Against all odds, Attorney Tim Franklin demonstrated service connection for a veteran with Degenerative Joint Disease.
Dale Was Injured on Active Duty and Tried to Hide the Pain
After 18 years on active duty, Dale injured his left shoulder while serving as a geodetic surveyor. Although he did complain of the pain once, he, like far too many other servicemen and women with injuries, refrained from seeking treatment for fear of being taken off duty.
Post service, Dale relied on the medication he had for other disabilities to manage his pain. It wasn’t until the pain became so unbearable that he couldn’t sleep that Dale decided to seek more aggressive treatment and disability benefits.
The Regional Office Denied Service Connection
When a veteran applies for disability benefits for a non-presumptive condition, the veteran must show that her or his disability is service connected. When evaluating a disability for service connection, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (“VA”) relies in part on medical evidence.
In Dale’s case, the medical evidence available was anything but straight forward. He had several different opinions from several different VA examiners. While two of the examiners opined that the shoulder disability was “at least as likely as not related to service,” one of the opinions denied service connection altogether based on a lack of evidence in Dale’s service-treatment records.
While Dale tried to explain the absence of recorded evidence, the Regional Office (“RO”) relied on the third opinion and denied service connection. At that point, Attorney Tim Franklin stepped in to help Dale bring his case to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“the Board”).
Attorney Tim Franklin Gets Another Doctor’s Opinion
Franklin knew that, if he was going to win Dale’s case, he would need to find irrefutable medical evidence to overcome the ambiguity in the VA examiner’s opinion. So, he got an opinion from the perfect doctor – an orthopedic surgeon who also served as a Navy Surgeon (“the surgeon”). The surgeon concluded with a “high degree of medical certainty” that Dale’s shoulder disability was service connected. The surgeon further provided supporting medical literature, his reasons for discrediting the VA examiner's negative opinion, and supporting statements from Dale and Dale's wife.
The Board Deemed Dale’s Degenerative Joint Disease Service Connected - Allowing Him to Obtain Disability Benefits
The surgeon’s opinion was exactly what the Board needed to see. After considering all of the evidence, it readily concluded that Dale’s shoulder disability was, indeed, service connected – a ruling which laid the foundation for Dale to secure his much-needed disability benefits.
If you or a loved one have been through a similar experience, don’t hesitate to contact us. With decades of experience appealing service-connection denials issued by RO’s, we are confident we can help you win the benefits you deserve. When you are ready, send us a note or call us at (877) 629-1712 to discuss your appeal.
Disclaimer: All names and places have been changed to protect confidentiality. All cases are different and results will vary depending on the facts. Call us at (877) 629-1712 to discuss the facts of your case.