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Your Valentine To…You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability, Workers Compensation

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Loving one’s self is hardly aberrant. This is particularly true when you’ve been injured in body or spirit as a consequence of your military service or due to your employment. You’re probably hurting and, as a consequence, you may feel marginalized or unworthy in some way. Not so. You matter. You deserve help and that starts with loving yourself enough to reach out for it.

The Bottom Line: We have the specialized skills to get justice for military veterans and injured workers. We understand the needs of victims like you (or your loved one). Contact us for a free case evaluation.

New Legal Decision Benefits Veterans PTSD Ratings

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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An important legal decision has been handed down that will impact veterans suffering from the debilitating effects of PTSD. The criteria the VA must use has been broadened. The decision requires the Board of Veterans Appeals to “engage in a holistic analysis” of a veteran’s mental health symptoms to determine the proper disability percentage when establishing a PTSD rating. The arcane case details that led to this important decision are probably less relevant to you than they are to us. What matters is that we now have new legal tools and evaluation standards to help ensure veterans like you are correctly evaluated for service-related PTSD.

The Bottom Line: We pride ourselves in being at the leading edge of Veterans Disability issues. If you feel your (or a loved one’s) PTSD case has been mishandled or undervalued by the VA, we have the expertise to help you get a fair shake. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Veterans Brain Injuries

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Uncategorized, Veterans Disability

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CBS’ “60 Minutes” program broadcast 7 January 2018 included a segment that focused on the traumatic brain injuries resulting from the shock waves from exploding shells, bombs, and improvised explosive devices striking the heads of soldiers. The long-term implications for veterans’ health and well-being are dramatic…possibly dire. Clinically known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the condition is being explored with a growing sense of urgency.

You can learn more by watching both the original segment and 60 Minutes Overtime segment.

60 Minutes Graphic

60 Minutes Overtime Graphic

The Bottom Line: If you have exhibited symptoms similar to those who are now being diagnosed with CTE, you may need a more definitive medical evaluation. Your condition may have been misdiagnosed and/or your claim may have been undervalued by the VA. We may be able to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Seasons Greetings

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability, Workers Compensation

Our clients come from diverse backgrounds. What they have in common is injury and a need for fair redress. So, whatever you celebrate and however you do it, my staff and I sincerely wish you a safe and joyous holiday season. If we can help you or a loved one in the new year, let us know. There’s never a charge for case evaluations—whether you’re an injured worker or an injured military veteran. We’re here for you.

Best wishes,
Maurice L. Abarr, Esq.

Scams Targeting Veterans Like You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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According to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network lead researcher, Doug Shadel, veterans are twice as likely to lose money to scams. Shadel noted that the con artists he’s interviewed have confided that the best way to scam a vet is to pretend to be one. “It’s sort of using their sense of patriotism and brotherhood against them,” Shadel said.

In an effort to combat this, the AARP has written the booklet shown below to help veterans protect themselves from such exploitation. It’s available here as a pdf file.

AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook Graphic

The Bottom Line: Be aware, stay informed, and cultivate healthy skepticism to avoid being manipulated by con artists posing as comrades-in-arms. If anyone’s earned a fair shake, it’s you. Similarly, if you don’t feel you’re getting fairly treated by the VA about a service-related disability, we have the specialized skills to help. If you believe your claim has been undervalued or denied outright, contact us for a free case evaluation.

* * * * *

(Sources: https://www.aarp.org/home-family/voices/veterans/info-2015/avoid-fraud-scams-targeting-veterans.html and http://action.aarp.org/site/DocServer/Watchdog-Alert-Handbook-Veterans-Edition.pdf?docID=3601)

2017 Thanksgiving Reflections

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability, Workers Compensation

An Appreciation…

This is the season Americans traditionally reflect on what matters to them. The same is true of my staff and me. We’re deeply grateful for the clients who have placed their trust in us and offer our sincere ‘thanks’ to each of you. We’ve worked tirelessly to provide legal expertise and emotional support to the injured—military veterans and workers alike. That’s our mission. If you or a loved-one have had your military service-related injury rejected or under valued, or suffered a job-related injury, tell us about your case. (Se habla español.) There’s never a cost for case evaluations.

Maurice L. Abarr, Esq.

*****

NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Straight Talk About Workers Comp Cases & Undocumented Workers

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Workers Compensation

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The California Labor Code states that, as a matter of public policy, the legal status of an injured worker does not stop that worker from making a claim for work-related injuries and disability.

Section 3351 of the California Labor Code states:

” ‘Employee’ means every person in the service of an employer under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, and includes:

(a) Aliens and minors…”

There is very real fear that someone will report injured undocumented workers, raising the risk of deportation, if the workers pursue a claim. As well-versed as I am in this segment of the law, I do not know of this happening to an injured worker who did so.

I do know, however, that persons who are undocumented continue to run the risk of deportation, irrespective of whether they make a WC claim or not. This may also be true of those who have had DACA protections. Either way, I do read case decisions showing that if the injured worker has been deported AFTER making his or her claim, after being released by the doctors, and subsequently is deported for some other reason, their case is NOT ended simply because they no longer reside in California. In fact, a recent case dealt with this by having the injured worker testify via Skype from his residence in Central America.

The Bottom Line: If you or a loved-one have serious work-related injuries and likely significant future disability, assess your priorities. Your health and well-being are certainly as important as your residency. There is little empirical evidence to show that making a Workers Compensation claim itself results in deportation. Contact us for a free case evaluation (se habla español).

*****

NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Veterans Day 2017 Reflections

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

An Appreciation…

Today is the day Americans formally remember the debt owed to their military service members—my staff and me, amongst them. It began as “Armistice Day”—commemorating the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when WWI ended in 1918. The “Great War,” as it was then known, was supposed to be the war that ended all war.

Like soldiers from that time, you served. You put life and limb at risk. You did your best to honor the commitment you made when you became a member of the United States armed forces. Some of you paid a very high price indeed. Others you served with paid the ultimate price. Some of you cope with lingering injuries to mind and body that are the legacy of your military service. In addition to respect, you deserve a fair shake. “Thanks” is simply not enough.

The Bottom Line: We understand the frustration you and your loved-ones experience when a service-related injury claim is under-valued or denied outright by the VA. We can help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

New PBS Documentary Examines U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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The Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS), known for its excellence in documentary programming, will be broadcasting a new production “The Human Cost of War” that examines the Department of Veterans Affairs and how well it handles the needs of those who’ve served in the nation’s armed forces. In the greater Los Angeles area, it will premiere on KOCE Channel 50 at 9:00 pm this evening (6 November 2016). Additional broadcasts are scheduled for the following dates/times:

7 Nov, 3:00 AM
10 Nov, 3:00 PM
11 Nov, 5:00 AM

I have not been accorded the opportunity to preview this production, but will be tuned-in and also recording it. If you’re unable to view it tonight, you may be able to schedule it for recording during its run. In keeping with PBS norms, the program is likely to be broadcast at some point on the two minor PBS affiliates that also serve our area, KVCR Channel 24 and KLCS Channel 58.

The Bottom Line: Veterans often don’t get a fair shake from the VA. My staff and I pride ourselves in having the unique skills and insights to enable veterans who have had their claims denied or under-valued to get a square deal. Contact us for a free case evaluation, should you find yourself or a loved one to be in need.

VA “Proposal To Reduce” & You

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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In the event you receive a letter from the Veterans Administration proposing to reduce the percentage of your disability award, you need to take prompt action to protect yourself.

The VA’s decision is likely based upon some review and interpretation of the medical evidence which has triggered the sending of this notice. If you do nothing, the VA will assume you agree with this finding and it will proceed in its inimitable bureaucratic way to reduce your award.

There is a window of opportunity to challenge and slow down this process. You must request (in writing) a hearing within thirty (30) days of the notice’s date. The VA’s proposal to reduce is not a final decision and you cannot immediately appeal the proposal itself.

However, if you request a hearing within the 30-day period, it will take months for the hearing to be scheduled. During that time, you can be obtaining medical evidence to prove you are still disabled to the same degree—or possibly more disabled than the percentage originally awarded to you.

The Bottom Line: Doing nothing is NOT in your interest. If the VA reduces your award percentage, you will have to go through the long process of appealing that reduction—all the while receiving a lower monetary benefit triggered by the reduced percentage. If you have had your VA benefits claim denied or reduced, contact us for a case review. There’s no cost for this. My staff and I have the specialized skills to help you get a fair deal from the VA.

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