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

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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.

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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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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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Florida has experienced the tremendous loss associated with the Parkland shooting which is now among the 10 deadliest mass shootings in America. It is time for us to come together and implement change so these mass shootings stop.

Many people are coming up with ideas. I have been encouraged by the Governor’s recommendation to restrict the age at individual can buy AR rifles to 21 although 25 would be better.  I like the idea of banning AR rifles altogether, but what do we do with the ones that exist?

I like the idea of better background checks and stopping the availability of AR rifles to those with mental illness. We need to be able to stop an evil person who has an AR rifle and starts threatening people before he acts.  We should be able to arrest and incarcerate them at that point and confiscate the AR rifle(s).  We want to allow police to proactively arrest an evil person seeking to kill one or more with his AR rifle before he strikes.

DSC00817-1-291x300I want to share an important lesson I learned when I was a young law student. I defended a minor who was charged with the burglary of a home. I was successful in defending the case and winning the trial for him. As a result of that he was released from juvenile court jail and I went on my Christmas vacation. When I returned, I learned he went out before Christmas and killed two people at random coming out of the shopping mall.  That was a true wake up call for me and I realized it would not be my calling to go into criminal defense. It made me realize that an evil person will always do evil even when given a second chance, put in a loving home or given help.  They will look at you, do evil and say, “You knew I was evil when you tried to help me.”

I see that when there is a tragedy such as a mass shooting there is focus on why the person did it.  Was he not schooled properly, not given enough help and so on? It may be interesting to look back but inevitably the person was evil and would commit an atrocious act in the future.
People might say, “He was a ticking time bomb,”   “I knew he would shoot up the school someday.” He had a screw loose.” Ok let’s say all those things were known to be true.
Law enforcement can do nothing. Why?  They can’t arrest people on possibilities, on crazy likelihoods or suspicions unless the person has put his plan into words written or spoken.  Remember the Las Vegas shooter never exposed his plan.  So what we need to do is give law enforcement the ability to prevent these tragedies from continuing to occur.
That is why I put my idea out as The Simple Solution. Continue reading →
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The good news is winning a DBA case on causation is fairly easy.  Once you show 1% of the cause of your injury is due to being overseas you can recover 100% of your medical treatment. Section 20a gives you a presumption of compensability on causation where you establish that you were injured and the injury occurred overseas. And certainly if you are truthful and respectful you will probably receive medical and lost wage benefits for a period of time. 

IMG_0631-1-300x225There will come a time when the insurance company conducts a labor market survey to show there are jobs available that you can do. When you meet with the representative of the insurance company conducting the labor market survey, please understand that you must be totally honest in terms of supplying information about your prior jobs even revealing when you were terminated. You must also answer truthfully if you have any felony conviction. Attorneys for the insurance company will subpoena your prior employment records, medical records and criminal records. If you have lied to the labor market survey person, the defense attorney and/or the insurance company doctor, these false statements give the Judge a reason to deny your claim. No one expects you to be perfect, just be truthful. I like to say it would be a very boring world if we were all perfect.  Continue reading →

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Unfortunately, if your employer has less than four (4) employees you may not be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits under Florida Statue Ch. 440.   Meaning if you get hurt on the job, YOU may be personally responsible for your medical treatment/bills as well as any and all time missed from work.  Now, there are always exceptions to every rule (such as if you are in the construction industry).   Under  Florida Statute 440.055, [a]n employer who employs fewer than four employees, who is permitted by law to elect not to secure payment of compensation, and who elects not to do so shall post clear written notice in a conspicuous location at each work site directed to all employees and other persons performing services at the work site of their lack of entitlement to benefits under chapter 440. Continue reading →

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An important decision regarding a business’ duty to prevent over serving has been released by the 4th District Court of Appeal in the case of Stephanie De La Torre, Humberto Miranda and Carla Gallardo, Appellants, vs. Flanigan’s Enterprises, Inc d/b/a Flanigan’s Bar and Grill.

In this decision, the Plaintiffs, Stephanie De La Torre, Humberto Miranda and Carla Gallardo, were injured when their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver.  The injured persons filed a complaint against Flanigan’s, which owns and operates the restaurant at which the drunk driver had been drinking at prior to the accident.

blogThe trial court dismissed the complaint, finding that section 768.125, Florida Statutes (2011), protects businesses such as Flanigan’s from any liability for injuries caused by intoxicated patrons, as long as certain conditions are met.

The facts of this case, are unfortunately, not uncommon.  The Defendant went to the restaurant, Flanigan’s, on the night of December 2, 2011.  While there, the Defendant was over served by employees of Flanigan’s.  The Defendant became intoxicated and the employees of Flanigan’s tried to sober the Defendant up.  Later on, the Defendant left the restaurant in her own vehicle, and while on her way home, crossed into oncoming traffic, and struck the Plaintiffs’ vehicle.

An important part of this case, is the fact that Flanigan’s maintained internal policy designed to prevent drunk patrons from driving away from the business, by in effect taking the car keys away from the intoxicated patrons and insuring that the drunk patron left in either a taxi or with a sober driver. Continue reading →

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