Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Compensation payouts: compare and contrast

On the one hand we hear today that an Iraqi is to receive £2million (that's 4,841,000,000 dinars in Iraq) compensation when he was accidentally shot by a British soldier in 2003.
On the other hand the maximum amount of compensation that an injured British soldier can receive is £285,000; many soldiers who are suffering from terrible injuries don't get anywhere near this amount.

Despite the Government's assertion that the £2million payout was a special case, queues of Iraqis and Afghans can now be expected outside our lawcourts seeking similar handouts. Indeed one human rights lawyer has said he already has 30 Iraqi clients on his books: "The fact that so far there has just been a handful of cases here is simply an indication of the logisitical difficulties for the Iraqis of persuing claims."

This case highlights once again the shameful way in which the Labour Government and the MoD treat injured soldiers: not only are the Armed Forces' compensation awards derisory, but the hard struggle that has to take place to wring even these relatively small sums from the MoD is insulting and demeaning. The MoD chose to pay the Iraqi teenager rather than fight a court battle. The MoD however fights tooth-and-nail to minimise the amount of compensation it pays out to injured British troops - even when the maximum amount is a mere fraction of what was paid to the Iraqi.

The MoD however is quite prepared to dish out ludicrous sums to civilians: like the typist who received £484,000 for a strained thumb or the civil servant who got £202,000 when he strained his back lifting a printer or the office worker who was awarded £217,000 in compensation for suffering chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.

The Telegraph: Iraqi shot by British soldier awarded £2m
Link> The Sun: Fury at Iraqi compensation
Link> AV: Revised MoD compensation scheme: a con
Link> The Times: Iraq wounds worth less than Civvie back pain
Link> The Mail: Worst injured soldier ever to survive is awarded less than RAF typist with a sore thumb