Falklands' War Veterans are currently exempt from claiming damages for cold injuries suffered during the war with Argentina and are seeking legal advice against the Ministry of Defense (MoD), according to the lawyer acting on their behalf.
In a piece by James Lee from the Express.co.uk, speaking with Simon Ellis, Head of the Military Department at Hugh James Solicitors, the lawyer, acting on behalf of Falkland Islands war veterans, pointed out these veterans are currently exempt from claiming damages for cold injuries suffered during the 1982 war.
Cold injuries are divided into freezing and non-freezing injuries and include hypothermia, frost-nip, chilblains, immersion foot and frostbite. Exposure to cold can also induce Raynaud's disease, Raynaud's phenomenon and allergic reactions to cold.
However, a legal loophole, in the form of the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act reportedly eliminates veterans from the Falklands War, and any conflict prior to May 15, 1987, from making a claim.
The aim of the updated act was to give servicemen and their dependents the right of access to the courts in future to sue the Crown for legal fault in cases of death, personal injury or illness attributable to service.
“A large number of British soldiers would have been affected by the condition, with the assault on Stanley having to be enacted quickly to avoid cold injuries taking place as more soldiers were coming down with the condition. The impact can result in poor performance by the fighting force.”
Speaking of the work his company is doing to help veterans, Mr Ellis said: “As a firm, we have been helping military personnel for 10 years. Lots of veterans have come forward to us as we have been dealing with such cases, we now have over 300 people bringing cases to us.”
Ellis stressed that, currently, claims can only be made by those injured after 1987, suggesting for Falklands veterans to be considered would take Government legislation to change.
The solicitor said many of his clients claim training and equipment provided by the MoD were substandard, and hence led to the condition becoming so common.
“The MoD say they take reasonable steps to provide the right equipment, yet my clients suggest that is not always the case.
“I have clients who were deployed to cold training exercises in Canada with jungle kits. I have seen the kit labeled hot weather equipment.” Ellis continued: “The military is of course expected to attend some of the most hostile conditions on Earth, but the proper training for such environment is a minimum.
Speaking of the goals his clients wish to achieve, Mr Ellis ended by saying: “The best solution would be seeing the MoD following issued guidance, and seeing personnel giving the right training on all occasions, given the right kit, on all occasions, and giving the people the full protection to avoid cold injuries altogether.”