The Veterans Affairs (VA) injury claim and compensation system can be difficult to navigate because of the many rules, exceptions and processes involved. If you're suffering from new complications from an old injury or want to appeal a previous VA decision, consider a few ways that a personal injury attorney could help you reach a compensation claim victory.
Requirements For Compensation
The VA compensation and pension (C&P) system is designed to assist veterans with service-connected disabilities.
In order to be considered service-connected, the injury must have been caused by or related to events that happened during military service. Said service can be either active duty or reserve military service, but your injuries must have been related to your time in the service. Even a day after leaving the military could disqualify you for VA compensation, although other programs such as Social Security disability or civil court lawsuits exist to help you.
To prove connection, you'll need documentation about your injuries. Simply saying that you were injured during war isn't enough; there needs to at least be written evidence that you were in a specific area that matches your claim. For events that aren't related to normal work hazards such as car accidents, sexual assault or civilian area incidents, you'll need a report of some sort to document your involvement.
With events that aren't part of a bigger military operation, it becomes more difficult to prove your case without documentation. If you're missing documentation, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney's skills can help you by tracking down relevant information from surrounding neighborhoods, official statements that may not have been from the military or even news reports that could link you to the event leading to injury.
Adding Additional Injuries To An Existing Claim
A broken leg--even after healed--can lead to weakness and future accidents. Injuries can get worse by spreading to other areas that may seem unrelated, such as nosebleeds and crippling headaches that manifest years after being involved in a fall or similar accident. If you're suddenly experiencing new problems and feel that they're related to military service, an attorney can help.
The VA may be able to compensate you through their own system. There is a compensation and pension exam that assess your physical and mental (depending on the injury claimed) condition with a possibly excellent pool of medical professionals. If the VA doesn't find anything, it isn't the end; get a personal injury attorney and civilian medical team to help.
By getting a second opinion and applying legal pressure, you can escalate your injury appeal or additional information if the VA simply doesn't see the connection. It won't be easy, as it's also the VA's job to make sure that false claims from less honorable veterans are denied. If your injury is true and related to service, an attorney can help you through the confusing filter of truth.
Contact a personal injury attorney at Burke Schultz Harman & Jenkinson Attorneys at Law to begin planning your VA appeal.