American Bar Association Launches Plan to Help Returning Injured Veterans


Sarasota, FL ( – Attorneys interested in expanding their Workers' Compensation practice into a closely connected area of the law or getting their firm involved in a “Pro Bono” effort to help Veterans may now get more information via a free webinar on the topic.

At a recent seminar, sponsored by the Workers' Compensation Committees from the Labor and Employment Section and the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association, a panel of experts discussed the expanding and much needed area of law entitled “Veteran's Benefits”.

The panel, comprised of Richard Warsh Esq., Southfield, MI. Lt Colonel (R), John E. Walus, Esq. of Southfield, MI. and Pritz Navaratnasingam, U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs,

discussed the challenges and pitfalls of Veteran's benefits claims.  Mr. Warsh pointed out that as of several years ago the Veterans Administration agreed to withhold attorney fees of up to 20% of past due benefits. He noted that workers' compensation practitioners already dealt with claims of injuries, diseases or disabilities that arose out of employment, and that Veterans were making the same claim, that their time in the service resulted in an injury, disease or disability.

Richard T. Seymour, the current Chair of the Section of Labor and Employment Law, announced that the Section was sponsoring a free webinar for section members on the topic. It reads as follows:

Want to Help Support Returning Disabled Veterans Get Their Government Benefits?

 The Labor and Employment Law Section is Paying the Freight So YOU Can Attend a Free “How to” Webinar!

April 4, 2012              1:00 P.M. Eastern, Noon Central, 11:00 A.M. Mountain, 10:00 A.M. Pacific, 9:00 A.M. Alaska, 8:00 A.M. Hawai'i

There is an enormous need: Approximately 2 million veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom suffer from the physical and mental injuries of war. Of the nearly 1.3 million veterans discharged since 2001, nearly half have filed disability compensation claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There are discouraging delays: Since 2005, the number of new claims filed at the VA has doubled, causing significant delays in the time it takes veterans to receive both free health care and compensation for their service-connected disabilities. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently noted in its decision: Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki, it now Atakes an average of more than four years for a veteran to fully adjudicate a claim for benefits.@

Built-in hurdles add to the difficulties: For veterans, the VA disability benefits system is labyrinthine, lengthy, and frustratingly complex.  Returning disabled veterans have difficulty navigating the bureaucracy to get the benefits and medical care Congress intended them to have.  Veterans with closed-head injuries can have significant problems identifying the benefits they should have, showing that they meet the requirements, and getting access to the right medical care. They are struggling, and need legal help.

            Access to lawyers helps: Studies of Veterans Administration programs show that veterans with attorneys do much better in getting their benefits than veterans without attorneys.

            What the Section is doing:  The Section is paying the freight for a free webinar program—with voice and visuals you can see on your computer—to our members and non-members alike.  It will familiarize you with the process for obtaining disability benefits through the VA and explain how lawyers can help with the initial filing and the appellate process, all the way up to a special Court of Veterans Appeals in Washington, D.C.      

What the FREE Webinar will cover: This webinar will cover the challenges disabled veterans face in obtaining benefits and how practicing attorneys can help them navigate the VA claims process.  Speakers will discuss the VA benefits system, the nuts and bolts of representing veterans whose claims have been denied, and avenues for getting involved in veterans' pro bono cases.

            How to register for the FREE Webinar: Check the Section web site for the announcement when the registration link is set up.  When it goes live, it should be at

            This webinar will not provide CLE credit.



Editors Note: This information was provided courtesy of Attorney James Reiter, of the firm Charfoos Reiter Hebert, PC, of Farmington Hills, MI

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