Non-Freezing Cold Injury: What can I claim for?
A NFCI is caused by long or recurrent periods of exposure to cold and wet weather conditions. It is a condition which mainly affects the hands and feet and symptoms can include pain, numbness and pins and needles. For more information about what a NFCI is and the consequences of the injury, you can read my previous blog here:
A NFCI can be career ending because it means that you can no longer work outside in conditions below around 15°C and a vital part of working in the military involves doing just that. We act for many clients who have been medically discharged from the services as a result of NFCI and not only do we see NFCI’s ending a military career but they can also limit what work is suitable in the civilian world. A NFCI can also affect many other aspects of a person’s life, such as family life, mental health and their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. All of these issues can result in significant financial loss, in some cases amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
What can be included as part of my NFCI claim?
- Your injury
Part of a claim for NFCI will include damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you have suffered as a result of your injury. This can also include psychiatric injuries that have been caused by the NFCI, such as anxiety and depression.
- Loss of congenial employment
Losing your military career is more than just losing a job and the law recognises that you can be compensated for no longer being able to do the job you love.
A NFCI might mean that you can’t do the things that you used to do, like share the household chores or childcare with your partner. You might find that you can no longer cook meals because you can’t gauge temperatures properly and risk burning yourself. You may not be able to bathe your children or play outside with them. Part of your claim can include compensation for the hours spent over and above what your partner or other family members would usually do to assist you or carry out those activities for you.
- Other losses
You might have noticed that you have to have the heating on far more than usual to manage your condition, pushing up your utility bills. You might be spending far more on warmer clothes or have purchased additional items like a foot spa. The additional money that you spend as a result of your NFCI can all be included as part of your claim.
- Loss of pension
It is no secret that the pensions available within the military have huge financial value and are an incentive to remain in serving for many years. If you can prove that it was your intention and that it was likely that you would have served a long career in the military, these losses can also be included as part of your claim. We work with specialist pensions advisors to ensure that this is calculated correctly.
- Loss of military benefits
You may not have realised that the various benefits that come with working in the military have financial value. Access to gyms and dentists for example are not free in the civilian world. You may have even lost out on learning credits that you intended to use. If you can prove that you would have stayed in the military for a period of time beyond your medical discharge, these losses can also be included.
- Loss of earnings
You may have had your whole military career planned out with promotions in mind. Being medically discharged as a result of a NFCI can make you feel like you have been “cheated” out of your dream job. If you are unable to find employment that pays as well as your military career or are unable to work at all, you will have lost out on potential earnings. We work with military employment specialists who look at your personnel file and meet with you to make fair predictions about how your military career would have progressed. They also look at how long you would have remained serving and we compare that with what you are able to do now to calculate your loss of earnings.
This a short overview of the kinds of losses that can be included as part of your claim. Depending on your circumstances and the severity of your injury there may be further heads of loss that can be included. We represent many service personnel who have sustained this invisible injury and we are passionate about helping them get the compensation they deserve to help them move on with their lives the best they can.
To see when you can bring a legal claim for a NFCI, please read my colleague’s informative blog here.
If you think you or a loved one may have suffered a Non-Freezing Cold Injury, a solicitor from our team will be very happy to discuss this with you.