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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Maimed soldier 'let down' by Army
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson

The mother of a soldier who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan is to challenge his "flawed" compensation award in the High Court.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 23, was injured by a landmine in September.

The paratrooper, who will need special medical care for the rest of his life, was awarded 152,150 in compensation. His mother said he had been "let down".

The government said a review of the military compensation scheme was due to be completed within weeks.

Armed Forces Minister, Bob Ainsworth, said: "It is because of circumstances like this that the system is being reviewed and we will conduct that review as quickly as we can... to see whether or not we need to change the scheme that's in place."

'Fighting fund'

The Ministry of Defence said Mr Parkinson would also receive a guaranteed income payment for the rest of his life after he has left the Army.

He is reportedly one of the most seriously injured soldiers to survive.

Payment for injuries
Loss of legs - 115,000
Brain injury - 34,500
Fractures to arm - 2,650
Remaining 34 injuries - no payment

He lost both his legs as well as suffering a brain injury, fractures to his skull, cheekbone, nose, jaw, pelvis and vertebrae, as well as serious damage to his spleen and chest.

However, the award he received is only slightly more than half the maximum 285,000 which can be given to injured military personnel.

Diane Dernie, 49, is setting up a "fighting fund" to pay for her High Court bid.

She said: "We just can't believe that a scheme intended to care for soldiers who put themselves in such dangerous situations could be so flawed.

'Very positive'

"Any assessment of injury must look at the totality of those injuries to make a true award based on the long-term needs of the victim.

Diane Dernie
Mrs Dernie said the whole family felt 'let down' by the MoD

"The severity of Ben's injuries means that we need to be able to move to an adapted house to help him live as normal a life as possible."

Mrs Dearnie said her family had initially been told Ben would die from his injuries.

She said: "Ben was extremely ill, we were told that he was going to die. He was brought home directly to hospital rather than one of the specialist treatment centres because it was thought his injuries were un-survivable.

"But he has amazed everybody and he continues to improve - but he will need care for the rest of his life.

"Ben is very positive, he is very army minded and he also knows that he will always have his family behind him.

"We do try and shield him from some of the worst of our fears, but we do feel very let down."

Lump sum payment

According to Mr Parkinson's lawyers, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) only considers the three "worst" injuries, which are then assessed financially against a set tariff.

Mrs Dernie said her plans for a legal challenge were being backed by a number of other injured servicemen and their families.

"We owe it to all the injured soldiers to fight for the compensation they deserve, and which will help them to live the best quality life they can expect," she said.

In a statement, the MoD said: "The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme has made a lump sum payment to Ben Parkinson and will make additional monthly tax-free payments when he leaves service.

"The sum total of these could exceed 1m over his lifetime."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The background to Ben Parkinson's case



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