To better address the needs of veterans who have minor run-ins with the law, the City of Glendale plans to have a designated veterans’ court up and running by October 2021.
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers is a longtime veterans’ advocate. “This is something I think everybody knows I’ve been wanting to have for quite some time with the work that I do with veterans,” he remarked. His office predicts that a designated veterans’ court will reduce recidivism and connect Veterans with available resources. The court will handle mostly municipal law violations, such as ABC (Assault By Contact, or assault without injury) and public intoxication. Roughly 95% of the veterans charged with offenses like these have substance abuse problems.
The first Veterans’ Court appeared in Buffalo in 2008.
Brain Injuries and Self-Medication
According to some estimates, as many as 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers come home with brain injuries. That is not a fifth of the injured soldiers. (That number is an overwhelming half) That is a fifth of all returning veterans. The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force found that for years the Pentagon delayed screening for mild brain injury.
Many combat-related brain injuries are difficult to diagnose. Some of these victims do not experience the most obvious symptoms, like unconsciousness or vomiting. Furthermore, their service records might not include a trauma injury or other such trigger. Sometimes the cause is not obvious and wouldn’t be written down. Even noise can cause brain injury, if it is sudden and loud like an exploding IED. A service member could be a few blocks from a roadside bomb and still sustain a brain injury. They might not even know until they return.
Initial symptoms, like occasional headaches and trouble sleeping, eventually intensify into more serious symptoms, like chronic headaches and insomnia. When the symptoms reach this point, many victims self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Obviously, this self-medication approach only works for a very short while and soon causes more problems than it cures.
Brain injuries are degenerative. As symptoms intensify, veterans increase their self-medication, and the downward spiral continues. Since the brain often conceals its own injuries, many of these veterans have no idea that a brain injury is responsible for their addiction issues. Designated veteran courts, which are focused more on treatment than punishment, can offer these victims a lifeline. If a veteran is lucky with the right support system in their area, even being arrested for a minor offense could provide that lifeline.
Brain injury victims are usually entitled to maximum benefits, mostly because of the nature of these injuries. If the brain injury is not completely disabling from a medical perspective, it can still be completely disabling from a functional perspective. Therefore, Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability benefits are often available to a veteran who cannot work.
The financial benefits in a total disability claim usually average about $3,000 a month. The exact amount depends on the nature of the disability, the number of dependents in the household, and some other factors. There is almost always enough money to get a family into a good housing situation in a good neighborhood.
Perhaps more importantly, VA benefits usually include free VA medical care. As researchers learn more about combat-related brain injuries, treatments improve. So, if a Veteran could not get help before, effective assistance might be available now. For example, some PTSD Veterans respond very well to one-time MDMA (Extacy) treatments.
Contact Dedicated Attorneys
Veterans who struggle with brain injuries need not suffer in silence. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact the Cameron Firm, P.C. at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.