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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD | Disability Claims Attorney at Law

PTSD occurs after someone has been through or witnessed a dangerous or fearful event. The fear felt during danger is natural, but when someone has PTSD, that reaction is changed and the person continues to feel stress, anxiety, or fear long after the actual danger is over. PTSD symptoms can begin appearing soon after the traumatic event, or they can appear years after the event. In either case, the effects of even mild PTSD symptoms can be severe, both on the veteran and the people close to him or her.

 

PTSD can manifest a variety of symptoms, any of which have the potential to cause the veteran to be totally socially and occupationally impaired. Some of the more common symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the event, feeling numb, feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry, losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy, being easily startled, being hyper-vigilant, having difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or on edge, or having angry outbursts.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PTSD?

If you suspect you have PTSD you may qualify for disability compensation benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is considered a type of anxiety condition and there are several different symptoms someone with the condition may experience. Here are some of the signs of PTSD:

  • Physical ailments – physical pain such as migraines, dizziness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, digestive issues, and fatigue are common symptoms of PTSD.
  • Flashbacks and/or nightmares – you may re-experience the traumatic event with images or sensations of physical and emotional pain and fear. 
  • Irritability/anger – you may get overly angry and fly off the handle in situations that don’t warrant it, such as with road rage or during interactions with family and co-workers. 
  • Depression or anxiety – you may suffer from persistent and irrational fear, or you may want to avoid certain situations and objects that cause anxiety. 
  • Hyperarousal – you become too nervous and jittery to relax because you feel threatened. 
  • Withdrawal – you may lose interest in hobbies and activities and withdraw socially and no longer enjoy spending time around others. Some start partaking of risky behavior, such as thrill-seeking or alcohol abuse.
  • Avoidance – avoiding any mental or physical stimuli that remind you of your traumatic experiences. 
  • Repression – you intentionally block memories that are associated with the experience or past event. 
  • Emotional numbing – you try to numb your feelings, which leads to isolation and withdrawal, so you don’t feel pain. 

CAN I GET VA DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR PTSD?

If you have symptoms of PTSD, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). To qualify, you must have a confirmed diagnosis of PTSD and have symptoms related to a traumatic event during your military service. A VA provider will examine you to determine whether your alleged traumatic stressor encountered during your military service was enough to cause your PTSD. 

VA disability claims and appeals can be challenging, so you should try to enlist the help of a VA disability attorney. The VA will assign you a disability rating dependent on your symptoms. As an example, if medication effectively controls your PTSD symptoms, you might have a rating as low as 10 percent, but if your symptoms aren’t as well controlled, your rating may be higher, up to 100 percent.

ELEMENTS OF SERVICE CONNECTION

  1. A current diagnosis of PTSD
  2. A nexus, established by medical evidence, between the current diagnosis and an in-service stressor
  3. Credible evidence that the stressor occurred

RELAXED PTSD STRESSOR STANDARD

In 2010, VA relaxed the rules regarding verification of claimed stressors. Now, if a stressor claimed by a veteran is related to the veteran’s fear of hostile military or terrorist activity, and the claimed stressor is sufficient to support a diagnosis of PTSD, the veteran’s lay testimony alone may established the occurrence of the claimed stressor. VA defines “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity” to mean that a veteran experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or injury to the veteran or another person.

The relaxed standard applies to any veteran from any era, and is intended to facilitate the timely processing of PTSD claims by removing the oftentimes impossible task of verifying a stressor via DoD records.


HOW I CAN HELP

The VA process for evaluating PTSD or other mental disorders is wholly inadequate with VA C&P examinations often lasting less than 30 minutes. Because it’s impossible to truly evaluate how PTSD impacts all areas of a veteran’s life in such a short appointment, it’s often necessary to obtain an independent medical exam from a private psychologist.

MY FEE

I work on a contingency fee basis which means you pay no up-front fees for my representation. You only pay my fee if I successfully resolve your appeal. My fee is a reasonable percentage of your backpay award, and does not impact your future benefits.

In addition, I advance all costs of your appeal including the cost of obtaining independent medical examinations (when appropriate). You are only responsible for repayment of expenses upon successful resolution of your appeal, or if you terminate my representation before final conclusion of your appeal.

WHY ME

I handle every aspect of your case from initial intake to resolution, and as a disabled veteran myself, I understand what you are going through. I don’t use support staff, so you are always dealing with me and I pride myself on responding to my clients in a timely manner.

 

Summary
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I'm a Vietnam vet (1968-69). Like so many from that time, I tried to forget and move on. I told no one of my service experience and did not seek the help of anyone until 1998 when suddenly I became quickly and totally disabled. Four surgeries followed, replacing both hips and both knees. I began seeing a PTSD counselor at the VA. I tried in vain to file for a service-connected until 2013. I was ready to give up when another counselor I was seeing suggested I should see a lawyer. I thought it impossible to go up against a system as big as the U.S. government but I went ahead and looked for an attorney who would take my case. I found Attorney Rada on the Internet and our first phone conversation lasted over an hour. From that first phone conversation until my recent award of a service-connected disability, two years later, Attorney Rada always made me feel like I was his only client. His experience with negotiating the huge VA machine is, in my opinion, unparalleled. Were it not for Attorney Rada, I would have spent my last years suffering silently. Because of Attorney Rada, the government has now recognized my service to my country. That, more than anything else, will let me rest in peace. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Attorney Rada.
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