Representing Injured Persons For Disability Benefits
At the Soloway Law Firm, we’ve represented individuals who suffer injury or illness leading to partial or total disability for over 30 years. Sometimes these persons are injured in automobile accidents, slip and falls, or other incidents caused by the fault of someone else. Other times, the person gets sick or suffers from illness without anyone else involved, such as persons who receive a diagnosis of heart disease or cancer. And finally, certain persons get injured while at their place of employment, becoming disabled to some degree over a period of time after receiving medical care beginning on their date of injury and continuing for many years. Because their disability arose from their job, it matters not whether their injury was caused by their employer or a co-worker, or even if they caused their own injury to some degree. The only mandatory factor entitling the person to compensation and medical care is that the injury or illness occurred within the “course and scope” of their employment. This is because workers’ compensation is a “No-Fault” law, providing benefits to the injured worker without regard to fault.compensation.
Our firm takes pride in being a “one-stop shop” with regard to disability claims. This means that while some law firms only handle auto accidents or workers’ compensation claims for injured persons, we do it all. If the person is involved in an accident at work or elsewhere, and the injury leads to disability from employment, often the client must find a different lawyer to handle their claims for “disability” benefits. But at the Soloway Law Firm, our clients don’t have to go elsewhere. If their auto accident or work injury causes them to become unable to work, we also handle our client’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. If they are lucky enough to have disability coverage from work or elsewhere for Short Term and Long Term Disability through a private insurance company (like Aetna, Cigna, Unum, Hartford, etc.), we handle these claims in both State and Federal Courts. Other disability claims may exist through the State of Florida for governmental workers, while still others have similar coverage through the Federal Government. We even handle Veteran’s Administration (VA) disability claims, for injuries and illness arising from military service.compensation.
As you can imagine, our clients are very happy to have all their claims “under one roof” instead of having to deal with two or more law firms that have no clue what is being done by the other lawyers. We had one client who we were representing on his VA claim for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) that arose from his hand-to-hand combat fighting in Iraq during his military service in the United States Marine Corps. After his discharge from the Marines, he got a job as an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) technician. He suffered severe neck and back injuries in an automobile accident while he was driving an ambulance, when another person texting while driving cut him off and crashed into his vehicle. When he and his wife came into our office, they brought with them a pile of unpaid medical bills, along with a letter he had received that terminated his employment as an EMS worker. As their children sat in our waiting room, we discussed all their legal claims for injury and disability benefits – six new claims in all, in addition to the VA disability claim we were already handling!
First, they had an automobile accident claim for injuries caused by the negligent driver. Second, they had a claim against their own automobile insurer, for refusing to pay their own medical bills arising from the accident. While the carrier (State Farm) was correct that the workers’ compensation insurer had responsibility to pay these bills as well (the accident did occur “in the course and scope of his employment”), it was critical that State Farm pay these bills so that any settlement he won against the other driver would not be reduced by our client’s obligation to pay back the workers’ compensation carrier. Thus, this second legal claim was critical to maximize our client’s recovery from his first legal claim, which did not carry a responsibility to pay State Farm back for the bills it paid, compared to the right of reimbursement held by the workers’ compensation carrier. Our job was not merely to win both his auto accident claim as well as his workers’ compensation claim, but to also put as much money in his pocket from each such claim.
Third, our clients had a claim under the law of Federal Workers’ Compensation. The reason for this was because his ambulance work, and this car accident, occurred in Afghanistan. This was because his employer was a defense contractor doing business with the U.S. Government, and his job as an EMS technician was to drive his ambulance to accident scenes and pick up injured military and non-military personnel and transport them to the on-base hospital for traumatic care. Thus, his accident-related injuries were covered by a law called the Defense Base Act, so we filed his claims for lost wages, lost earning capacity, and medical care for his neck and back injuries.
Fourth and fifth, our clients had claims for short term and long term disability, because his employer had provided these benefits along with health insurance as fringe benefits of employment in addition to his salary. The STD claim arose under the law of Florida because it was to be paid by his employer. The LTD claim arose under a Federal law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and had to be filed in Federal Court in Pensacola.
Sixth, our client had a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), because he had paid taxes out of his income for all the years he had been employed ever since his Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps. While this had been the only claim out of the 6 injury and disability claims arising out of his automobile accident that our clients were aware of and had filed before they came into our office, the SSA had denied this claim almost immediately, as it does almost 90% of the time for claimants under 60 years of age like our client. We filed his appeal over the Internet, the day he came into our office.
Can you imagine if our client had to find 6 different law firms to handle each of his 6 injury and disability claims? This is exactly what could have happened, if these clients did not choose the Soloway Law Firm to handle their auto accident claim. For instance, very few law firms in Pensacola handle both car accidents and social security claims. Even fewer law firms in this city handle car accidents, social security and STD and LTD claims. No other law firms in Pensacola handle auto accidents, together with social security claims, STD and LTD claims and Federal Workers’ Compensation claims. And to our knowledge, no other law firm in the entire State of Florida handles all 7 claims that our clients had a legal right to bring in State and Federal Court – car accidents and other personal injury claims, social security disability insurance claims, STD and LTD and automobile insurance claims, Federal Workers’ Compensation claims and VA disability claims. Only the Soloway Law Firm handles every one of these claims! That is why we are known as the only law firm that can handle all of a person’s injury and disability claims under one roof.
We take tremendous pride in representing our clients on each and every injury and disability claim they have. Sometimes our clients call us because they think they need an attorney to handle the only claim they are aware of, such as an auto accident, slip and fall, workers’ compensation or social security claim. Once they come into our office and we discuss the case the client called us about, we explain to them that their one case intersects with many other claims or cases they also have but were never aware of. We tell our clients that their situation is much like the Olympic Rings – 5 different colored rings, intersecting with one another so that each ring connects to another ring and no single ring stands alone without touching anything else.
If a law firm does not practice or have expertise in each and every claim a client has, then the client must locate other law firms willing to handle their other claims. Often, this is an impossible task. Even if the client is lucky enough to find one other law firm that practices law in the area they are looking for, these firms are often located outside the State of Florida. And even if they are lucky enough to find every law firm they need, what is the chance that these firms will all work together so that where their claims overlap, one law firm’s strategy or action compliments (rather than hurts or destroys) the claims being handled by the other law firms?
At the Soloway Law Firm, we handle all our clients’ injury and disability cases because this is the only way we know of to ensure that our client wins each and every claim. This in turn results in our clients recovering the maximum benefits from each such injury and disability claim. In our view, it’s not good enough to win only one case, when our client has two, three or even four cases that overlap each other. Like in wartime, winning one or two battles is not enough to win the war that involves three, four or even five battles. We cannot agree to win only one battle but lose the war. So we fight all the battles that our clients entrust to us, including those they were not even aware of. Then, and only then, do we win the larger fight that our clients are involved in, which is usually the fight to return to good health and to make sure that all medical bills are paid, and all lost wages are recovered, so that the family is put back to where it was before the accident occurred. This is what distinguishes our law firm from every other law firm in not only Northwest Florida, but from every law firm in the entire State of Florida and likely the Southeast United States. We fight each war ethically and honorably, and by virtue of our expertise in each and every area of law making up the battles our clients must fight and win, we believe our law firm is the most qualified to represent each and every person who telephones us to ask, “Can you handle not only my accident case, but any other cases I might have because of my injury?” The answer we are usually able to give, is a resounding “YES”!