How Will an Attorney Make Your VA Claim Successful?
Loopholes, logistics, and legal representation: Why it is critical for veterans to hire an attorney when filing claims
Some things seem as though they should be simple. In theory, that should include compensation for military members and veterans. However, it is not always that straightforward. After a veteran files a claim for service-connected compensation, such as a VA medical malpractice action, or an accident at a government facility, he or she must wait six months to get a decision from a VA Regional Office. If the claim is denied, it can take from six to 24 more months to receive an answer—and the process continues for those who are denied in subsequent steps. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for veterans to wait many years before they finally get awarded any compensation.
The laws that govern VA claims are very complex and they can change fairly often, adding uncertainty to a bureaucracy that is shifting under the feet of the veteran. Veterans are more likely to find success earlier in the process if they have an advocate who understands the laws and procedures.
The National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates has found that veterans who have attorneys to represent them have the lowest denial rate.
The denial rate for those veterans with representation is just under 18%, while the average denial is over 24%. Attorneys were also more likely to help their clients win an appeal when compared with those who did not have that legal assistance in filing an appeal.
An attorney is also better able to understand timelines that may be associated with a case, and attorneys have experience in obtaining evidence. These skills help veterans through the process so they can receive the rights they have earned, and to obtain compensation as early in the process as possible. Failure to understand a deadline could result in your claim being immediately dismissed.
Even veterans who have begun the procedure to claim their rightful service related compensation can engage an attorney after the process has begun. An attorney is able to analyze their client’s case up to that point, and then determine the best process to ensure the veteran receives all of the benefits they have earned. An attorney also will have the understanding or experience needed to ensure the right people view the necessary evidence needed to win the case.
The law ensures that veterans and their attorneys are allowed to present their case in a fair and reasonable manner. A veteran who has hired an attorney to represent him or her is guaranteed by the law to be treated in the same manner as a veteran who does not have any representation. Veterans and their attorneys are also able to offer written questions to physicians used by the VA to better understand information that is included in their findings and assessments.
It is intended, by the government, that the process should be fair to the veteran making the claim. This means that the VA must look at claims they receive with an open mind to ensure that veterans receive the most benefits that they have earned through their service. The best way to ensure that veterans receive the support and benefits they need is to use an experienced attorney to assist them in the process.
These descriptions are meant only to provide information about the experience of our attorneys. They are not intended as a guarantee that the same or similar results can be obtained in a matter undertaken by our attorney. You should not assume that a similar result can be obtained in a legal matter of interest to you. The outcome of a particular matter can depend on a variety of factors – including the specific factual and legal circumstances, the ability of opposing counsel, and, often, unexpected developments beyond the control of any client or attorney. Neither Rikard & Protopapas LLC, nor its attorneys can predict, warrant or guarantee that any of its clients will achieve the results for their case as shown in the summary of results set forth on this website or as achieved in prior, similar cases. No lawyer or law firm can predict, warrant or guarantee particular results for a client. Many factors affect the outcome of any case. Robert Rikard, Esq. 1329 Blanding Street Columbia, SC 29201