Loyalty And Stoicism Can Work To The Detriment Of Soldiers / Other Military Service Personnel

Published date01 April 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, Personal Injury
Law FirmGorvins Solicitors
AuthorMr Gary Boyd

Our military personnel and veterans are a source of national pride and collective gratitude.

We rely on these men and women who dedicate themselves to a career in the Armed Forces. Quite justifiably, they're frequently praised for their stoicism and loyalty.

Yet, as an expert in military law, I frequently find this same stoicism and loyalty can work to their detriment as I believe it explains the unwillingness to make a civil personal injury claim.


These inherently reluctant litigants often wait until long after they've hung up their uniforms before considering taking legal advice over injuries sustained during military service. In the case of some veterans, that wait spans many years, resulting in their cases becoming 'statute barred' - in other words, too late to pursue.

We could regard such fortitude as a fabled breath of fresh air. After all, there is a perception we live in litigious times, when the mildest suggestion of hurt feelings blows open the gateway to civil action. So, it's refreshing to know there are some who put 'duty' before personal needs.


Sadly, this noble hypothesis often comes at a price due to The Limitation Act. In civil personal injury claims, court proceedings must generally be commenced within three years from the date of accident or from the date of legal knowledge (that the claimant had significant injuries due to actions/inaction of the third party).

Therefore, many military personnel who delay seeking legal redress for the noblest of reasons are left to suffer the consequences of injuries sustained in service. They do this without compensation and/or rehabilitation we could otherwise secure for them.

It's open to a claimant who seeks to belatedly pursue a claim to apply to the court to waive the three-year time requirement. Indeed, I have successfully pursued such applications numerous times (under Section 33 of the Limitation Act). However, success in such applications is far from guaranteed and claimants shouldn't rely on the mercy of the courts.


In the last three months alone, I've had to regretfully reject seven otherwise good claims due to injured parties having delayed more than three years before seeking legal advice. One prospective claimant was 33 years too late! Another who had potentially good claims for NFCI (non-freezing cold injury), NIHL (noise-induced hearing loss) and a back injury, delayed seeking legal...

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