Jeremy Laurance: Scheme is out of step with civilian life

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In civilian life, if a man breaks both legs he may be in line for several thousands pounds' compensation, if he can prove that someone – an employer or a motorist, say – was responsible. If, however, he was about to sign a contract with a football club, he may receive hundreds of times that amount.

This is a key difference with the way the military compensates injured soldiers. The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a tariff-based system which awards lump sums on a sliding scale from £1,000 to over £500,000, for the pain and suffering soldiers have endured.

But calculating compensation for civilians also includes an assessment of the impact of the injury on loss of earnings, now and in the future, and on future need for housing and care. A person's background, family, level of education and future prospects are all taken into account.

Injured soldiers qualify for a military pension from the Armed Forces which goes some way to compensating them for loss of future earnings. But campaigners say this is not enough and compares poorly with the huge sums paid to civilians who have suffered similar injuries.

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