Our client had been an AFO (authorised firearms officer) and a dog handler in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police from 1985 to 2018. Thompsons were instructed by his union, the Defence Police Federation (DPF) to make a claim for noise induced hearing loss on his behalf.
As an AFO our client was required to undertake regular firearms training sessions on a firing range where he and around 12 other officers would all be firing their weapons over prolonged, continuous periods of time.
Despite being issued with ear defenders, our client felt early issues of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were inadequate for the noise levels he was being exposed to, and due to the requirement that officers should wear full body armour while on the firing range, the ear defenders frequently became dislodged, causing direct noise exposure to our client's ears.
In 2005, following a previous claim for noise-induced hearing loss handled by Thompsons, our client had been advised that his employer should carry out annual hearing tests. From 2005 to 2013 our client received these tests through the MOD Occupational Health Department, however, in 2013 they were discontinued and our client received no further hearing test until 2016.
The results of the 2016 hearing test revealed that our client's hearing had fallen below a required standard and that he was no longer fit to continue his role in the MOD Police. Initially, a Lead Clinician with the MOD Occupational Health Department told our client that his hearing loss was age related, but this opinion was later withdrawn by his employers.
By late 2016 our client had suffered significant hearing loss which resulted in him being withdrawn from firearms use. He was later medically retired in the spring of 2018.
Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland intimated a compensation claim with the MOD Police and approached the defender with a settlement proposal on behalf of our client's noise-induced hearing loss claim. We did not receive a satisfactory response, so Court action was raised.
Prior to the hearing in the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court ,Thompsons obtained a number of supporting expert reports confirming that our client's hearing loss occurred as a result of exposure to firearms noise. MOD Police therefore accepted their breach of duty.
MOD Police initially made settlement offers in the sum of £12,000 and £70,000 which were rejected.
Settlement was reached at a pre-trial meeting in January 2021 in the sum of £125,000 which represented a good result for our client.