If you are unhappy with your decision from the Board of Veteran’s Appeals (BVA), you have the right to take your appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Although a CAVC hearing is nothing like a criminal court trial, it’s strongly recommended that you obtain experienced representation before your case is heard.
You Want Someone to Advocate for Your Interests
You are not legally required to have an attorney represent your interests at the CAVC, but this doesn’t mean that representing yourself is a good idea. While cases are considered non-adversarial at the lower levels, they become adversarial when you reach the CAVC.
Although VA-accredited representatives include accredited claims agents, Veteran service organizations (VSOs), and state or county government entities, hiring an attorney is usually the best option for a successful appeal. Attorneys have advanced legal training that gives them a better understanding of what is necessary to win your appeal.
The VA will be represented by an attorney, and its interests aren’t necessarily the same as yours. Having your own legal representation helps ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. An attorney can also prevent your case from being derailed by missing deadlines or misunderstanding CAVC procedures.
An Attorney Is More Affordable Than You Think
If your disability is preventing you from working, it’s understandable to be worried about the cost of hiring an attorney for your appeal. However, Veterans benefits attorneys will typically petition the CAVC to have the VA pay their fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) if you win your appeal. Additionally, the VA sets limits on what fees you can be charged if your appeal is unsuccessful.
You Can Hire a Different Attorney for the CAVC
Even if you’ve been previously working with an attorney on your case, you’re not obligated to use the same attorney for your CAVC appeal. As with other types of legal matters, you can choose to hire a different attorney at any time.
You may want a different attorney if you believe your current attorney isn’t respectful of your goals or doesn’t have the experience necessary to appear before the CAVC. In some cases, you can hire a second attorney to act as an appellate professional assisting the attorney who represented you at the BVA.
You Need to Act Quickly
You only have 120 days from the date of the BVA decision to file your appeal with the CAVC, so it’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The CAVC will not appoint an attorney to represent you, so it’s up to you to find suitable legal representation. Since it takes time to build an effective appeal, you want to minimize unnecessary delays.
We’re Here for You
We view ourselves as Veterans' advocates and are fully committed to helping you access the benefits you’ve earned in service of your country. The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law is well equipped to handle cases involving sensitive issues such as military sexual trauma, PTSD, chronic pain, and requests for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits. Our case results speak for themselves.
Attorney Sean Kendall has helped Veterans on thousands of cases all over the U.S. since starting his own practice in the early 1990s. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Veterans' Advocates and Board of Governors of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims Bar Association, and a former member of the Rules Committee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims.
Attorney Timothy R. Franklin was admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in 2009. He has presented at national and local legal education seminars, was past president of his local bar association, and is a former chair on the City of Aurora, Judicial Performance Commission.
We know the law, know the process, and know how to win before the CAVC. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.