Armed forces compensation for Army officer left paraplegic
Armed Forces compensation claim specialists at Irwin Mitchell have successfully secured compensation for an Army officer who was left paraplegic after being told that it would be "bad form" if he didn’t jump off of a bridge during a training exercise.
Judges at the Appeal Court upheld the officer’s right to compensation after Lt. Radclyffe suffered catastrophic injuries when he leapt from the bridge into the Okerstausee reservoir, in the Harz nature reserve in Germany, where his unit were on a training exercise.
After entering the water with his legs bent Mr. Radclyffe suffered severe injuries which left him paraplegic.
The court heard that the Captain on the day of the accident had told Mr. Radclyffe that it was important for him to show his men that he was courageous and that it would be "bad form" for him not to join them in jumping off of the bridge.
The Captain "urged him to jump" and said that by refusing to jump he would be "lowered in the eyes of the men and more senior officers".
Several soldiers and locals had already jumped into the reservoir and despite his initial doubts; Lt. Radclyffe felt that he had to jump to prove his courage to his new unit.
The judge said that there was "huge pressure on him" and that he was compelled to prove that he was "as brave as the men".
Initially the Ministry of Defence denied liability after insisting that as Lt. Radclyffe was off duty at the time that he was "the voluntary author of his own misfortune".
The words spoken by the senior officer were pointed out by Sir Anthony May and said that the young officer, who had just completed his Sandhurst training, was under "considerable pressure" to make the jump, despite his clear reservations and so it was "not solely his own freely made decision".
After the Irwin Mitchell Armed Forces Compensation team had established liability for the accident, a substantial interim payment was made to the client. Negotiations with the Ministry of Defence are ongoing in order to determine the level of compensation that Lt. Radclyffe will receive as a settlement of this military accident.
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