Injuries in the corporate workplace are a major practice area for The Babcock Law Firm. While we don’t represent VA disability cases, a recent news item demonstrates that getting disability benefits isn’t always easier for soldiers injured on the job.
Just ask Sgt. 1st Class Scott Lathan of Colorado Springs who suffered debilitating injuries when his vehicle was blown up in Iraq two years ago. Medically retired in December 2007, he’s looking at another month or two until he can expect to receive a paycheck.
Already two months without any form of income, Lathan says his worries about finances add to the anxiety he suffers from his injuries.
It seems his paperwork was “misfiled”.
The transition into retirement due to injury is supposed to be seamless, but the Denver Post reports that’s not always the case. “Across the country, soldiers have reported they’ve spent months, even years, getting through the medical-disability processes in the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
In the case of medically retired soldiers, a level of retirement pay is decided according to the injury rating given by the Department of Defense. Lathan received a disability rating of 30 percent. Those whose injuries are rated less than 30 percent are not eligible for military retirement.
The VA is also examining the extent of Lathan’s injuries and may assign a different rating, as the two organizations use different criteria when determining disability.
In the world of workers’ compensation, settlements awarded to a victim of a workplace injury depend heavily on medical examinations and reporting of the on-the-job injury sustained. It’s important for an employee to document the accident and any related events, and it’s advised to contact a Colorado workers’ compensation lawyer right away.