(Picture: MOD).

MOD Admits Liability For Ex-Royal Marine's Hearing Loss

Alistair Inglis is suing the Ministry of Defence for about £1 million in compensation.

(Picture: MOD).

(Picture: MOD).

A former Royal Marine is in line for a damages payout after he reached an agreement with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on its liability for his noise-induced hearing loss, the High Court has heard.

Alistair Inglis, who served for nearly 15 years, says he left the Marines in May 2012 to work in maritime security "for the sole reason that he had concerns about his deteriorating levels of hearing".

The 39-year-old is suing the MOD for about £1 million in compensation for alleged loss of future earnings, loss of pension and for the cost of hearing aids.

The MOD admits Mr Inglis' hearing loss and tinnitus arose "as a result of his negligent exposure to noise whilst serving in the Royal Marines".

However, they argue Mr Inglis left voluntarily while still "fit for all duties" and should only receive damages "for his injury and the cost of hearing aids".

At a hearing in London on Monday, Mr Inglis' barrister Harry Steinberg QC told Judge Peter Marquand that "issues of liability have been resolved by agreement", with the parties agreeing that liability should be split "80:20 in the claimant's favour".

Judge Marquand must now determine the amount of compensation to which Mr Inglis is entitled.

The court heard that Mr Inglis enlisted in February 1997 and was first deployed in Northern Ireland, and later served in Afghanistan, where he was a "section commander in Helmand province" and where he "repeatedly came under fire", Mr Steinberg said.

Mr Healey blamed his hearing loss to his time in the Royal Marines (Picture: MOD).
Mr Healey blamed his hearing loss to his time in the Royal Marines (Picture: MOD).

He said Mr Inglis also became his platoon's weapons instructor and was promoted to the rank of Corporal in 2005.

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 that "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 just seven months after he had been selected for promotion to Sergeant and would have been in line for a full pension immediately upon 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' 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, argued in writing 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.

He also stated that maritime security "is itself an occupation that involves exposure to gunfire, albeit less than that Mr Inglis would have experienced working as a platoon weapons instructor in the Royal Marines".

He concluded that Mr Inglis "has been able to pursue his chosen career with very limited problems" and that his "post-injury civilian earnings are likely to be broadly similar to what they would have been had he not suffered noise-induced hearing loss".

In cross-examination, Mr Healey asked whether Mr Inglis would have still considered the possibility of working in maritime security if his hearing had not been damaged.

Mr Inglis replied: "No, I would have stayed in the Marines."

The hearing continues.