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I'm a Veteran, and I Need to Sue Someone, What Should I Do?

I'm a Veteran, and I Need to Sue Someone, What Should I Do?

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I'm a Veteran, and I Need to Sue Someone, What Should I Do?

Veterans are prepared to give everything for their country. When returning to civilian life, they should be able to access the assistance they are entitled to. However, veterans can find it tough to qualify for benefits and may even experience unlawful discrimination.

As a veteran, you should not have to struggle to get what you deserve. However, help is available. If you are a veteran, need to sue someone, and do not know what you should do, Morgan & Morgan is here for you. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through your options if you experienced employment or housing discrimination, were denied disability benefits, or have another reason to sue someone. Get started today and contact us for free advice.

Veteran Discrimination

Veteran discrimination can occur in almost every sphere of life, whether in housing, employment, healthcare, or another. However, there are various federal laws protecting veterans from unlawful discrimination. 

Laws Dealing With Veteran Discrimination

The three primary laws protecting veterans against employment-related discrimination are: 

As a veteran, you have re-employment and other rights under federal law. The VEVRAA and USERRA acts prohibit discrimination against veterans re-entering the workforce after serving their country. VEVRAA stipulates that federal contractors and subcontractors must not discriminate against veterans. Moreover, federal employers have to take affirmative action in recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining veterans. 

Most employers in the U.S. have to comply with USERRA. The act can protect you in three main ways:

  • Right to re-employment in your civilian position under most circumstances
  • Protection from retaliation and discrimination in employment
  • Employment-based health insurance protection of up to 24 months while in the military  

Other Protections From Discrimination

Veterans are not only protected due to their veteran status but may also enjoy additional protection due to their race, age, and disability. Moreover, protection extends into all areas of life, not only to employment. As a veteran, you have the right to be treated equally to everyone else and do not have to accept ill-treatment or discrimination based on your status.

Unfortunately, the reality can paint a different picture for veterans. Even the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is not immune to allegations of veteran discrimination. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the most common complaints filed for alleged discrimination at the VA are based on:

  1. Retaliation
  2. Age
  3. Race 

The figures are truly staggering. Of the 2,221 complaints in 2009, almost 700 were based on race discrimination. More than 500 complaints dealt with allegations of disability discrimination at the VA. 

If you believe that you are the victim of discrimination, get in touch with us. Many of our team members and attorneys are veterans themselves and have personal experience with the issues and stumbling blocks you might be facing. We could help you get justice. 

What Veteran Discrimination Can Look Like

Veteran discrimination can be subtle or overt and come in many forms. Employment-related examples can include:

  • A listed internal position or promotion suddenly becomes unavailable when you try to apply for it
  • Your previous employer will not re-employ you
  • You did not receive the same benefits that others received while at work or deployed
  • Your veteran status excludes you from the hiring process 

It is also illegal to judge job candidates on their medical situation or disability. If an employer states that your condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, makes you unsuitable for a position, they are unlawfully discriminating against you. The only time an employer should raise your disability or medical condition is when asking which type of accommodation you require for the position. 

Housing Discrimination

Veterans have a right to fair housing. Moreover, disabled veterans have several additional housing-related protections. It is generally a violation of federal law to deny a disabled veteran a rental unit, mortgage, purchase of a home, rental lease renewal, and other aspects of housing. A disabled applicant must be provided with reasonable accommodations regarding rentals, house purchases, and other housing-related issues. 

Discrimination law can be complex, especially when it comes to your veteran status. However, as a veteran, you are entitled to support and certain services that make your transition into civilian life more manageable. You sacrificed a great deal for your country and should not have to fight for these rights. Morgan & Morgan’s veteran attorneys have your back and can advise you on your next best steps if an employer or landlord doesn’t treat you fairly.

Are You Struggling to Receive the Benefits You Deserve?

The VA should be helping veterans in their times of need. However, one of the most common reasons for veterans to file legal action is the denial of benefits. 

Veterans Disability Benefits

To be eligible for benefits, veterans need to fulfil certain requirements. Applicants must also receive a disability rating for a service-related condition or injury. To qualify for benefits, veterans must have:

  • Suffered an illness or injury on active duty 

OR

  • Aggravated an existing condition or injury as a result of serving

A veteran can also seek disability benefits if their disability only became apparent after they finished service, provided the condition developed due to active duty.

Getting veterans’ disability benefits can be a challenge. If you are struggling with getting the disability benefits you deserve, a lawyer from our firm can help. Moreover, if you are a veteran and need to sue to receive your benefits, we can help you understand what you should do.

Fighting a Disability Rating

The amount of disability benefit you qualify for directly depends on your disability rating. Therefore, if your disability rating is incorrect and too low, you are getting underpaid and are leaving money on the table. It is important to note that you can appeal against your disability rating, provided you can show new evidence relevant to the appeal. 

If your medical condition or disability has worsened over time, you might also be receiving inadequate disability benefits and could be entitled to a higher amount. Veterans generally have the right to request an increased disability rating if their health deteriorates or their disability worsens. 

Appealing against a disability rating and getting your rating changed can be tough. If you have been unable to get rated fairly and are battling to secure the disability benefits you need, you could have legal options.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Against the VA

In some cases, veterans have grounds to sue the VA for medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can arise when you get injured due to the negligence of a VA medical provider or VA hospital. Examples of medical malpractice can include but are not limited to:

  • Mistakes in surgery
  • Mixing up patients
  • Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis
  • Lack of aftercare
  • Failure to order or interpret diagnostic tests
  • Medication mistakes

If you suffered a further injury while treated in a VA medical facility due to medical malpractice, you could seek damages such as:

  • Lost income and lost future earning capacity
  • Medical expenses and future medical costs
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Mental distress
  • Physical pain and anguish

If your loved one passed away due to medical malpractice at a VA facility, you could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensation. 

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FAQ

FAQs

  • What Are “Reasonable Accommodations” for Disabled Veterans?

    Under the ADA, employers with 15 or more employees generally must provide reasonable accommodations for disabled veterans and other disabled employees. Reasonable accommodations are individual and will depend on your type of disability and position. Examples of accommodations include: 

    • Extra time for hiring tests
    • Working from home 
    • Modified equipment
    • Reassignment to a different position
    • Flexible work schedules
    • Allowing service animals
  • How Can I Prove That My Disability Is Related to Serving? 

    Proving that your disability is service-related is essential for receiving benefits from the VA. You could show a link in several ways:

    Direct connection to active service – if you suffered a disability while serving and can provide the relevant evidence, you would qualify for benefits. 

    Injury during VA medical treatment – if you got hurt during a medical procedure at a VA medical facility, your injury can automatically qualify you for disability benefits.

    Aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition – if you have evidence linking worsening of a pre-existing condition to active duty, you could be entitled to disability benefits.

    There could be other ways to prove that your disability is service-related. Our veteran attorneys know how to handle disability claims and can fight for your best interests.

  • How Do I File an Employment Discrimination Complaint?

    Under federal law, veterans are generally protected from employment discrimination based on their:

    • Previous service 
    • Current service
    • Intent to serve

    If you have suffered discrimination at work, one of your first steps can be filing a USERRA complaint with the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). If your complaint concerns a federal contractor or subcontractor, you can file a complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

    However, knowing your next steps when you have been treated unfairly can be tricky. Moreover, the time limit for filing a complaint or lawsuit can be short, depending on your case and your state. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible can help you clarify your options. An attorney from our firm can help determine whether you could sue an employer for damages.

  • Can an Attorney Help Surviving Relatives of Veterans?

    As a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran, you could be entitled to various benefits from the VA. For example, if your loved one died while serving or from a service-related injury or illness, you could qualify for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).  If the VA has rejected your DIC claim or any other death benefit claims, one of our attorneys could help launch an appeal.  

  • Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue Someone?

    You can file a lawsuit on your own and represent yourself in court. However, veterans often underestimate the time, effort, and legal knowledge required to handle a lawsuit. Going it alone can be stressful and overwhelming. 

    Veterans deserve to have professional legal representation in their corner. We offer free first consultations to determine whether you have a case and what your best course of action could look like. We can also tell you honestly and openly whether you could go it alone or should consider hiring a lawyer for your case.
    No-Win-No-Fee

    If you are worried about the cost of working with a lawyer, we can put your mind at ease. There are no out-of-pocket costs or upfront attorney’s fees to pay when Morgan & Morgan takes your case. We only win if you win and only recover our fee if you receive a settlement.

  • How Can Morgan & Morgan Help Me?

    Knowing what you should do and where to turn for help can be essential as a veteran needing to sue someone. Morgan & Morgan can help with your legal issue in many different ways, including:

    • Offering legal advice for your specific situation
    • Assessing your case and determining the liable parties
    • Helping you receive the benefits you deserve 
    • Filing a lawsuit on your behalf
    • Gather the evidence required for proving your case
    • Assessing your damages
    • Fighting aggressively for your rights at a trial if necessary
  • Get Help and Advice Now 

    To have a chance of reaching the best possible outcome, veterans must file their complaints or lawsuits within the appropriate time frame. Deadlines for filing lawsuits vary from one state to another. Therefore, do not wait to seek help and contact us for advice as soon as possible. 

    Our experienced and committed attorneys have helped countless veterans get the settlement they deserve. Whether you have to take legal action to receive benefits or need to file a lawsuit against a discriminatory employer or landlord, we are here to help. We will answer your questions and address your concerns so you can make informed decisions. Get in touch now to find out how we can help.

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