Baztab News

Ex-Royal Marine wins more than £500,000 after roar of battle left him with hearing of a 70-year-old

08 May 2019 Daily Mail Online

Alistair Inglis, 39, from Plymouth, said he left the Marines in May 2012 to work in maritime security because of his concerns about his 'deteriorating levels of hearing' 

A former Royal Marine has been awarded more than £500,000 damages after the roar of battle in Afghanistan left him with the hearing of 'someone in their early 70s'.   

Alistair Inglis who served for nearly 15 years, said he left the Marines in May 2012 to work in maritime security because of his concerns about his 'deteriorating levels of hearing'.

The 39-year-old, from Plymouth, was forced to endure 'the noise from thousands of rounds of ammunition, thunder-flash stun grenades, helicopters and other aircraft and explosive devices'. 

Mr Inglis, who also worked in maritime security protecting merchants ships 'against the threat of pirates', sued the Ministry of Defence for 'noise-induced hearing loss', suffered during his time in the ranks between 1997 and 2012. 

Now at London's High Court, Judge Peter Marquand has awarded him £545,766.60 in damages in a landmark case which could open the floodgates to hundreds of others and ultimately cost the MoD millions.

Mr Inglis' case was spearheading over 200 other similar claims against the MoD - with veterans claiming for hearing damage caused during training exercises and the combat zone. 

In Mr Inglis' case the MoD had admitted his hearing loss and tinnitus arose 'as a result of his negligent exposure to noise whilst serving in the Royal Marines', and agreed that liability should be split '80:20 in the claimant's favour'.

But the MoD disputed the amount of damages Mr Inglis, who is from Plymouth, was entitled to. It argued that he left voluntarily while still 'fit for all duties'.

Giving judgment at the High Court in London on Wednesday, Judge Marquand found that the 39-year-old 'left the Royal Marines because of his hearing loss'.

The judge ruled that the MoD must pay damages including more than £200,000 to cover future loss of earnings and just over £280,000 for future loss of pension.

Judge Marquand said an application by the MoD for permission to appeal against his ruling had been refused.  

The 39-year-old sued the Ministry of Defence for 'noise-induced hearing loss', suffered during his time in the ranks between 1997 and 2012 (stock image)

Ruling in Mr Inglis' favour on that central issue, the judge said: 'During his service Mr Inglis was issued with a variety of SA 80 rifles, other rifles, sub-machine guns and handguns.

'He was exposed to noise from thousands of rounds of ammunition, thunder-flash stun grenades, helicopters and other aircraft and explosive devices.

'I have concluded that the reason Mr Inglis left the Corps was due to the damage to his hearing and to prevent further damage.

'Accordingly he is entitled to compensation for that damage, his loss of earnings, pension and other losses, caused as a result of his hearing loss.'

RELATED ARTICLES

Mr Inglis' lawyers said after the ruling that they have more than 2,200 other cases and are being contacted by service personnel with debilitating hearing problems on a daily basis.

Simon Ellis, a partner at Hugh James who represents Mr Inglis, said in a statement: 'The compensation awarded recognises the significant impact that Mr Inglis's injuries will have on his earning capacity, both now and for much of the rest of his life.

'The judge has rightly considered the detrimental effect of Mr Inglis's hearing loss on his civilian career options, taking into account approximately 20 years of reduced earnings over the remainder of his working life, as well as a significant loss of pension.

'The award announced today goes some way to allowing Mr Inglis to move on with his life after his employer failed to protect him, in a job where he was putting his life on the line to protect his country.'

At a hearing in March, Mr Inglis' barrister Harry Steinberg QC told the court his client enlisted in February 1997, aged 17, for a '22-year open engagement'.

He was first deployed in Northern Ireland, and later served in Afghanistan, where he was a 'section commander in Helmand province' and 'repeatedly came under fire', Mr Steinberg said.

He said Mr Inglis became his platoon's weapons instructor and was promoted to corporal in 2005, adding that both were 'prestigious positions of responsibility and trust'.

Mr Inglis, of Plymouth, says Army bosses did not do enough to prevent hearing damage from years of putting up with the deafening sound of weapons and tanks in training and in Afghanistan. File image used 

He submitted that Mr Inglis - who now works as a health and safety officer - intended to serve more than his 22 years, if possible, but 'his situation changed for the worse as a result of the damage to his hearing'. 

Mr Steinberg said Mr Inglis applied to leave the Marines seven months after he had been selected for promotion to sergeant, and would have been in line for a full pension immediately on serving his full 22 years.

He argued that it was 'highly unlikely that (Mr Inglis) would have abandoned his successful military career and those mid-term financial rewards had it not been for his noise-induced hearing problems'.

He said that Mr Inglis's hearing deficit was 'equivalent to that of a man in his early 70s' and would 'inevitably get worse as he ages'.

Sam Healey, for the MoD, submitted that there was 'no prospect of (Mr Inglis) being medically discharged in the foreseeable future' when he left the Marines.

He said Mr Inglis left 'to pursue a career in maritime security, at the time a lucrative line of work for Royal Marines looking for a change of career', and that he earned 'considerably more' in his maritime security role than as a Marine.

Mr Healey added that it was 'likely that (Mr Inglis) would have been offered employment in a specialisation with reduced noise exposure' if he had remained in the Marines.

Original Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7008595/Ex-Royal-Marine-wins-500-000-roar-battle-left-hearing-70-year-old.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490

Open Original News

More from Daily Mail Online

Latest News:

Loading