What is heat injury?
Heat illness remains a significant threat to troops and is a common military injury, but its severity is often underestimated. Each year heat injuries are sustained by military personnel, but these injuries are often preventable with the correct risk management. If you’re serving in the Armed Forces and fall victim to a heat injury due to a management issue, the MoD has failed its duty of care to you and you could be entitled to claim for compensation.
How are heat injuries caused?
Heat illness or heat injury is caused by prolonged exposure to hot environments, particularly when enduring strenuous exercise outdoors. Heat injuries such as heat stroke are medically defined by a body temperature of 40°C or higher and are considered to be medical emergencies – in extreme cases heat illness can result in death.
Symptoms of heat related illness
Heat often progresses from milder symptoms, but can escalate quickly. The symptoms of heat injury can include:
- Muscular weakness or spasms
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dizziness and confusion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Body temperature of 40°C or higher
In some circumstances, symptoms may also include a loss of consciousness, seizures and physical collapse.
What to do if you suspect a heat illness
If you suspect someone may be suffering from a heat related illness:
- Take their temperature
- Give them water
- Find shade/shelter from the sun
- Loosen or remove clothing
- Call the emergency services
A quick response time is essential. Without prompt and adequate attempts to lower the body temperature, heat injury has many complications and can be fatal. Severe complications include swelling of the brain and other vital organs, resulting in permanent damage.
How to avoid a heat illness
The MoD has a duty of care to you to ensure that every effort is made to avoid preventable injuries. Outlined in the JSP 539, the MoD states that nearly all heat and cold illnesses sustained are preventable “provided the risk factors are assessed properly and appropriately managed”.
This requires greater awareness of the risk and putting in place the right control measures such as providing sufficient water, breaks and PPE clothing in addition to monitoring signs of heat injury and treating any symptoms.
If you’ve suffered a heat injury through the negligence of the MoD while serving in the Armed Forces, you could be entitled to claim for compensation. Our specialist military team are equipped with the necessary expertise to successfully represent you and achieve fair settlements on heat injury claims.
What is the time limit for military injury claims?
Armed Forces claims for compensation can usually be made up to three years after the date of injury.
How can we help?
We have a dedicated team of experts who have a wealth of experience in dealing with Armed Forces claims including the intricate and specialist issues that arise for many of our serving personnel and veterans.
If you’ve been injured whilst serving, whether on tour or not, if you are having to deal with the threat of a Court Martial, if you are experiencing problems in the workplace or if, sadly, your family is struggling with marital breakdown, we are here to help you through.
We are proud to offer a 10% discount on our legal fees to all military serving personnel as well as those that are members of the Defence Discount Scheme.
Please note, the information on this page is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor. Always consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice related to your situation.