Exploring Social Security Cases and Outcomes

Veterans, Are Your Injuries Being Ignored?

by Marie Caldwell

Not all military-related injuries are compensated properly. Many conditions go unnoticed until after leaving the military, or they may develop from smaller problems that didn't become major issues until after military service. In a few cases, your legitimate and obvious condition may not have been acted upon due to rushed processing as you left the military. To figure out if your condition is related to the military and is therefore eligible for compensation, take a look at a few Veterans Affairs (VA) disability policy points and scenarios.

Service Connection Is The Main Challenge

VA disability is limited to veterans with conditions related to military service. These conditions are called service-connected conditions and result in a combination of medical assistance and monetary compensation when a rating is successful.

Veterans have two big challenges when it comes to getting a disability rating: proving that the disability exists, and proving that it's related to military service. The first part is true for all disability systems, but veterans have to go an extra step to show that something during military service caused the problem. 

First, understand what conditions are considered to be service-connected. If you were in the military as active duty or reserve when you were injured, it counts. It doesn't matter if you were on leave, absent without leave (AWOL), in a combat zone, in a peace zone, at a workstation, or off duty. Active duty and reserve service (as well as some exceptions on a case-by-case basis) are the parts that matter.

Second, you need to have proof. This means you have documentation that something happened to you in an official format, such as your medical record or service record. Other forms of documentation such as civilian medical records or government incident reports that were created during your military service can also be considered.

If you don't have any proof, investigation is your only path. You'll need to either gather evidence from specific incidents or show how your injury could have only been caused by military service, and unless you have years of professional investigative training, you'll want a lawyer on your side.

Injury Lawyers Can Find The Connections

In many cases, linking your injury to evidence means interviewing previous chains of command and military officials who oversaw records near the place of your injury.

There are a lot of offices on military bases, and if you're in pain or suffering financially because of your disability, you may not have the time and/or resources to learn how to investigate via trial and error. A lawyer can help you by using their information-gathering skills and resources to demand documentation through legal channels.

This could mean sending a subpoena to offices that hold specific incident reports that won't just hand over information on a basic request. It could also mean looking up personnel records you don't know how to find or can't legally access to find people who can testify about your incident.

The legal path isn't just about finding old information. Your lawyer can connect you with medical professionals who can examine your disability and explain how certain aspects could have only come from military service or are likely from military service as opposed to your civilian life.

Contact a personal injury lawyer like Jack W Hanemann, P.S. to discuss your condition and ways to get the compensation you deserve. If the VA doesn't work out, they can help you find compensation systems that can help.