounded.
The injured fall in a very deep dark grey zone that is very unclear.

Pride: Sergeant Stuart Pearson, then a corporal in dress uniform at a 2007 awards ceremony
Pride: Sergeant Stuart Pearson, then a corporal in dress uniform at a 2007 awards ceremony

Last updated at 9:59 AM on 20th January 2011
A Paratrooper who lost a leg in Afghanistan rescuing an injured colleague from a minefield yesterday won a claim for damages worth £1.7million.
Sergeant Stuart Pearson, 35, won a Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his extraordinary bravery when trying to save a severely wounded comrade.
But he suffered appalling injuries in the incident in 2006. His left leg was blown off when he trod on a mine and his right foot so badly damaged it may need amputating.
Corporal Mark Wright, 27 – who posthumously received the George Cross – was killed in the incident when they were marooned in an unmarked minefield, while three soldiers lost legs and three others were badly hurt.
In 2008, a coroner said Ministry of Defence chiefs should ‘hang their heads in shame’ over equipment shortages that led to Cpl Wright’s death.
He was struck by a landmine set off by the ‘downwash’ of a Chinook helicopter which was sent to rescue the soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment. 
The aircraft was trying to land because it did not have a winch to rescue the injured men.
The coroner highlighted other serious flaws, including the failure to provide maps identifying Soviet minefields laid 30 years earlier.
Sgt Pearson, who comes from East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, won his negligence claim against the MoD on the grounds of ‘breach of duty before contact with the enemy’.
The incident on September 6 began when Lance Corporal Stuart Hale left the platoon’s base in Kajaki to fire at a Taliban roadblock.
As he jumped over a dried-out riverbed he landed on a mine, losing a leg.
But as his colleagues reached L/Cpl Hale to carry him to safety, they realised they were in an unmarked minefield.
Prince Charles meets LCpl Stuart Hale, Cpl Stuart Pearson and Fussilier Andy Barlow, who were wounded in Afghanistan
Prince Charles meets LCpl Stuart Hale, Cpl Stuart Pearson and Fussilier Andy Barlow, who were wounded in Afghanistan
Sgt Pearson, then a corporal, radioed his commanders, saying: ‘We are in a minefield, we are in deep s*** – we need a winch.’ 
But he was told none of the aircraft available had the equipment. As Sgt Pearson cleared a route for L/Cpl Hale, he too stood on a mine, blowing off his left leg.
Enlarge War hero Corporal Mark Wright who died trying to save his men
Hero: Corporal Mark Wright died trying to save his men
He said: ‘I also suffered massive blast injuries to my right leg, which was saved, thanks to the skills of the medics.’
He added: ‘In the chaos that followed, there were two further explosions and, again, I was caught by the blast.’
The first of these explosions was caused by the Chinook. The gusts of air from the blades triggered a mine, mortally wounding the soldier and a medic with him.
Moments later, Fusilier Andy Barlow lost a leg when he set off a mine.
Despite being wounded Cpl Wright continued to give instructions and provide first aid.
Two American Blackhawk helicopters, fitted with winches, were eventually sent to rescue the soldiers – three-and-a-half hours after the first explosion. Cpl Wright died on the way to Camp Bastion military hospital.
The full value of Sgt Pearson’s claim was £1.7million, including compensation for pain and suffering, £600,000 for prosthetic limbs and £270,000 for future care. 
However, he may not receive the full amount. A judge at the High Court also granted him the right to seek hundreds of thousands of pounds of extra damages if his right leg needed amputating.
Enlarge Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment in Kajaki in 2008
On patrol: Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment in Kajaki in 2008
Normally those injured in the course of duty rely on the Forces Compensation Scheme, which provides limited payouts under a ‘tariff’ system which fixes particular sums of money for particular injuries, up to a maximum £570,000 for the most severe.
A soldier who has lost one leg below the knee would normally be awarded up to £92,000.  However, Paul Harrington, the paratrooper’s solicitor, was able to mount a conventional negligence claim against the MoD.

Britain’s compensation culture has led to the MoD spending £40million of taxpayers’ money on lawyers each year.  Yet the department has been criticised for failing to provide proper kit for troops or giving paltry payouts to personnel who have suffered battlefield injuries.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348646/1-7m-Afghanistan-soldier-Stuart-Pearson-lost-leg-minefield.html#ixzz1BiCqQbl7

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