Posted on: 6 August 2015Share
It isn't uncommon for veterans to encounter a confusing request for more information or a frustrating denial after filing an injury claim. The system isn't exactly up front about the specific needs, and it often takes a denial or multiple visits to understand exactly what Veterans Affairs (VA) claims officials want for a successful claim. If you're not getting the information you need or feel confused about the process, keep a few concepts of the VA system in mind.
Service-Connection Proof Can Make Or Break A Claim
In order for your claim to be approved by the VA, your injury or condition needs to be service-connected. A service-connected condition is any condition that was caused during your time in the military or made worse after entering the military. If the condition started before or after military service and can't be accurately linked to your military service, you can't receive compensation.
For many claims, this comes down to having accurate proof. If you have back pain because of being injured in the military, you'll need to have an official medical report showing how you were injured and a detailed examination. If you're claiming Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, you'll need to either have psychiatric evaluation during the military, immediately after discharge or official documentation of a traumatic series of events (if the events caused your condition).
Proof can be subjective, which is why many veterans run into difficulty when pushing their claim. The back pain report could be basic to the point of lacking proof. A report stating "Service member complains of back pain. Gave pain medication." may not be enough, since it's possible to fake a problem during military service in hopes of getting compensation. An x-ray of back damage or an official report of an event that injured you may be more likely to succeed.
Weak documentation may not be your fault. Although many medical professionals in the military are skilled and attentive, there's always the chance that your report was filed by a new medical corps trainee or by a person who simply didn't care. You could have received proper documentation, but due to your base's organizational methods, your paperwork could have been lost before giving you the chance to make copies.
If you lack evidence, you need to work quickly to build new evidence that can link to old events.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Research Old Information
With no sources of old information at your disposal, your first concern should be receiving new medical care. The VA provides medical examinations as part of its Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination, which can be a good start.
You can receive new C&P examinations even if your claim is denied if you bring up different issues or disagree with the results. If you didn't do it the first time, complain about every single issue you have, even if it isn't part of your original disability claim.
The VA exists to help veterans, and claims officials can approve or deny compensation for conditions that are fixed or not relevant. The medical care is your part of your privilege as a veteran, and it's best to get the care you need while working on important paperwork to save time.
Long wait times means that your appointment could be delayed, so contact a personal injury attorney (such as one from Tracy & Stilwell PC Attorneys At Law) as you wait. With an attorney's help, you can be connected with civilian medical professionals who can look deeper at the conditions you're complaining about while delivering detailed information. Both VA and civilian examinations can be used to piece together a new medical report while keeping you healthy during the process.
The attorney can research your past to get more information on what could have caused your condition and develop linking information that connects your current problems to past events. Contact a personal injury attorney to begin planning a claim with a better chance at success.