Hiring a veteran disability attorney increases your chances of winning. According to the VA’s most recent statistics, using a lawyer will increase your chances of winning an appeal more than using a service organization representative like Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or not using an advocate in your case at all. (Board of Veterans' Appeals Report of the Chairman Fiscal Year 2013.)
We Know the Law. The laws and regulations that govern the VA are over 2,000 pages long. This doesn't even include the court case decisions and various other additional rules. We are well versed in these laws and through continuing education stay current on constant changes in the law.
We write original and claim-specific legal briefs with legal arguments on why you should win.
We gather the evidence.
As recently as 2012, the VA's Inspector General, the auditing arm of the VA, reported that in the Cleveland VA Regional Office alone 26% of veterans disability claims were inaccurately processed. That's 1 in 4 that were incorrectly decided.
Yes, according to the most recent report from the VA's Board of Veterans' Appeals, using a lawyer increases the chance of winning an appeal more than using Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or other service organization representative, or not using any advocate at all. (Board of Veterans' Appeals Report of the Chairman Fiscal Year 2013). (Note: this is not a guarantee of success, every claim is different and results vary.)
Many cases are denied because claimants don't know the legal standards or the evidence needed to win. This can cause ongoing delays in obtaining and sending in information. An experienced VA disability lawyer cannot speed up the appeal process itself but can help prevent unnecessary delay by doing a number of things including sending in documents to the right people at the right time, responding quickly to requests for information, and gathering information as quickly as possible. If very extreme cases of inaction by the VA a lawyer can file a Petition with the Court of Veterans Appeals to request action by the Court.
NO! The VA's own Director of Compensation and Pension recently stated that hiring a lawyer helps cases move quicker. A veterans disability lawyer knows how and where to obtain the evidence needed and has an organized system of doing it. Additionally, a lawyer's legal training helps them spot weak issues that are slowing down cases.
First, and most importantly, if a veteran withdraws the appeal and re-files a new claim they may lose significant back pay because they may lose the right to have the effective date of any subsequent win go back to the date the earlier claim was filed. Instead, the effective date would be the date of the most recent claim. Second, if a veteran files a new claim the evidentiary burden on the veteran increases requiring them to present new and material evidence and cannot rely on the evidence in the earlier claim/appeal.
NO! As most veterans are aware, the VA has created and absurdly long appeal system and has made it worse by allowing a backlog of claims of nearly 1 million. The only group motivated to slow down the case is the VA since it can delay the payment of money. Moreover, lawyers have ethical rules prohibiting this conduct and are monitored by the VA and bar associations to prevent it.
No. Veterans disability attorneys are on the same playing field and have equal access to the information under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.
No. However, the veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have been filing more and more claims as expected and this is causing an increase in the backlog of claims and appeals.
We regularly stay in touch with clients and return all calls within 24 hours if possible.
The first step towards adjusting to life after a wartime injury is to contact a skilled veterans disability attorney.