Military Veterans' Lawyer Blog

Adult female healthcare professional dressed in her scrubs receiMission focus is why we justly admire our active-duty and Veteran military personnel. Unfortunately for our service members and Veterans, “Playing with pain” often evolves from a mantra to a way of life.  This means that injuries and ailments are pushed aside and visiting the doctor is even viewed as a deplorable sign of weakness.

Even the most fit person should take preventive health measures.  And there is one simple step all active-duty military personnel should take before leaving service. Failure to take this step can have traumatic results for you and your family.  To protect yourself and your loved ones, before leaving service, all active-duty military personnel should make it their mission to take this one crucial step, preferably in the year before they separate.  Here’s the step: get a pre-discharge physical. Continue reading

RBGThe National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) has designated Bob Goss (pictured at right) as an NITA “Master Advocate.”  The Master Advocate award represents serious commitment to trial advocacy and requires completion of at least five intensive NITA trial-advocacy programs.

Why You Need a Trial Advocate

NTA c0b5719c-cd0a-4395-a93b-1b04c60f4d81As a landlord or a tenant, you want an advocate who understands your rights.  As a consumer in Texas, you want justice if you’ve been the subject of a deceptive trade practice.  No matter what your legal issue, you want an advocate who will represent you zealously.  You need an advocate who is both your counselor and your ally. Experience is important, of course.  But also look for indications that your trial advocate keeps up with the latest advances in the law, art, and science of trial advocacy.  Intensive training, such as that leading to NITA’s “Master Advocate” award, is one indicator that your advocate has the latest skills necessary to represent you when it matters most. Continue reading

Kenmore_Washing_Machine_and_DryerThe time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a great opportunity to assess stuff.  Particularly stuff that is cluttering your apartment or house.  If you are considering storing your belongings, you are in good company!  Self-storage facilities in the United States are so popular they have their own national association.  According to the Self Storage Association (SSA), this industry generated $27.2 billion in annual U.S. revenues, in 2014 alone.  SSA asserts that the self-storage industry has been the fastest-growing segment of the commercial real-estate industry over the last 40 years.

Texas, of course, has its own self-storage organization, the Texas Self Storage Association (TSSA). Some sources identify Houston and Austin as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the “Top 10” U.S. cities for self-storage, with San Antonio not far behind.

Continue reading

RBGWe at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. are delighted to announce that our principal and founder, Bob Goss, has been recognized by Avvo, the well-known attorney rating and review site, with Avvo’s “Clients’ Choice 2015.”

Avvo’s attorney rating system identifies rankings of 10.0 – 9.0 as “Superb.” Based on Avvo’s mathematical model, which includes input from hundreds of attorneys, thousands of consumers, and legal professionals who understand the work attorneys perform, Bob received a perfect Avvo “10.0” score.

This is the second year in a row that Bob (pictured at right) has been recognized by Avvo as a “Clients’ Choice” attorney. Continue reading

RubensSmallK-Graves4Then-Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Eric Shinseki, resigned in May 2014 after a shocking season of revelations regarding Veteran deaths at the hands of VA.  On October 16, 2015, VA Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey  resigned in the wake of a pay fraud scandal involving senior bureaucrats Diana Rubens (pictured left) and Kim Graves (pictured right).  Rubens and Graves – ironically – were put in place by Hickey in 2014 to clean up following the international news coverage of Veteran deaths and VA’s back-log of benefits claims.  World-wide exposure of VA’s actions highlighted the shameful treatment U.S. Veterans suffer at the hands of the very agency that supposedly is dedicated to Veterans’ well-being. Continue reading

Josiah_Webster_Civil_War_Discharge_Certificate_February,_1863_-_NARA_-_192986When you are released from your obligation to serve, you are “discharged.”  If you received an “Honorable” discharge, it’s unlikely there’s any need to request a subsequent upgrade.  However, other types of discharge categories can have a serious, permanent affect on qualifying for Veterans benefits, including those issued by Texas as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans benefits are important, not only to you but to your family.  If you currently do not qualify for Veterans benefits because of the nature of your military discharge, now is the time to consider pursuing a request to upgrade.  But, be careful.  You generally have one opportunity for a successful request – so make sure you do everything possible to get it right. Continue reading

17068-a-woman-and-older-man-sitting-at-a-table-pvThis may sound like the start of a bad joke because it is so difficult to receive any type of benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  However, Veterans and family members do receive collection letters from VA.  This VA debt-collection correspondence is issued by VA’s Debt Management Center, or DMC.

The DMC has recently become quite aggressive about identifying and collecting on debt – even if it’s not really debt.  DMC’s new “activism” is primarily a result of unfair atmospheric concerns that Veterans and their families are gaming VA’s benefits system to obtain an undeserved free ride.

I just received a letter which appears to be from VA’s Debt Management Center (DMC)?  What do I do? Continue reading

The 2010 Census offers unique insight to U.S. Veterans.  Over 835,000 Americans are Veterans who served during both Gulf War eras.  Almost 50,000 more American Veterans served in Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras.  This means the United States has almost 1 million Veterans potentially suffering from serious service-connected injuries.

If you are a Gulf War-era Veteran, how can you recognize a service-connected medical condition?  Among the most common types of service-connected health problems now suffered by Gulf War-era Veterans are: Continue reading

RBGWe at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. are delighted to announce that our principal and founder, Bob Goss, is being honored this month in the December 2015 edition of Houstonia Magazine as one of Houstonia’sTop Lawyers of 2015.”

Houstonia Magainze partners with Avvo, the well-known attorney rating and review site, to identify lawyers who merit inclusion in the Houstonia “Top Lawyers” list.  Avvo uses a proprietary algorithm which factors in professionalism variables such as peer endorsement, attorney experience, education, training, public speaking, publishing, and awards.  Reader nominations and Houstonia Magazine’s own editorial review of nominee’s accomplishments are important additional considerations. Continue reading

17330-a-doctor-and-couple-viewing-an-x-ray-pvWhat Are Lay or Buddy Statements?

“Lay” or “buddy” statements are:

  1. Oral statements made by the Veteran, family members, friends, neighbors, or service buddies during a hearing; OR
  2. Any written declaration or written statement made by the same (Veteran, family members, etc.), regarding the Veteran’s disability.

Why Are Lay or Buddy Statements So Important?

As the names suggest, “lay” or “buddy” statements are statements made by people who know the Veteran but who aren’t qualified to make a medical diagnosis or prove medical facts. Continue reading

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