A former Scots army officer today spoke of her “delight” after she battled for more than a year with defence chiefs for compensation.
Laura Fermor, from Perthshire, was forced to undergo two hip replacements after sustained injuries during an army charity march six years ago.
The 31-year-old has been fighting for compensation since last year after the injuries left her unable to salvage her military career with the Royal Logistic Corps.
She was medically retired by the army last year but today she received a five-figure sum for the damage done to her left hip.
And Laura said the money would finally give her the chance to “close this chapter” of her life after she was given winning compensation.
She said: “I cant really take it in yet-this has been going on for so long that its hard to think of it as being over at last.
“I feel like I can now finally move on with my life and close the chapter on the years of injury.
“It has been a huge struggle, both mentally and physically but I feel like a huge weight has gone off my shoulders now.
Laura was commissioned by the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in December 2007 and joined up as a troop commander in the Royal Logistic Corps.
The St Andrews University graduate sustained her life-changing injury while undertaking a fundraising march along Hadrian’s Wall in May 2008 with her comrades.
She said: “I had intense pain from both hips, but the right hip was always worse than the left so it took priority for treatment.
“I received physiotherapy for some months but, due to my commitments as a troop commander, and our impending deployment to Cyprus for a UN tour of duty, I was unable to do much else except manage the best I could with painkillers.
“The injury reared its head again in mid-2009, by which time it was clear that some serious damage had been done.
“I was scheduled for right hip arthroscopic surgery in November 2009 - which was not successful in stopping the pain.
“From this point on my pain rose to alarming levels, and meant I was unable to work for six months.”
Laura was promoted to the rank of Captain and returned to work on a cocktail of medications before undergoing further arthroscopic surgery in March 2011.
But the surgery could not stop the pain and she had her right hip replaced in July 2012.
In November 2013 Laura also had to have her left hip replaced.
But although defence chiefs paid out compensation over her right hip they had been fighting Laura over the left.
The MOD said they could not compensate her for her left hip as “it is not service attributable” but Laura appealed the decision and was given her positive outcome yesterday (Mon).
Laura said: “It is laughable as it is an identical injury that required identical treatment.
“I will require further surgery throughout my life as the implants wear out and need replacing again.
“There are things I will never be able to do again, and life will not be the same for me.
“I am now unable to run, which for a previously highly active person, who enjoyed cross-country, swimming and playing rugby, is very hard to accept.”
She said earlier in the week that her medical treatment had taken “an enormous toll”.
She said: “This has taken an enormous toll on both my husband and I, and as a result, I have suffered depression for years.
“I feel like the whole situation has been made worse by the time we have to wait for what we are owed, and a lot of us feel like we have been let down by the system.
“The Government is failing us drastically when it comes to compensation and the time taken to process the claims.”
Laura is amongst thousands of injured veterans waiting on the outcome of their compensation claims because of a huge backlog at the Ministry of Defence.
An MOD spokeswoman said: “We are committed to dealing with all claims as quickly as possible but it is crucial that every claim is considered on a case by case basis.
“These claims are often complex and may require additional information from third party groups so it can take time to ensure that everyone gets the compensation they need.
“Last year we dealt with around 36,000 claims and we have significantly improved our processes over the last three years so now our average waiting time is between four and five months.”