Gary Bruce discusses how being injured while an active duty Soldier can involve different laws and obligations that typically involved with civilians. Those on active duty are required to notify post officials, usually through the JAG office, when he or she has been injured and they have an obligation to work with the government to reimburse for the medical expenses if there is a recovery against a third party.
The lawyer should work with JAG to obtain records and billing claims and also reimburse the Government when there is a recovery. Lawyers are required to have an agreement with the government to represent the government’s interest, but the portion of recovery subject to reimbursement is not included in the client’s attorney’s fees. Issues arise when there are more medical bills or a claim that is worth more than the coverage available to recover. In that situation, sometimes an appeal can be made for reductions and an experienced lawyer who has dealt with the Government can assist with that proceeding. The bottom line is that everyone has to work together to make sure the claim is handled appropriately when dealing with a soldier or his family, and there are limits on what a lawyer can charge. If you suspect you are not getting the help you need from JAG, you need to talk with your lawyer.
If you are concerned that your lawyer has not recognized the reduction of fees required in this situation, you may need to talk to someone. Also, if you have been injured while on active duty and need assistance navigating reimbursement of the claims process, please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation.
Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues, this is Legal Break with attorney, Gary Bruce.
Maureen: Maureen Akers here today with Gary. Gary, thank you so much for joining us again.
Gary: Good to be here, thank you.
Maureen: We’re talking about topics that are in the news, and then also today we have one that’s coming from our viewer. It involves the military, we have a lot of military, as you know in our area, they’re active with their families, or retired. This one involves: what if your military, you’re active military, and you’ve been in an accident, are you required to notify somebody on post?
Gary: The short answer is yes, the longer answer is, and it’s an important, it’s important to know there is a distinction between active duty, retirees, and military dependents, and how you know kind of the rest of us deal with these things. I see it come up because people want to rush things too much. And when you are military, when you’re active-duty, you do have an obligation to work with the government to reimburse for any medical that you recover. So, if you recover medical bills under the case, then you have to deal with the Jag office in reimbursing that amount.
Maureen: Gotcha. So, that’s kind of interesting then, so it that affects, that can be, obviously as you mentioned being active duty can impact the case. What about dealing with your lawyer, and such as that, how does that all play into this?
Gary: Yeah, well we see it a good bit because there’s confusion for people who don’t deal with this very often. What is their lawyers role? How do you work with the government? We have to actually enter into an agreement with the government to represent their interests. And in doing so we have to collect this money for the government. But the good news is the client, the real injured party, doesn’t have to pay the lawyer for that. The government kind of makes us do that on the side. If there is more bills than there is coverage, that’s when we see their problems, and there are exceptions to these rules, there are ways around it, there are recognition by the government that someone isn’t made whole. That’s a topic we can talk about on another day, but I think the short answer is: yes you can coordinate with the Judge Advocate General’s Office, your lawyer needs to coordinate with the Judge Advocate General’s Office, and they will work in turn to provide information you may need to help advance your case too. So, it’s a working together situation.
Maureen: Well, what if I feel like I’m not getting the help I need from the Jag office? What do I do then?
Gary: Well, you need to talk to your lawyer then. Because the Jag office is there to serve, and they do a pretty good job, I really do think they do a good job in supplying us what we need, and we have a good relationship frankly with the office in getting the bills, and the information we need. You’ve got to work together. It’s about working together, and getting things done, and they are good about that.
Maureen: Very good. Thank you so much for joining us, Gary, and we look forward to seeing you on the very next Legal Break.