As Memorial Day returns this May and we plan our three-day vacations, we should pause and reflect on the meaning behind the holiday.
As Thomas Jefferson noted, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. With soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in theaters of combat, we should again reflect on those who both came before and those who continue to make the ultimate sacrifice on the distant battlefields to meet this obligation.
As we acknowledge the many who died protecting our rights, we must also acknowledge there are many more permanently disabled due to injuries sustained in the line of duty, often forever scarred both physically and emotionally.
As both a veteran and veterans’ disability law attorney, I have witnessed the number of veterans who are entitled to receive compensation for injuries and disabilities during service grow rapidly each year. Unfortunately, many of these heroes will be denied compensation for their injuries or have their injuries rated much lower than required under federal law.
If you or a loved one has been injured during a period of active duty, there exists a right to compensation based on the lost productivity and earnings that accompany these disabilities.
Ten years ago, our firm dealt mostly with WWII and Vietnam veterans who were denied claims for knee injuries, back injuries, PTSD, and other combat and non-combat injuries.
Today our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are dealing with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, PTSD and Gulf War Syndrome. The battlefields change, but the horrors of war remain similar.
While there are still a large number of WWII and Vietnam veterans fighting to get their VA benefits granted, the number of new veterans in their early twenties who have been denied is alarming. They are entitled to compensation based on the nature and severity of their injury sustained in active duty, albeit physical or mental.
Helping these heroes get the treatment and compensation they deserve is what we do. Not only does assisting veterans with their appeals bring us pride, it provides us a running narrative of heroic stories and firsthand chronicles of battles for history yet unwritten.
John S. Berry