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A Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Defense Base Act Law Firm Fighting for the Injured.

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Recently, I was honored by the Broward Bar with the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence in Workers Compensation. I was touched and proud to be recognized for my hard work and dedication to helping the injured. My high school English teacher was the one who told me to go to Law School.  I know how lucky I was to have my parents be able to pay for my education. They both worked full time and had only one child to educate. Imagine if they had more children to educate. It would have been so difficult. I wanted to DO MORE to help others get educated. Seeing people get injured I realized how difficult it would be for an injured parent to pay for an education for their children.

IMG_0534-1-220x300I am proud to say I still get emails, letters and calls of thanks from people I helped. One man called and left a message: He said tell Jo Ann my settlement helped my son go to college. That made me so happy. I know education is important to help people break out of the cycle of poverty. Plus it is important to tell children they can achieve their goals by getting the education they want. That is why I encourage my clients to know they can achieve anything they can dream. My Partner, Vance B. Moore, left me with a plaque saying, “If you can dream it you can do it”. It quotes Walt Disney and Vance was a huge Disney fan. He is watching from heaven now. You would never find a man who would do more to help people. WE are proud to continue his vision.

That is why this firm announces its donation to the 440 Scholarship Fund which pays for education for children of the injured, but to get it you have to apply. That is why I include this application link. Application – Friends of 440 Scholarship Fund

If you need help with the application either reach out to Attorneys Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates, PA or contact The Friends of 440 Scholarship Fund is a charitable organization whose purpose is to make the dream of attending college classes a reality for eligible students who are dependents and descendants of an individual who has been injured or killed in the course and scope of their employment and/or who received benefits under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law. In addition, dependents of individuals whose primary employment is connected with the operation and/or administration of this same law are also eligible to receive scholarships. Continue reading →

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On February 24, 2023, JoAnn Hoffman received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broward County, Workers Compensation Division of the Florida Bar for her decades long work helping the injured in Florida.

IMG_1063-225x300How far have we come and how far can we go to be Fair to all people? That is the question that still exists today. So I have these personal comments that brought me to this post:

I saw racism when I was a child… and sexism,…and oppression of the poor. My family did not have much money but we worked hard and slowly earned our way out of poverty.

My recognizing injustice began as a young child when I saw my mother injured in an accident. She lay in bed for months missing work. Her attorney called her and told her he settled her case for $350. I found that offensive and made it my life’s mission not to let that happen to other people. There was no internet then, no one to reach out to. Her case was just finished.

I went to law school because my high school English teacher told me I was

Continue reading →

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I would like to take a moment to reflect on the humble beginning that I came from and how the efforts of many people contributed to my ability to make a better life for my family. It’s a bit of a long read but please stay with me because I think it has a blockbuster ending.

I grew up on a small farm in Indiana. My parents worked full-time day jobs and then farmed our land when they returned home in the afternoons. In addition to saving every penny towards building a better life, my parents emphasized the importance and transformative power of education.Jo-on-tractor-300x207

Due to financial constraints, my father had dropped out of high school to work on the railroad. This would have likely been his job for the rest of his life, but for a visit from the high school basketball coach. If my father agreed to return to high school, the coach offered to provide my father with a paid assistant position with the basketball team. My father agreed, and this arrangement provided the financial means for my father to finish his high school degree.  He then went on to get a college degree so he could be a teacher and be a positive influence for others like the coach was for him.

As a teacher, my father could provide better for our family than as a railroad laborer. The county provided pensions and other benefits for teachers as well – all opportunities he unlocked by increasing his education. He wanted to make sure that others could access teaching opportunities and provide for their families too. My dad got involved in a program to help young Black students from the South become teachers. Continue reading →

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post-trau·mat·ic stress dis·or·der
  1. a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.

If you are a widow or a loved one of a civilian contractor who has struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or has committed suicide as a result of a work-related injury while working overseas in a war zone you may be wondering whether your loved one’s death is covered by the Defense Base Act. Our firm can help guide you on the law and the rights of your loved one who performed work overseas.


As we move into unprecedent times the Attorneys at Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates are here to help you not only through your legal case, but also guide you on how to get help for your personal issues caused as a result of your Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from your work-related overseas injuries. As many of our clients are suffering from PTSD, as a consequence of war, we are very vigilant and attentive to address our client’s specific needs on a day-to-day basis. Not only do we provide our clients with access to a group of attorneys in our firm with vast knowledge of their case to help them from the beginning to the end of their legal process, we also have a firm that is willing to help locate professionals who can help our clients cope with their symptoms. PTSD develops when a person experiences a form of a severe trauma and as a result of that trauma their personal life as well as their health are affected. Civilian contractors experience many of the same traumatic experiences and war related attacks as U.S. military veterans. While US Military veteran injuries are covered by the Veterans Administration, civilian contractors that are hired by the Department of State or private companies are covered by the Defense Base Act. Continue reading →

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Once you or your attorney has filed your claim for benefits under the Defense Base Act for an injury you sustained during your employment with a DBA contractor, everything that you say or do can and will be used against you. The most important thing to remember when going through the litigation process is to be consistent in your reporting. This means whenever you give a statement on the record, report your injuries to your doctor, report your injuries to an independent medical examination doctor, or even during written discovery; everything needs to line up and stay true. The best way to stay consistent is to be completely honest during the whole process.


Self-Reporting of Your Injuries and Experiences to Medical Professionals 

Usually, before filing a claim for an injury under the Defense Base Act, you would have spoken to a doctor about your symptoms/injuries and what could have caused it during your employment with your DBA contractor. This is where the consistency starts. From the very beginning, your self-reporting of your symptoms/injuries will be recorded in your doctor’s medical reports. These reports will be used to establish your injury and its link to your former employment. These records will be investigated by the defense attorney, and should your case go to trial, they will be presented to the Judge as well. Your words in these records will be compared to your words during other stages of litigation. Should you be subjected to an independent medical examination with a doctor of the defense’s choosing, that doctor will also be cross referencing your self-reports in your medical records to what you are self-reporting on that day. Additionally, this doctor will likely subject you to malingering tests wherein you’ll be tested to determine if you are feigning or overexaggerating your symptoms/injuries. Therefore, it is imperative to remain honest and consistent during the entire process. Continue reading →

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Nuestra firma representa a varios trabajadores extranjeros que fueron heridos en zonas de Guerra. Trabajaron para contratistas americanos que los volaban de sus hogares en países diferentes incluyendo Perú, Colombia, y Honduras para servir como guardias de seguridad en zonas de guerra para asistir a nuestro ejército. Estos guardias de seguridad sirvieron junto con nuestro ejército estadounidense y sufrieron lesiones en estas zonas de guerra incluyendo lesiones psicológicas. Si algún guardia ha sufrido lesiones psicológicas, debe tomar ciertas acciones.

Antes de que un guardia pueda presentar una lesión, debe buscar atención médica por su cuenta en su propio país con un médico. Tiene un año a partir del tiempo de ese informe médico que une su condición psicológica a su empleo en la zona de guerra para presentar un reclamo de compensación del trabajador en las cortes federales en los Estados Unidos.

JoAnn-Hoffman-300x288El informe medico tendrá que ser traducido al ingles para que la persona que lo vaya a leer lo pueda entender. El abogado del empleador puede programar un examen medico de defensa con el medico que ellos deseen. Si ese informe es favorable para el trabajador lesionado, entonces tiene una mejor oportunidad de ganar su reclamo por su lesión psicológica relacionada con su empleo.

¿Pero qué pasa si gana su caso? Esto no requiere que el empleador ni la compañía del seguro le pague un solo pago. Se puede recibir un solo pago siempre y cuando las dos partes lleguen a un acuerdo de un numero para resolver el reclamo. Si eso ocurre, el trabajador lesionado abandona su derecho a recibir atención médica y salarios perdidos relacionados con esa lesión en el futuro y se queda con la suma de dinero acordada.

En nuestra firma siempre se hace que la compañía de seguro page por los honorarios de abogados y costos por separado del dinero otorgado a la persona lesionada.

Es muy importante para nosotros que la persona lesionada entienda cómo procede un caso y qué medidas pueden tomar para mejorar el caso.

Primero, necesitan determinar si tienen alguno de los síntomas que usualmente van junto con el trastorno de estrés postraumático. A continuación, necesitan ver al médico en varias ocasiones y someterse a un tratamiento adecuado para documentar la severidad de sus lesiones. Simplemente indicado, una persona que ve al médico varias veces para el tratamiento se espera que sea más lesionado que alguien que ve a un médico una vez.

Con respecto a saber cuánto deben resolver el caso para el trabajador extranjero necesita entender que no se le permitirá entrar en los Estados Unidos para aparecer ante el juez. Nuestras leyes de inmigración no permitirán esto. Por lo tanto, el juez tendrá que tomar una decisión basada en las pruebas de registro antes de él, que por lo general incluye deposiciones. Desde el momento en que una reclamación se presenta hasta que un juez decida tarda unos 18 meses. Continue reading →

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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, Valiant Integrated Services, 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, Valiant 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 noise.

Continue reading →

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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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Para aquellos trabajadores que han sido enviados a las zonas de guerra, y han descubierto que tiene lesiones una vez que regresaron a su casa, incluso si esta en un país diferente. Si usted tiene dificultad para escuchar por haber estado expuesto a bombardeos o experimenta pesadillas o reacciones de sobresalto a ruidos fuertes, es necesario que busque tratamiento médico en su propio país. Hasta que no vea a un doctor no podemos hacer una reclamación por usted. Una vez que vea al médico, usted necesita enviarnos toda la documentacion de apoyo como los registros médicos. Solo asi podemos presentar su reclamo.

Ear-1-300x200Usted puede obtener mas detalles en mi foro de informacion acerca del DBA( Defense Base Act).

Este bufete de abogados representa a los trabajadores que han perdido sus honorarios bajo el contrato de empleo. Les estamos enviando una solicitud (LS200 Report of Earnings). Favor de llenarla, ya que permitira que el empleado que ha sido lesionado pueda documentar sus honorarios perdidos y sus problemas fisicos o psiquiatricos, desde que dejo de trabajar. Por otra parte también permitiria a la compañia de seguro calcular sus ingresos debidamente en acorde con sus lesiones. Continue reading →

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For those workers who have been sent to war zones to work, you may discover you have injuries once you return to your home even if in a different country.  When you are having difficulty hearing from being exposed to bombing or experiencing nightmares or startle responses to loud noises, you should seek medical treatment in your own country.  Until you see a doctor we cannot make a claim for you.  Once you see the doctor we will need to see those medical records.  We can then file a Claim and I discuss that in my other blogs.

This firm represents many injured workers who have lost wages since their last employment when they were under contract to work. I want to provide access to the form you will need to complete to have your lost wages considered. The form is called an LS200 Report of Earnings. What it does is allow the injured worker to document his earnings since the time he lost his employment where his injury is ongoing as with spinal physical injuries or psychiatric injuries.  This is important because this documentation allows the insurance company to calculate the wage loss of the injured worker.

IMG_4604-e1522095418631-1-150x150Let me explain it with an example. Say when you were working you earned $200 per week.  Your psychiatric injuries have prevented you from working for 6 months of the twelve months since you lost your employment. Your lost wage benefit is payable at  2/3 of your $200 per week earning or $133.33 per week.  If you lost 6 months of wages you are eligible for 26 weeks times $133.33 or $3,466.58 but you must complete the earnings form so the proper calculation can be made.

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