A Winning Medical Report In A VA Appeal ~ What’s Needed
As a Veteran appealing an unfavorable disability claim decision from the VA, you have several impediments to overcome. After you have established that you have a CURRENT disability, you next have to prove that it is service-connected. In most instances, you are going to need medical evidence to accomplish this.
If you are using a private doctor (as I often recommend), the physician will need to write a report that the VA or the Veteran Law Judge at the Board of Veteran Appeals finds CREDIBLE. And, to be credible, the report must (at minimum) contain the following:
A statement that says that the doctor finds that it is “as likely as not” that the specific disability is service-connected. This “as likely as not” standard is your MINIMUM burden of proof in the claim. If your doctor says “more likely than not” or “reasonably, medically probable,” these are fine. Actually, they are stronger, though not absolutely required. Some doctors may prefer to say “at least as likely as not” (slightly stronger than the minimum threshold) which is also fine.
A statement that says the doctor has “reviewed your entire C-File.”
The report must contain the doctor’s explanation for the conclusions that have been reached in the report. In other words, the doctor must justify his/her opinions. This tells the VA the “how” and the “why” of the physician’s opinions in your case. If you also have Lay Witness or Buddy Statements which attest to a pattern of continuous symptoms since the time in service, these boost the doctor’s opinion that the condition is indeed service-connected.
The report must REBUT contrary opinions in the C-File. The doctor reporting on your behalf must review the C & P Exam reports and tell the VA and/or the Veteran Law Judge how and why they disagree with those opinions. Your doctor must show why his/her reasoning is better than that provided by the C & P examiners. Sometimes one medical opinion is deemed superior to another because of the expert’s superior qualifications, background, special training, or clinical experience. Other times, the C & P doctor may have made a diagnosis that is unsupported by the facts in your case or in currently-accepted medical literature.
The doctor’s CV (curriculum vitae/resume) should be attached to the report. Frequently, the C & P examiner will not attach his/her CV to the report disputing your condition as being a Service-Connected Current Disability. Or that, while it is service-connected, there is little or no measurable percentage of disability.
The Bottom Line: This is but one of the reasons why you need the guidance of an Accredited Attorney who specializes in Veterans Disability claim cases. There is much more to it. And, your case is. . .yours. It’s unique. My staff and I are at your disposal. Contact us for a free case evaluation.