Recently, the Freedman firm obtained $150,000 in back benefits and a more accurate disability rating for U.S. Navy Veteran, Paul Petti. Prior to engaging an attorney with expertise in Veterans Disability law, Petti was rated 50 percent disabled due to the PTSD resulting from service during the Vietnam War. However, he was unable to maintain employment or to live on his disability check.
“This case is an example of the complexity of overlapping medical and psychiatric conditions and demonstrates why these cases should be handled by expert lawyers,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC.
When Petti was in Vietnam he was exposed to Agent Orange. After returning home, he developed type 2 diabetes, which the VA acknowledges is one of the conditions arising from exposure to Agent Orange. But as a further complication, Petti developed schizophrenia, which prohibited him from working.
“Although the VA psychologist agreed Mr. Petti could not work, the VA wanted to pin his inability to work on the schizophrenia, which they claimed was non-service related,” Freedman said. “Our goal was to prove that the schizophrenia resulted from the diabetes and was service-related.”
Eric Gang, the attorney handling the case, hired a medical expert who testified the issues in the case were medical in nature, not psychological. The medical expert gave evidence that when insulin levels in the body become irregular, schizophrenia-type symptoms evolve. Additionally, dopamine supplies to the brain are affected.
Under appeal, Petti’s rating was increased to 70 percent disability and Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) status was granted. If you, or a Veteran you know, cannot work due to physical and/or mental disabilities related to in-service injuries, contact the Freedman firm at 1-800-343-8537.