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At What Point Should You Obtain A Lawyer

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I'm in the middle of my appeal for my upper back and neck chronic issues. I was previously denied these issues back in 2007 from Atlanta VA. I've moved now and the DRO is reviewing my claim in the city in which I now live. The VFW Rep. did tell me my case would be decided by February 27, 2010.

My doctor from the VA in Atlanta wrote in his notes that i had chronic upper back and neck ridoculpathy which was service related and he recommended my past employer take note of this when giving me work assignments.

My current doctor wrote in his notes that all my neck and upper back problems are subsequent of the accident I was involved in and that it is more likely than not related to the accident. He also wrote in his notes that he recommends me to appeal the VA's denial decision.

So my question is, if i'm denied again with the traditional dro review, Should i jump the gun and get an attorney, I saw so many positive results with attornies on this website.

*I am also getting a buddy statement from someone i recently found on facebook who remembers my neck and upper back conditions.

*Do you Hadit Pro's think I still need an IMO for this type of case

Thank you guys for all you do

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On Lawyers: IMHO you should get a lawyer only AFTER you have been denied at the BVA level UNLESS you wind up on a VARO-BVA remand VARO yo-yo, or if your claim is "stuck" at AMC..then you could consider having a lawyer write you a Writ of Mandamus. Writs can also be written by the Veteran, but I wrote one and they are a lot of work! A Writ is the equivilant of writing a term paper for college such as one needed for your Bachelors or even Masters Thesis. If you dont have some computer/research skills or have a very good friend who does, then you probably need an attorney to write them.

IMHO hiring a lawyer at the RO or DRO levels is a waste of money. Even at the BVA level it is usually not necessary IMHO.

But dont go to the CAVC alone...get a lawyer at the CAVC..JMHO. As mentioned an exception is a Writ of Mandamus filed at CAVC provided you have access to good research skills. Several people on this board have filed Writs pro se.

ON value of IME's/IMO's: If your doc wont give you a nexus statement, and you have fired him and the second VA doc also refuses, time to look for an IMO/IME. But I would ask at least TWO VA docs to provide the nexus statement first. I did not need an IMO/IME because I found a "Vetran friendly" doc at my local VA...basically I asked "old Vets" at the hospital, and figured it out from talking to Vets. IMO's/IME's can cost what a used car costs, but several people on here say they are worth it. The trouble with buying IMO/IME's is that when you need them, you usually dont have the money.

Edited by broncovet
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Ohhh wow. Thanks for the information, I just saw someone's results from an attorney and thought it would be a easier route. But I understand fully now. So do you think wtih the statements that my doctors wrote that will be enough or is an IMO definitely necessary?? I just was trying to avoid bothering a doctor for a IMO. I guess if I was justice its something i may have to consider

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I think if you have a claim where you feel you are over your head it might be a good idea to get a lawyer after you get denied and file your NOD. Some of the chemical poisoning claims and CUE claims are examples of claims where a lawyer might help if you get into legal questions and not just evidence.

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"More likely than not" is better than "at least as likely than not", which is supposed to give a 50/50 probability. If you have a doctor's statement with that, it is great.

Personally, I had a NOVA lawyer assist me with my NOD, and ended up being awarded 100% SC P&T. He didn't even charge me, as I had all the evidence gathered for the NOD, and said he would have charged me if we had to go to hearing; which he was willing to represent my case for me.

Just my two cents worth...

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Wow, Thanks Guys. Bonzai, may I ask where did you find your lawyer at? I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row, just in case the Review Officer comes back with a denial decision. I have faith that its going to work out in my favor, but i've been dealing with this claim since 2007, and the proof is everywhere, Im submitting a buddy statement and I think that should suffice evidence.

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My lawyer was a local lawyer in Jackson, TN that my wife's Social Security lawyer recommended. He told us the lawyer was a member of NOVA (National Organization of Veterans Advocates), so I went to him.

The funny thing is, my lawyer is no longer handling new veterans cases, but the Social Security lawyer has now become a NOVA lawyer; so all new referrals go to him. It seems that my lawyer has decided to stick with just Social Security. Very sad, because when I went to see him, he wrote up my NOD in about 15 minutes. He even got my entire C-file sent to his office, where his secretary copies it all to a CD, and then gave me the C-file and electronic copy.

Mind you, I am not saying that all NOVA lawyers would do what mine did for free, but I shall be eternally grateful to the lawyer who helped me; because I was at a loss - had all my evidence, but no idea of how to proceed. I wasn't a member of HadIt then...

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