If you're a veteran suffering from an injury or condition caused by military, getting a claim denial in the mail can be confusing, infuriating and ultimately depressing. You know that you're suffering and you know when the problem started, but for some reason the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) doesn't seem to agree. Don't worry, although there are a few disheartening scandals out there, the VA isn't out to block your compensation specifically. Take the time to understand what's needed for a successful claim and what your claim may be missing.
The VA Can't Approve You Based On Anyone's Word Alone
Even if you know that you've suffered because of the military, but the VA can't just go into your mind and see what you've seen. No matter how serious, upset or honest you are when discussing your problems, if there isn't evidence and supporting documents to back your claim, you don't have a strong claim.
Think about your injury or condition. Did you complain to medical? Did you visit a civilian hospital? If you were exposed to something that could have given you a condition such as cancer or sensory damage such as healing loss, do you have proof that you've been exposed to such dangers? Any of these situations can be used as long as you have documentation to back it up.
For physical injuries, it's as simple as pointing to your medical report and showing that you've been treated at some point. From there, you'll need to prove that it's still a problem by getting an up-to-date medical examination.
For conditions such as cancer, diseases or exposure to sensory damage that isn't visible to the naked eye, the situational evidence can be more difficult. You need to prove that you were exposed to a dangerous situation, which means either having proof that something happened in any official document (including news report from an unrelated, reputable journalist group) or being able to send an investigator to examine the issue.
Situational Documentation Can Make Or Break Your Claim
Agent Orange is a startling example of past exposure. You may not have had symptoms of exposure after leaving the military and may not have been to medical for anything outside of a cold or fractured limb, but a few years down the line there may be new problems that need to be traced back to your military career.
The controversy in Agent Orange exposure is noteworthy because of the covered and sometimes retracted information about the exposure. Some veterans were simply told that their cancer was unrelated to their military career (no service connection) and ineligible for compensation. Once the link was made, the companies responsible for supplying the material were made at fault, continuing a difficult legal battle.
Your case may not be as complex, but it's a good reason to hold onto your paperwork and record your memories. A nuclear technician onboard a nuclear ship may later develop cancer, but may not think about their career as a possible cause. People who work with explosive or, around heavy machinery or sirens may not notice their hearing problems until the military is a part of their past.
These links can be made even without physical evidence, but you'll need an attorney. Get in contact with a personal injury attorney, like Frank L. Slaughter Jr. PC, for help with researching similar cases, creating a claim appeal with language that ties together evidence and to get connected with medical professionals who understand claim system expectations.Share