Posts Tagged ‘California’

Veterans Pain & Disability ~ An Important Court Of Appeals Decision

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

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On April 3, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit handed down an important decision that impacts disabled veterans. It found that pain alone—without an underlying diagnosis—may constitute a valid claim for compensation and benefits from the VA. In the case (MELBA J. SAUNDERS v. ROBERT WILKIE, ACTING SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS), the lower court tried to use a previous case as precedent for establishing that pain alone could not be a valid diagnosis when seeking VA compensation and benefits, and, thus, denied Saunders’ claim.

Saunders appealed this decision and the Court of Appeals agreed that the use of the previous case as precedent was incorrect. They also determined that the language of the law did not define the term “disability.” However, when looking to “ordinary meanings” it was clear that pain alone could be determined as a disability.

The Bottom Line: As Military.com states, “if you have chronic pain as a result of your military service, you may want to sharpen up your pencil and look at filing a claim.” If you’re reading this, it’s likely you or a loved one have suffered long enough. My staff and I have the specialized legal skills to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Can Injured Workers Still Pursue A Claim For Psychiatric Injury After 1-1-2013?

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Uncategorized, Workers Compensation

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Insurance company attorneys frequently state: “You don’t have a right to a psychiatric claim after 1-1-2013.” Sometimes it’s said quietly with mock concern. More often, it’s declared with cold finality. Without question, psychiatric injuries can be extremely disabling for workers.

I’m here to tell you what the law says.

If the injured worker has a physical injury and, AS A CONSEQUENCE of the physical injury, they develop a psychological disability, California Labor Code section 4660.1 says they cannot obtain Permanent Disability (PD) benefits. However, there are at least two important considerations:

  1. Just because the injured worker cannot obtain PD benefits, they nevertheless can obtain Medical Treatment for the Psychiatric/Psychological condition—AND, it is highly arguable, that they can also obtain Temporary Disability (TD) benefits in conjunction with that Medical Treatment.
  2. If the physical injury (which led to the psychiatric condition) can be convincingly argued as “catastrophic” OR the physical injury was brought about by a “violent act” (either as the victim or a witness), then the injured worker is entitled to Medical Treatment—including TD and PD benefits.

(NOTE: The question of what a “catastrophic injury” is has yet to be defined by available (as of 7-9-2018) appellate case decisions. The question of what constitutes a “violent act” has been answered in several appellate court decisions, although more clarity would be beneficial.)

Therefore, if the psychiatric injury and/or disability is a DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of the acts or events which also brought about the physical injury, then the injured worker would be entitled to all the usual benefits for any resulting psychiatric disability. This is so because it would no longer be considered “compensable consequence” of a physical injury (which is what Labor Code section 4660.1 largely focuses on).

The Bottom Line: When it can be successfully argued that the injured worker has Anxiety or Depression, as direct consequence of an event at work, then the denial of ordinary benefits which 4660.1 sought to impose will not apply. This information may seem complex to you. Rest assured, it isn’t to us. If work-based psychiatric injury impacts you or a loved one, contact us for a free case evaluation. We have the necessary skills to protect your interests. Se habla español.

If there are legal status concerns, please review my blog, “Straight Talk About Workers Comp Cases & Undocumented Workers.”

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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.

American Values

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

As we contemplate the Declaration of Independence issued in 1776 by thirteen of the British North American colonies, fairness and the rule of law coalesce in my attorney consciousness. That all are equal under the law is one of the most American of concepts. Regrettably, this ideal has often been denied to some in the years since the country’s founding.

I happen to take these concepts very seriously. If you’ve been injured on the job—whatever your legal status—or you have had your veterans benefits claim undervalued, fairness may not be what you experienced in how the rule of law was applied to you.

The Bottom Line: My staff and I are passionate defenders of fairness and the rule of law for our clients. We have the specialized expertise to make a difference. Contact us for a case evaluation. There is never a cost to do so.

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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.

Political Awareness & The VA

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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As political maneuvering continues to heat up in this election cycle, it’s prudent to examine the candidates’ records (first) and rhetoric (second, or third, or fourth). This is particularly true regarding those who will make or influence policy affecting military veterans. The Veterans Administration leadership has been in constant turmoil, as are its budgets and policies. It’s neither my place nor my intention to influence your political views or for whom you cast your ballots. If you’re a veteran, or have family members who are, it’s in your interest to be well-informed about such issues and to make your voice heard at the ballot box. You’ve already “paid” for this “voice” in ways those who’ve never served haven’t.

The Bottom Line: Pay attention. Be skeptical. Make certain your sources of news and political information are legitimate purveyors—not propagandists or foreign social media bots. If you (or a loved one) have a claim with the VA that has been rejected or undervalued, we have the specialized legal skills to help you. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

When Disability Befalls A Loved One ~ Workers

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Workers Compensation

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Your friend or family member may be suffering. You’re rightly concerned. They may be unable to see a path forward. That you’re reading this is an important first step.

Your loved one may not be able to cope with the implications of his or her job-related injury. Or, he/she may not be fluent enough in English to seek justice. Or, he/she may fear doing so for ‘other’ reasons. See our special blog about this.

Your compassion for someone in this situation brought you here. And, yes, we have the means to help.

The Bottom Line: My staff and I specialize in such cases. Our skills and the unique strategies we’ve evolved enable us to be a powerful advocate for your friend or family member (or for you). Take the next step and contact us for a free case evaluation. Se habla español.

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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.

When Disability Befalls A Loved One ~ Veterans

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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Your friend or family member may be suffering. You’re rightly concerned. They may be unable to see a path forward. That you’re reading this is an important first step.

Your loved one may be a U.S. military veteran who’s suffering in body. Or, you may see a range of behaviors that worry you—despite him/her having filed a disability claim with the Veterans Administration. (For female veterans, see our special Blog Part I and Part II.)

Your compassion for your loved one brought you here. And, yes, we have the means to help.

The Bottom Line: My staff and I specialize in such cases. Our skills and the unique strategies we’ve evolved enable us to be a powerful advocate for your friend or family member (or for you). Take the next step and contact us for a free case evaluation.

VA Impediments & You

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

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The Veterans Administration is like most bureaucracies. Despite the lofty mission statement, it’s fundamentally geared to protect and preserve…itself. Moreover, the VA seems to make information that would actually benefit the veteran as difficult to locate and understand as possible. Instances of intentional deception (positive and negative) are not uncommon. The same is true with manipulation of Veterans Disability Ratings.

All of this necessitates the deployment of specialized legal strategies capable of protecting and serving the veteran’s interest—rather than the VA’s institutional interest.

The Bottom Line: Getting a fair shake from the VA often requires more than your personal tenacity. You need a specialized legal resource with proven strategies to protect your interests and those of your dependents. That is our mission. If you believe your disability claim has been unfairly denied or undervalued, contact us for a free case evaluation.

Preventing PTSD Tragedy & You

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

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We’re left with a mix of sadness and frustration in the wake of the shooting incident at the Yountville (California) Veterans Home. The combat veteran, Albert Wong, and three of the employees working there to help veterans at The Pathway Home are dead. Wong was believed to be suffering from PTSD—a consequence of his service in Afghanistan. The factors that drove him to this act may never be fully known. Delusion and paranoia, combined with misdiagnosis and bureaucratic ineptitude, come to mind. Clearly, the potential for tragedy haunts segments of our veteran population.

It is not yet known what happened to Wong during his service or why he was removed from The Pathway Home. Should he have been receiving inpatient care at a federal VA medical center? Was his case referred to VA for follow-up once he was ejected from the program? We don’t know.

We do know that families and caregivers of PTSD veterans usually have the proximity and familiarity to notice when a veteran’s perceptions and behaviors become troubling. This makes intervention possible.

Unfortunately, veterans with a PTSD rating may fear that lawmakers will push for new legislation denying gun ownership to those in PTSD treatment. Soldiers have been trained to place their trust in their weapons. It’s possible that some veterans will refuse to seek treatment out of a misguided fear they will lose their 2nd Amendment rights.

The Bottom Line: If a veteran in your midst begins to veer into dangerous waters, seek help for them. Our staff is uniquely qualified to address cases where veterans disabilities—such as PTSD—have been mis-diagnosed and/or under-valued by the VA. We have the resources to help prevent tragedy. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

“How Long Must I Suffer?”

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

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A very worthy question, one that collides with the human tendency to equalize with our surroundings. We accommodate…hoping the problem will somehow resolve itself or just go away. This happens…rarely. When we add the uncertainties of “where do I turn?” and “how do I proceed?” when we’re already hurting or damaged in some way, the inhibitors intensify.

Workers Compensation

Some of you suffer from work-related injuries. Moreover, where immigration status might be in question, another layer of inhibition can further prolong your suffering. (Note: more about this sensitive matter can be found in my Blog Straight Talk About Workers Comp Cases & Undocumented Workers.)

Veterans Disability

Others of you suffer in mind or body from injuries related to your military service. If your case has been under-valued by the VA, you have your own disincentives, based on interminable bureaucratic hoop-jumping you’ve already been put through. (Note: If you’re female, see my Blog Female Veterans Will Face Unique Health Issues, Part I ~ The Facts and Part II ~ The Implications.)

So, back to “How Long Must I Suffer?” The answer is this: it’s up to you.

The Bottom Line: You’ve probably suffered long enough. We at The Law Offices of Maurice L. Abarr specialize in both types of cases. We have the unique skills and proven strategies for redress. We can’t begin applying them on your behalf without you taking the first step. Contact us–or have a loved-one do it–for a case evaluation. Feel free to use our convenient online chat service. There is no cost for case evaluations. Ever.

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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.

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.

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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.

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