Tabak Law is doing great work assisting veterans. To help get the word out, eCourt Reporters donated court reporting services to transcribe the interview between John Mercure at WTMJ 620AM and Tabak Law’s Attorney Jim Brzezinski during the Sunday Sip.
JOHN MERCURE: I’m John Mercure, welcome to the Sunday Sip. Excited to be joined by my friend, Attorney Jim Brzezinski, he’s a partner at Tabak Law.
Jim, thank you so much for being with us.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Thanks for having me, John, I appreciate it.
JOHN MERCURE: First off, I want to thank you, you do so much good work for the men and women who serve and served in uniform. Thank you so much for what you do to watch out for them.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: I really appreciate that, John, and we love what we do. we love vets. We feel that they deserve to be treated fairly to get all of the benefits they’ve earned. But I do want to note, you know, what we do at Tabak Law really doesn’t hold a candle to what these men and women have done for the country. So I appreciate the thought, but the vets are the ones that deserve all the credit.
JOHN MERCURE: You know, Jim, a lot of them went off and served and got injured or they had things that happened to them and they come back and they maybe had a disability claim denied or they don’t even know how to go about seeing if they’re entitled to some sort of claim. That’s where you guys come in, and you make it really easy, because there’s a lot of men and women that just don’t know where to start, right?
JIM BRZEZINSKI: That’s right. Especially some of the older vets, when they came out of the military, they weren’t necessarily told about all of the different things available to them. The funny thing is, a lot our clients that are applying for the first time are actually Korean war vets or Vietnam war vets —
JOHN MERCURE: Wow.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: — who are just finding out about the benefits available to them, or the other thing is, maybe they thought they didn’t need them and now something in their life has changed and now they do need them.
The moral of the story though is, it’s never too late. You’ve earned these benefits if you’ve served, and we’re happy to help at any point in the process.
JOHN MERCURE: So if you were denied or feel that your disability claim has been incorrectly evaluated or you have a loved one who you think this happened to, go to tabakattorneys.com. Tabakattorneys.com. The phone number — we’ll give this out again — 414-351-4400.
Jim, Air Force medic and veteran Tom Drilias really kind of encapsulates what this is all about, and you guys really did a great job with Tom. Can you tell us about that briefly?
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, absolutely. It was a — it was a great case for a great guy. Tom had come into our office, he was fighting a claim for a few years. actually, he had applied for a claim for Crohn’s disease, and I think it was his second or third time trying to get this claim approved. So I took on the case and I agreed to help him. Well, in my investigation of the case, I found another claim that needed to be filed for him, and it was a claim related to Agent Orange. So what we did was we filed a new application for him and he ended up getting service connected for a heart condition, and they paid him all of the way back to, I believe, 2004 on that case, which —
JOHN MERCURE: Wow.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: — it was a huge win, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, a real hero: went, served, did his job, came back, lived a normal life, had many great jobs in the community here. And like I said, some vets, just at some point in their life decide they need to try these things again for one reason or another, and it worked out for him.
JOHN MERCURE: Jim Brzezinski is a partner at Tabak Law.
Jim, I guess one of the takeaways when I read about what you guys did for Tom is that sometimes someone may have a condition, they may have a health issue, and they also have service as part of their history, and if it’s unexplained, they can get in touch with you and you can actually help them explore whether or not they have a claim.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: That’s right. the unfortunate thing about the military and war is that you’re exposed to a lot of nasty things. Sometimes we don’t know how that’s going to affect you down the road. It can take decades to find out that some of these things that vets were exposed to on a daily basis, for example, Agent Orange, cause many severe life-threatening conditions. and, you know, the thing is is that the science isn’t always out in time for the actual diagnosis. So what I suggest — and the VA may not like this because they’re going to get a lot of claims — is if you’ve got an unexplained illness, you were in the military, it’s best to just file it. Get a claim in, because what happened in the case of Agent Orange was, years and years down the road, they found out these certain conditions were linked to Agent Orange. And what they were doing then is they were going back to the original first date that you ever made a claim for that condition as your effective date. So if you wait until the science comes out and you first file your claim, you may have lost decades, potentially, of potential backpay that’s available.
JOHN MERCURE: It’s tabakattorneys.com, 414-351-4400.
And you have so many tools that you use to help veterans and their families including a series of books that you’re giving out to veterans or their loved ones about PTSD, how it impacts military families. Tell us really briefly about the books.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: There has been recently on Facebook these posts about these books going around. They’re called, “Why is Mom so Mad?” or, “Why is Dad so Mad?” and what they are is they’re children’s books meant to explain PTSD to children from the viewpoint of the adult. And at Tabak Law, we want our veterans’ lives to be more than just a benefit check. We want the benefits, but we want them to take their benefits and live a good life. And this is just an example of something that — it’s small, but it could really make a difference in a child understanding what’s going on with their parent.
JOHN MERCURE: The books are fantastic. Tabak Law would like you to have a copy of this book if it can help somebody in your life. They can help you if you were denied or feel that your disability claim has been incorrectly evaluated. They care about the veterans in their community and our community. I see this firsthand all the time at Tabak Law. For more information, go to tabakattorneys.com, T-A-B-A-K, or call 414-351-4400. They really do fight for those who fought for us.
Jim Brzezinski at Tabak Law, thank you so much for being with us on the Sunday Sip.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Thank you, John. And I just want to say thanks to all of the veterans who have served our country.