Making it through the Veterans Affairs (VA) claims system is no small task. The easiest way to receive approval is to suffer an injury or condition so severe and obvious that you've been medically discharged. If you've left the military with an other-than-dishonorable discharge and have some aches, pains or conditions that are causing problems in your life, the VA is ready to help--as long as you have sufficient evidence to prove the condition. A few key points can help you understand what the VA is looking for and how to get help if necessary.
Why Aren't Legitimate Claims Approved Immediately?
The VA compensates veterans who suffer from conditions caused by military service or made worse due to military service. These conditions are called service-connected conditions and must be tested via medical examination and official documentation in order to be accepted.
To prevent fraudulent claims from taking funds out of a pool of resources needed by veterans in legitimate need, the VA performs a strict review of claims for validity. This means that even if your condition is legitimate, you'll need as much supporting evidence as possible to meet the claim system expectations.
At the most basic level, you'll need proof that the problem existed during military service. For issues caused by military service, there should be an incident report or medical report detailing the injury or event that caused the injury (in case no medical follow-up occurred).
Pre-existing conditions can be compensated if they were made considerably worse or discovered to be more complex during service, such as a pollen sufferer from the humid, rural south discovering a violent allergy to desert fungus and debris. If in doubt about your injury's severity or relationship to military status, file the claim with truthful information and allow the claims system to say no. A simple claim is not such a waste of resources when compared to a fake injury that receives fraudulent benefits.
Legal Assistance May Be Necessary
If you're missing paperwork that could prove the age of your condition in relation to military service, there's a lot of research ahead of you. You'll need to find a lot of circumstantial evidence to prove that you were in an area where you received harm.
Your condition may fall under a category called presumptive conditions, known simply as presumptives in the VA system (explained further in this PDF document from the VA). A presumptive condition is a condition that affects veterans due to a particular campaign, chemical exposure or other reality of combat. If you're missing medical information, but have symptoms of a presumptive condition and can prove that your military service matches the presumptive list, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
A lawyer's skills can be used to search for information in areas that you may not know about or have access to, such as obscure record keeping locations or through interviews with relevant officials. Personal injury claims can be enhanced with a lawyer's network of skilled, attentive medical professionals who know what to look for when it comes to a claim examination.
Contact a personal injury legal professional like those at The Law Offices of Muro & Muro to get assistance with your VA injury claim.