A June 2015 report by researchers from The Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies (CBIS), working from the Imperial College London, has concluded that the lifetime cost of care for injured veterans who were forced to have one or more limbs amputated after serving in Afghanistan could reach £288 million.
The study highlights the financial impact of veterans returning home with serious military injuries and the importance of ensuring injured individuals receive the military injury compensation they need to help them cover the long-term financial losses they face as a result of their injuries.
The report is based on the findings of a study that looked at the healthcare costs US veterans faced as of 2010, comparing them to UK equivalents and also factoring in statistical equivalents and developments from earlier conflicts such as the Vietnam War. Civilians worked alongside engineers, scientists and military doctors to conduct the study.
Roadside Bombs and IEDs Responsible for Most Injuries
It’s thought roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for the majority of injuries suffered by military personnel in Britain’s campaign in Afghanistan, one which lasted from 2001 until 2014, and is thought to have resulted in several hundred soldiers suffering injuries resulting in amputation.
The report reflects the finding of the first study into the cost of care for injured veterans in the UK, and researchers hope understanding the projected healthcare costs will better enable policymakers to look after our veterans, as well as highlighting the need for further research into the impact of blast injuries on victims’ lives.
Cost of Care for Injured Veterans Rising as More Lives are Saved
Thanks to continually improving military tactics and equipment, as the conflict drew on more and more victims began to survive roadside blasts, although this led to many soldiers returning home with serious and life-changing injuries. It’s thought that during the course of the conflict there were 265 casualties requiring 416 amputations. IEDs proved especially potent, necessitating 153 amputations above the knee, and 143 below. When taking into account medical support, trauma care, rehabilitation and prosthetics over an average remaining lifespan of 40 years for these victims, the research team concluded that the overall cost of care for injured veterans could reach around £288 million. Even this figure fails to account for the possibility of replacement prosthetics, illnesses exacerbated by combat injuries and net economic losses incurred as a result of victims not being able to re-join the workforce. Under such circumstances it’s easy to understand why many families turn to specialist personal injury lawyers in search of armed forces compensation, and this constitutes another potential avenue of expenditure for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) arising from the conflict.
Sue Freeth, The Royal British Legion’s Director of Operations was reached for comment on the findings of the report and issued the following statement:
‘…The Legion has been concerned for some time that the lifetime care of seriously injured veterans was under estimated. This paper should alert health commissioners to the scale of the problem, and help them to plan ahead to meet the lifetime health care needs of this generation…the need for a lifetime of health care to support them is in danger of being over looked as the spot light moves away from this conflict.’
Jason Brady, specialist military injury compensation solicitor at Blackwater Law personal injury solicitors in Suffolk, had the following comments on the report:
“I am very pleased that such a study has been undertaken. Given the increased involvement of British armed forces in military campaigns in the Middle East over the last decade, it is crucial that focus is on supporting those individuals that return with serious and life-changing military injuries. Part of that means understanding their long-term medical and care needs and the likely cost of caring for seriously injured veterans.
“Whilst much of the long-term cost of care associated with supporting an injured veteran will be borne by the NHS or MOD, individuals themselves often incur their own costs directly resulting from their injuries. These can include loss of earnings due to being unable to return to skilled work, having to move home or make alterations to their current property, as well as potential private medical care costs. It is important veterans speak to a specialist military injury compensation solicitor to explore a claim to compensate them for these losses, in addition to their pain, suffering and loss of amenity, where appropriate.”
Claiming Compensation for Military Injuries
If you or a family member have been injured whilst serving in the armed forces, you may be entitled to claim armed forces compensation. Blackwater Law is recognised as having one of the country’s leading personal injury teams by the Legal 500 – an independent directory of the UK’s leading law firms, As such we are well placed to provide afflicted members of the armed forces and veterans with the very best in legal help and support.
Contact us today on 0800 083 5500 for free initial legal advice. We will quickly be able to tell you whether we may be able to support you in making a “no win, no fee” claim for military injury compensation.