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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 10:30 GMT
Soldiers claim 1.2m from US Army
Cpl Jane McLaughlan
Cpl McLaughlan suffered serious injuries
British soldiers, who say their careers were ended when a US tank convoy ran them off a road in Iraq, have met with American officials for the first time.

Cpl Jane McLaughlan and Staff Sgt James Rogerson, were left with horrific injuries when their Royal Military Police Land Rover crashed in May 2003.

They are suing the US Army for 1.2m in the first private action involving coalition allies in the Iraq war.

They came face-to-face with US military lawyers at a hearing in London.

The soldiers, along with a Kuwaiti interpreter who was with them at the time, say they have been let down by US allies in Iraq.

Scarring on Cpl McLaughlan's head
Cpl McLaughlan needed surgery for severe head injuries

They are making their private claim under the US Foreign Claims Act, which provides compensation for death or injuries caused by non-combat activities of US military personnel.

The US military insists it has no record of the incident, despite a British report naming the US unit and driver involved.

Hartlepool law firm Tilly, Bailey and Irvine are representing the group, along with a US personal injury specialist.

Driver, Cpl McLaughlan, 33, from Hartlepool, says she suffered personality changes following multiple skull fractures received in the crash.

She and the others have been reassigned to non-combat roles in Europe.

Computer-generated image of crash
A simulated reconstruction of the crash was created

Staff Sgt Rogerson, from Scotland, says he can no longer carry heavy weights and was left traumatised by the crash.

Steven Horsley, of Tilly Bailey & Irvine, said, "This hearing provided our clients an important step toward the resolution of these claims. After all that they have been through, they earned the right to be heard.

"Proud of their service in or assistance of the British military, each of them wishes the collision had not changed the course of their professional lives."

Texas-based lawyer Michael Doyle, added: "Our clients are grateful that the US offers the Foreign Claims Act to remedy incidents such as this collision.

"They were disappointed that their claims did not progress for more than two years, but each of them is cautiously optimistic about the outcome of this case."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Computer reconstruction of the crash
Legal experts re-created the incident digitally as evidence



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