Veterans who honorably served their country and became hurt or sick in the process are entitled to a number of benefits. Unfortunately, dealing with Veterans Affairs (VA) to claim these benefits is no easy task. Veterans are often confused about the application process, frustrated when their claims are rejected, and unsure of who they can turn to for help. But having a dedicated attorney by your side can make the process easier and increase the likelihood that you will be awarded the benefits you deserve.
Disability Law Group is ready to get to work on your case, and we’re here to guide you in selecting the best attorney to represent you.
Start Preparing Early
Taking early action on your claim is essential, no matter which attorney you choose. The longer you wait to retain a lawyer, the more benefits you could be missing out on. And by preparing your case now, you can potentially save the amount of time an attorney will have to spend later to do it.
So, begin organizing your claim by gathering relevant documents. Veterans’ benefits cases often succeed or fail based on the strength of the evidence; the more you have, generally the stronger your case is. These are a few documents you can start collecting today:
- Service records
- Discharge papers
- Medical records
- Physicians’ statements
- Personal statements
- Witness statements (e.g. from friends or family)
- Any notes you’ve made
Remember, one important role a veterans’ benefits attorney will play is finding and obtaining the evidence needed to build your claim. So don’t worry if you can’t find everything now, but gather whatever you can.
The importance of having an experienced attorney is pretty obvious, but what does “experienced” mean? Your lawyer should at least practice in the area of veterans’ benefits. Some veterans take their cases to attorneys who handle other types of law. That may or may not be a good idea, because every practice area is different and it can take years for an attorney to develop the skills needed to effectively advocate for veterans.
While understanding veterans’ benefits law is important, your consideration shouldn’t end there. Think about the exact type of case you have. Do you need help with your initial claim for benefits? Are you working on an appeal? Is there a hearing coming up that you’re getting ready for? Make sure the attorney you hire is experienced with the specific work you have ahead of you.
Finally, ask what sort of success record the attorney has. More specifically, evaluate the attorney’s track record of handling the exact legal services you need. For instance, the attorney may be skilled at helping veterans win initial claims, but less adept at handling appeals.
Level Of Comfort
You will need to discuss personal, sensitive medical information concerning your illness or injury with your veterans’ benefits attorney. That requires having a certain comfort level with your lawyer. If you don’t feel that your claim is getting the attention it deserves, or that you are being treated with respect, it will be much harder for you and your attorney to productively work together. In the long run, that will damage your claim.
The attitude and demeanor of your attorney play a major role in this. A lawyer should be professional (committed to doing the work properly to achieve your desired objectives) but also personable (friendly and easy to talk to about your case). With this in mind, your attorney should:
- Explain in detail how veterans’ benefits claims work, including any hearings, appeals, and other steps
- Outline the estimated scope of time and work necessary to complete the claim or appeal
- Talk about the evidence that will need to be given to the VA
- Make it clear what your and your attorney’s respective roles are
- Encourage you to ask questions and make sure they are answered to your satisfaction
- Never attempt to pressure you or rush you into something you are unsure about
- Be patient
- Be accessible
- Communicate updates to you about your case
Understanding Likely Outcomes
No attorney can guarantee results. Even a strong claim or appeal can fail because no one can control what a case reviewer, administrative law judge, or other VA official will do.
Nonetheless, your attorney should be able to explain the potential outcomes of your case, including a realistic projection of what the VA will award. Often this means drawing on the attorney’s past experience handling similar claims. Some veterans have unrealistically high (or low) expectations of the amount of benefits they may be awarded. The right attorney will review your claim, explain your options, and then talk about likely possible results.
Let’s Begin Your Veterans’ Benefits Claim Today
When you retain our law firm, we get right to work building a strong claim and ensuring that you put forth the best argument for the most amount of monthly benefits. We rely on our extensive experience handling veterans’ benefits claims and working within the complex VA bureaucracy. Along the way, our team will ensure that any questions or concerns you have are promptly addressed.
Every veterans’ benefits case has its unique challenges, but we’re ready to handle them. Give Disability Law Group a call today to get started.