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A Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Defense Base Act Law Firm Fighting for the Injured.
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This January, an Administrative Law Judge approved a settlement reached by Javier Ruiz, Esq. relating to home modifications needed by a client (pictured below with his consent) in a Defense Base Act (DBA) case. The case involved litigation of complex legal issues requiring expert testimony as to the modifications needed to the client’s home. For instance, a wheelchair bound injured worker will need lower light switches, doors widened, ramps created, and lower sinks.

To accomplish these necessary modifications, this firm took the depositions of engineers and accessibility experts who testified as to the necessity and cost of home modifications.  Mr. Ruiz travels the country  in his pursuit of justice and fairness for our clients. Attorneys Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates are proud to be able to help injured workers like this who are often ignored by insurance companies.

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Multitude of Benefits Available Under the Defense Base Act/Longshore Act

Do you know the types of benefits available to you if you are injured in an accident covered by the Defense Base Act/Longshore Act? Broadly speaking, there are two types of benefits available under the DBA: 1) compensation benefits and 2) medical benefits. Home modification falls under medical benefits.

Many injured workers incorrectly assume that medical benefits simply means doctors visits, surgeries, medication, and physical therapy. Fortunately, the definition of medical benefits under Section 907 of the Act is very broad, so broad that it not only includes purely medical benefits like doctors visits, surgeries, medication, and physical therapy, but the definition also includes medically necessary and reasonable apparatus. Continue reading →

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La Ley de Base de Defensa, comúnmente conocida como DBA, proporciona beneficios de Compensación y Muerte del Trabajador para los empleados de contratistas del gobierno. Permítanme explicar cómo funciona hacer un reclamo bajo esta ley.

Esta firma presenta reclamaciones de indemnización y muerte contra empresas como KBR, Fluor, Dyncorp, Academi, Lockheed Martin, SES, Servicios de Ciencia e Ingeniería, Sallyport, Michael Baker, Ciencias de la Computación Raytheon, CSR, Vinnell Arabia, MPRI Ltd., Engility, Tetra Tech , Planate Management Group, SOC, Mission Essential Personnel, AECOM, Triple Canopy y Green Group en un tribunal federal. Si usted era uno de los trabajadores contratistas, puede presentar una reclamación sin tener que venir a los Estados Unidos. Debe documentar su lesión consultando a un médico por una lesión física o psicológica causada por su empleo. Los beneficios que presentamos cubiertos por la Ley incluyen atención médica y salarios perdidos y beneficios de sobrevivientes en caso de fallecimiento. Para las personas que viven fuera de los Estados Unidos, esos beneficios generalmente se ofrecen en una suma global. Nunca somos más felices que cuando entregamos un cheque de liquidación grande a nuestros clientes. Los transportistas pagan nuestros honorarios y costos por separado en estas reclamaciones de DBA.

Una vez que el empleado regresa a casa, generalmente está solo para buscar atención médica. Las lesiones físicas pueden durar años y empeorar una vez que el empleado está en casa sin tratamiento. Los empleados que estaban estacionados en zonas de guerra a menudo desarrollan lesiones psicológicas como el trastorno de estrés postraumático (PTSD, por sus siglas en inglés) que permanece sin tratamiento durante años una vez que regresan a su país de origen. El empleado debe ver a un médico en su país de origen. Este bufete de abogados paga para que estos registros médicos sean transcritos por un traductor certificado, de modo que los registros puedan presentarse ante el tribunal y se haga un reclamo para obtener los beneficios adecuados.

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The Defense Base Act commonly referred to as the DBA provides Worker’s Compensation and Death Benefits for  employees of government contractors. Let me explain how making a claim works under this Act.
This firm files compensation and death claims against corporations including KBR, Fluor, Dyncorp, Academi, Lockheed Martin, SES, Science and Engineering Services, Sallyport, Michael Baker, Computer Sciences Raytheon, CSR, Vinnell Arabia, MPRI Ltd., Engility, Tetra Tech, Planate Management Group, SOC, Mission Essential Personnel, AECOM, Triple Canopy and Green Group in Federal court. If you were one of the contractor workers you can make a claim without coming to the United States.  You  must document your injury by seeing a doctor for either a physical or psychological injury caused by your employment. Benefits that we file covered by the Act include medical care and lost wages and survivor benefits in case of a death.  For individuals living outside the United States, those benefits are generally offered in a lump sum. We are never happier than when we hand over a large settlement check to our clients. We have the carriers pay our fees and costs separately on these DBA claims.

IMG_8028-225x300Once the employee returns home he is generally on his own to seek medical care.  Physical injuries can last for years and worsen once the employee is home without treatment.  The employees who were stationed in war zones often develop psychological injuries such as PTSD which goes untreated for years once they return to their home country. The employee must see a doctor in their home country. This law firm pays to have these medical records transcribed by a certified translator so that the records can be filed with the court and a claim made for proper benefits.

There is a statue of limitations and we need to file these claims within one year of the injured person seeing a doctor and finding out they have psychological symptoms caused by the war zone work. Some of those symptoms include flashbacks, distrust, nightmares, loss of some memories, depression, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes and feelings, hyperarousal, over reaction to loud noises,  physical reactions such as sweating, a pounding heart, confusion, and nausea when exposed to war zone memories or noises. We can file a hearing loss claim once a hearing test is performed and where the loss is due to exposure to gunfire, plane noises, bombs or other loud nois

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We are seeing injuries in Puerto Rico occurring when linemen are restoring power and when workers are doing hurricane repairs or rebuilding. Anyone injured under a contract with an American company should consult with this firm about getting money for those injuries. All consultations are free and there is no charge unless we obtain a settlement.
Generally the insurance company is providing benefits for the linemen or worker once they return home. The lineman or injured worker then sees a local Workers compensation attorney who applies for benefits from the State workers compensation system where they live. Once the worker recovers per the treating doctor and receives a few checks, that is generally the end of the case.
But it should not be. This firm has long held the view that these are Federal Claims that must be filed in the Federal Longshore and Defense Base Act Court system.
The Division has weighed in and confirmed they have jurisdiction.
This firm anticipated this and opened our Puerto Rico office last year to handle these claims.
https://www.joannhoffman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Image-10-17-18-at-4.15-PM-300x200.jpgWhy does this firm care?
The difference to an injured person on a minor hand injury can be $50,000 in Federal Court versus $15,000 in the State Workers Compensation system for a small injury.
We are well equipped to handle these case with our Main office in South Florida and Our Satellite office in Puerto Rico.
For the Puerto Rico injured workers who came from the United States and received medical care in the States, we need you to know a few things:
You have the right to choose your doctor. Please do not sign a paper saying your choice of doctor is the one the insurance company picked for you. Why? Because we can help you pick a doctor that will help you medically and financially. Why would the insurance company help you pick a doctor that would help them pay more money? Exactly.
What to do now? Perhaps you are reading this and feel you need more information about the financial benefit and time limitation to have us file a DBA claim for you.

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Honorarios y costos de abogados son pagados por la compañía de seguro cuando al cliente se le obtiene un acuerdo legal. Nosotros tenemos un aviso en la entrada de nuestra firma: “Ayudar a los heridos es nuestra Pasión” y eso explica porque trabajamos. Estamos comprometidos a ayudarles a los trabajadores lesionados en todo el mundo que fueron heridos trabajando bajo un contrato con una empresa estadounidense. En la realización de esta larga misión, estamos constantemente escuchando las necesidades de nuestros clientes. Buscamos maneras de mejorar nuestros servicios hacia ellos y poner los servicios legales y el conocimiento a su alcance. Déjenos dejar claro: nuestras tarifas y costos dependen en que obtengamos un acuerdo para nuestros clientes de DBA. Nosotros no hacemos que los clientes paguen los costos. Cuando ganamos un caso, por ley la compañía de seguro paga nuestras honorarios y costos. También tomamos en consideración que cuando un cliente de DBA vive fuera de los Estados Unidos y hace un reclamo de beneficios, es muy probable que vaya ser negado. La razón por la cual sus beneficios pueden ser negados son los siguientes: la compañía de seguro no puede encontrar médicos en otros países al igual que pagarles en monedas internacionales para poder tratarlos.  Esto significa que el trabajador lesionado va tener que pagar todo el tratamiento médico. Generalmente, entre más tratamiento médico usted reciba, más grande va hacer su compensación.

IMG_7946-e1539370237245-1-225x300Así que usted va a obtener su propio tratamiento y nos va permitir buscar reembolso de esos gastos para usted.  Sabemos que eso puede ser un obstáculo para el tratamiento, pero también sabemos que como una persona lesionada puede ir a un hospital local por una suma razonable. Esa visita va a documentar sus lesiones siempre y cuando usted de su historia de trabajo que hizo para los contratistas Americanos y como usted fue lesionado haciendo ese trabajo. Por favor obtenga esos registros médicos para que pueda enviarlos a nosotros.

Si usted cree que ha perdido la audición en uno o ambos oídos debido a su trabajo, obtenga una prueba auditiva y solicite una copia de los resultados de esa prueba. Necesitamos sus registros médicos para solicitar sus beneficios. Juntos podemos trabajar hacia una compensación justa para usted. También empujamos para poner fondos en sus manos lo más rápido posible. Debemos traducir sus registros médicos al inglés y presentarlos a la Corte apropiada. Aquí ves una deposición que tiene lugar en nuestra oficina.

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We are committed to helping injured workers everywhere in the World who were injured working under a contract with an American company. In performing this life mission, we are constantly listening to the needs of our clients. We seek ways to upgrade our services to them and put legal services and knowledge at their fingertips.
Let us make it clear: Our fees and costs are contingent on obtaining a settlement for our DBA clients. We do not have a client pay our costs. When we win a settlement it will include having the insurance company pay our fees and costs.
We also take into consideration that when a DBA client living outside of America makes a claim for benefits, it will most likely be denied. This means the injured worker has to go to the expense of paying for his own medical treatment. Generally the more medical treatment you receive, the larger the settlement. When you live outside of the USA, your DBA case will be denied because frankly the insurance company cannot find and pay doctors in different countries and currencies to treat you.
IMG_7941-e1539367154229-1-225x300So you will pay for your own treatment and let us seek reimbursement of those expenses for you. We know that you having to pay for your medical care, can be a hindrance to treatment but we also know you as an injured person can go to your local hospital for a reasonable sum. That visit will document your injuries provided you give a history of your work for the American contractor and how you were injured doing that work. Please get a copy of those records so you can send them to us.
If you believe you have lost hearing in one or both ears due to your work, get a hearing test and ask for a copy of the results of that testing. We need your medical records to file for your benefits. Together we can work toward a fair settlement for you. This law firm fights to put settlement funds in your hands as fast as possible. We must have your records translated into English and filed with the proper Court. Only after your injuries are properly documented along with the dates of your employment will your case be ready for a settlement.
When you injured different body parts on different dates these require that separate claims be filed under the different dates of accident. Each body part needs a medical treatment record. As an example, if you hurt your foot in 2015, go see a doctor and let him know what pain or problem that foot is giving you.
What if you settled your right to shoulder treatment? If you already settled your right to shoulder treatment you cannot make any further claim for that body part as a result of the past employment under which you settled.

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You probably already know that our passion is to help the injured! Let me give you a bit of background on how we arrived at this point.  As a child Attorney Hoffman watched her mother lay in bed suffering for months recovering from injuries suffered in a car accident where the vehicle was totalled.  Months later her mother received a call from the attorney who told her he had settled her case and she would receive $350. As a child Attorney Hoffman found that offensive. She vowed to spend her life fighting for those injured and vowed to not let this happen to anyone else.

Brandon’s Success Story.  A few years ago, Attorney Hoffman received a call about a fellow Hoosier who had been riding on his college fraternity’s float in a school parade. The float driver began to drive faster swerving the car from side to side. Two people were thrown from the float including Attorney Hoffman’s client who sustained a fractured skull with brain swelling.  IMG_14591-1-300x225

Learning of an accident like that is any mother’s nightmare, but lucky for Brandon, his mother was an experienced nurse. She flew in, came to his side, and approved him being put into a coma and a surgical procedure performed with a section of his skull removed so his brain swelling could subside. After a few months the brain swelling subsided, the skull flap was re-attached and the injured Hoosier began a long course of rehabilitation. Words are inadequate to describe the dramatic comeback  that Brandon made by following up with therapy, doctors and always striving to improve.  His success shows you that while brain injuries are terrible, you must always remain positive and belief in your ability to overcome the injuries and lead a normal life.

We tell you this so you understand that after terrible injuries, success stories can result. After months of litigation, Attorney Hoffman with the help of Attorneys Ariel Furst and Attorney Thomas Blackburn of Indiana was able to obtain a successful result where State Continue reading →

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Nuestro bufete de abogados les gusta encontrar casos de responsabilidad de terceras partes y obtener una resolucion monetaria para los clientes.  Sin embargo, no mentiriamos a un cliente acerca de su reclamacion de terceras partes. Para dejar en claro que nohay demandas pendientes válidas contra Triple Canopy y/o SOC. Esto incluye casos contra ellos por salarios no pagados o casos de denuncias (quitam). Los ex empleados de estas compañías no tienen la legitimidad para presentar estos casos en los Estados Unidos, lo que significa que no hay dinero que el cliente obtiene en estos casos. El único caso exitoso contra Triple Canopy fue presentado por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Este caso fue basado en la información proporcionada por un ex empleado que documentó que Triple Canopy le había cobrado excesivamente al gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Este caso se basó en el hecho de que los guardias contratados por Triple Canopy no podían pasar una prueba de armas de fuego y falsificaban puntajes de pruebas para guardias no calificados, por lo que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos, recibió una sobrecarga por el nivel de habilidad de los guardias.

IMG_6201-1-300x225Hemos revisado los contratos y hemos recibido información de que a nuestros clientes y otros guardias heridos o lesionados en zonas de guerra se les esta pidiendo que paguen dinero a abogados en Perú porque harán reclamaciones de terceras personas. Esto no está permitido bajo la ley de los Estados Unidos. La Ley de Base de Defensa (DBA) es una ley que permite a los trabajadores lesionados, mientras que bajo contrato con un contratista estadounidense para recuperarse de lesiones documentadas médicamente, tales como la pérdida de audición, problemas psiquiátricos, lesiones físicas y salarios perdidos; Pero no de dolor y sufrimiento. No existe un caso de terceros para los trabajadores lesionados en Perú. No pedimos al trabajador que pague dinero por adelantado y no debe pagar por adelantado a ningun abogado o a su acuerdo. Recientemente hemos oído rumores de que un abogado de Perú garantizará un establecimiento $85.000 en un caso de terceras partes. Un trabajador lesionado no debe dar el dinero que le hemos obtenido en su resolucion monetaria a ningun abogado que este tratando de perseguir una demanda de terceras partes en el Perú. Hemos visto un contrato de un abogado de Perú que garantiza al cliente un 1 millón de dólares y les pide que le paguen dinero, esto no es correcto. No se dejen engañar por esto y no regale su dinero por la cual hemos trabajado tan diligentemente para conseguirlo.

 

 

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This firm likes to find third party liability cases and obtain settlements for the clients. However, we will not lie to a client about their having a third party claim. Just to be clear there are no valid pending lawsuits against Triple Canopy and/or SOC. This includes cases against them for unpaid wages or whistleblower (quitam) cases. The former employees of these companies do not have standing to bring these cases in the USA which means there is no money the client will obtain on these cases. The only successful case against Triple Canopy was filed by the U.S. Government based on information given by a former employee who documented the U.S. Government was overcharged by Triple Canopy. This was based in the fact the guards Triple Canopy hired could not pass a firearms test and falsified test scores for unqualified guards and thus the U.S. Government was overbilled for the skill level of the guards. Here is the link to the Justice Department:

IMG_6201-1-300x225I have reviewed contracts and received information that our clients and other guards injured in war zones are being asked to pay money to attorneys in Peru who will make third party  claims. This is not allowed under U.S. Law. Understand the DBA is a law that allows workers injured while under contract to an American contractor to recover for medically documented injuries such as hearing loss, psychiatric issues, physical injuries and lost wages; but not pain and suffering. There is no 3rd party case to be made for the injured workers in Peru.  We do not ask for the worker to pay money up front and you should not give any attorney money up front nor from your settlement. Recently I have heard rumors that a Peru attorney will guarantee an $85,000 settlement on a 3rd party case.  An injured worker should not give up the money we obtain for them on their settlements by signing any part of it away to an attorney pursuing a 3rd party lawsuit in Peru. We have actually seen a contract distributed by a Peru attorney which states he guarantees the client that signs his form a million dollars plus he asks them to pay him money. This is not proper and there will be no settlement of $1,000,000 nor $85,000 based on lawsuits filed in Peru.  Do not fall for this and do not give away your money that we work so diligently to obtain for you.

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We welcome our new clients in Puerto Rico as we are now open for business at 1519 Juan Ponce de Leon Ave. #510, San Juan PR 00909-1715 only 12 minutes from the Airport. I’ll explain why we opened to help those working there.

IMG_5406-e1526405710868-1-225x300In 2004, a very bad hurricane hit Florida. We had windows blown out of our office and we were without power for nine days at our house. An electrical pole had fallen across our street so no service vehicles could get to us. We would be nine days without power. During that time we got to know all the neighbors as we shared food and grilled outside. One neighbor siphoned gas from a boat to run the generators for homes on the street. It was a camping out experience where you learned to treasure a hot shower at a friend’s, were amazed by all the stars in the sky at night visible without electricity, and where you worked diligently to board up broken glass. You danced for joy at seeing a power truck on your street. We learned to share, be grateful, and have patience.
In 2017, my single largest donation was to the Red Cross after seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. I chose that charitable organization after my cousin Amy described her experience with the Red Cross. You see Cousin Amy was on the United Airlines crash in Sioux City where 1/3 of the people perished. The plane had broken into three parts. She ended up in a section that came to rest upside down in a corn field. “When we walked away from the crash with only the clothes on our back, having the Red Cross there with warm clothes, and blankets is something you’ll never forget.” Continue reading →

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