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Right To Get Lawyers


Berta

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http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Veterans...orney_1215.html

I got this flash from the NVLSP web site-as a link- but have nothing from either VA media or senate news-

Anyone else got a confirmation out there?

I am sure it is true -and NVLSP confirmed it-

still- this was a voice vote-

Here is a glitch:

"However, the Act did not pass Congress in its original form. As written, the package would have allowed veterans to hire attorneys at any stage of the VA claims process and would have included the initial filing of a claim. In the end, the final draft allows veterans to hire an attorney only after the initial claim is denied by the VA. An attorney can then be hired to file a notice of disagreement and take the claim to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. "

I would hope these lawyers would do more than that-hell -we can file our own NODs for a few bucks in mailing fees--a good lawyer could get the award at the regional level-

we need lawyers who will aggressive present and prosecute our claims and the evidence.

Is the VA going to attempt to determine what the lawyers will do?

I dont like it-

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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Guest fla_viking

Dear Berta

this is actully good news. IF the VA is going to grant benifits. Then do it the first time aroound. IF not then the vet hires a lawyer and that lawyer will make sure the claim is ready for appeal. The lawyer can catch allot of VA errors from the very begining. With the vet having a lawyer I dont see to many remands for no examinatons or improper exams. A good lawyer is not going to waste there time playing out the VA games on claims.

Terry Higgins

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Yep, it's true and I think it's a good thing.

The change made was to delay the use of attorney untill a denial is recieved. Then an attorney can file your NOD and be involved from that point on.

Actually, more info is needed on my part. I thought I read that a denial must be recieved, but what about a NOD for rating percentage or EED when a claim is granted?

Guess I better research more.

Time

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Berta,

You bring up some good points. At this point you are far more qualified than any general practice attorney to face the almost totally adversarial ex parte VBA system. The ex parte setup is the most basic problem we face. The whole process is totally one-sided and we can't even find out what's happening. This is a classic ex parte setup.

Introducing attorneys early-on removes most of the ex parte curse. Introducing newbie attorneys creates a new problem which is what you're getting at. Right now, we're better at it than they would be!

So, how do we handle it (it being whatever attorney representation turns out to be permitted)?

We'll pay a 20% fee to any attorney. This means we have hired him/her and are their employers. We control.

I've consulted attorneys for years in two areas of law. I do the strategy, they do the legal tactics. I hold them on a leash. I have a federal law enforcement background not that of an attorney. Different attitude and I suggest that we all approach whatever new attorney access along these lines:

1. The hadit.com vets start by doing all the strategy (as we now are).

2. We work with attorneys to learn the practical legal side, compare their approach with our past experience, and WE adjust the strategy to our experienced reality. This becomes the basis for the tactical approach to our claims.

After that, we adjust our approach as the attorneys (and we) learn what the new rules of engagement are.

This comment is neither complete (nor even sage) - haven't fully thought it out yet, and that can take my screwed up mind a bit of time. Lets all cogitate and share.

Ralph

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I think it would be a good idea to have legal representation after the first denial...I know if my claim is Denied at the RO level which it is at now I will need to find a lawyer to help me file at the next level..I have been told that there are not to many lawyers that handle VA Cases..and the ones I have talked to said that they can't take the case until it goes to the appeal level...(still new to all this) ...so this change would be good to those who have no clue to what they are doing (like me) and are at the mercy of Service Organizations in a small town that can't seem to keep one longer then 4 months...I am so glad that the one service rep gave me this web site before she left...it has been a God Send...Thank to all of you...believe me when I say...YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERANCE...the silent warriors...helping those in need.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think having a lawyer for things like 1151 claims and CUE type claims would be good if the lawyers really understand these claims. I would like to be able to just have a real expert look at my claim and tell me if it will fly and what can be done to make it fly. If the claim is DOA then I don't have to waste my time on it. If I show the CUE to the lawyer and he says this is a dead duck then I would not bother. The only way now is to just throw the dice and see what comes up. I think it will take time to train up lawyers to do CUE type claims and other complicated claims. Maybe the ones who do the COVA claims now will start helping vets from the NOD stage.

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this is my opinion

Having lawyers in the beginning will cause a cluster (you know what), The lawyers will not be knowledgable to handle claims and then you will have the 800lb gorillas like the DAV and American Legion trying to limit what they can do. You will also have lots of increases in claims being re rated which will clog up the va system.

The pros:

IF the va is smart, they will save themselves the headache and rate the claims properly, with lawyers HOPEFULLY knowing the regs of the va, they will be able to do things that we cant, and last but not least we will finally have somebody fighting for us and our best interest.

Remeber folks when we have lawyers it will be crazy in the beginning but hopefully things will get better. I also hope that the va will stop thinking that all vets are DumbA***s.

Just my 3 cents

marinejay

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I expect Terry to add more detail to this post very shortly.

Anyway I am tickled to death that we can now use attorneys. Now is the time to file a new claim and once it is denied, Call the man.

Across the nation, Veterans Service Organizations are actually sobering up planning what to do.

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I have very mixed emotions about this. On the one hand I am very happy that veterans who need it, will now be able to have an attorney represent them below the court level. On the other hand I can see the implementation of this as a major slow-down to an already painstakenly slow claims process. Plus, Steve Buyer pushed this through, and I don't trust that maggot any further than I could throw him.

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Guest fla_viking

Dear Fellow Veterans & Friends

just remember. because we have the right to hire a lawyer. Does not mean lawyers will take our cases. I expect allot of cherry picking going on and hard cases that could win will not get the lawyers attenton.

I dont see a back log problem because of lawyers. But if there is. its because they see they can win and the VA screwy undefensibel rulings are the real cause of a back log. Would any of you begrudge a veteran or his lawyer who is going to try to right decades of wrong. As far as im concern. Im willing to wait at the end of the line to give these guys the right to have there claims properly reviewed.

Lawyers dont get paid unless they win. They will be very conservitive with there time and tallents making sure the claiims they spend there time with pays off.

Furthermore I belive the VA's best friend in screwing up our claims is the vets themselfs. So much is allowed to fall through the cracks because the vet does not hold the VA feet to the fire. The lawyers will catch all these dirty claim tricks and fix them. IF the VA wont follow the law at the RO level. the courts are going to hear about it from professionals who know what the VA is doing and can explain how the VA does it.

Terry Higgins

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LOL, oh ok. I actually thought it was the other way around. Had no idea VA rate was so high.

Source please for the 94-96 % first submission denial?

Cynical by nature, I am sorely tempted to question why "rats" like Buyer and Craig have all of a sudden pushed thru something that seems to favor Vets?

looking at the Vets issues voting records of either of these snakes (on the Va Watchdog site}, really has me suspicious. Could it be under the table money from some big lawyers association? I thought those guys were all in Democrats pockets because of the Repubs attitude towards tort reform!!!!!

at any rate it "appears" to be a step forward. Got to figure it will be a stiff learning curve for us and for the new "experts' for a while when the change comes about in June.

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Dear Fellow Veterans & Friends

Terry,

some good points in your message. Having used a lawyer from the git go on my successful SSDI claim I think one of the chief advantages once enuf lawyers learn the VA rules, will be that the lawyer who knows his way around the block will tell a Vet up front if he really has a case. Please notice i emphasize the lawyers knowledge of the VA system. Unfortunately this knowledge will come only with experience and some early users (us) may suffer.

I still believe that most of the delays we suffer are due to tasking too many semi trained folks with a very complicated process. Add to that the possiblilty the best and brightest dont necessarily flock to federal government work and as well, a kind of grudging acceptance by congress and various administrations, of the need to spend money on us Vets, and you have a screwed up process. After all, the defense dept hasnt yet figured out how to get bulletproof vests and proper armor to the folks in Iraq!!!!!

Edited by jlshand (see edit history)
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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think Buyer and Craig pushed the lawyer thing to weaken the VSO's. The only reason any vet joins a service organization is usually if they have a claim.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I agree with Calnight, how could we possibly be any worse off with a lawyer! He may not know it all, but at least, we would stand a better chance of understanding the Va. Sxxx than we do now.

I wish that I had had the opportunity to have had a lawyer from the beginnning and then at least, I feel that I would have had a half way chance of understanding the Va.

The Va is so full of it, with their unspoken laws and lies.

The Va may also decide to hire doctors that do C&P's and to write down what they read in a veterans file and not what they want it to say.

When the R.O tells a Va. doctor to place lies into your examination, then you spend half of your life, trying to prove that they are liars.

Bring them on!!

Josephine

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I never had a good experience with a VSO. There was a GOOD VSO with the DAV in my Regional Office which is 180 miles away, I never used him, but several friends did. He knew HOW to write a claim, wasn't afraid to stand up for the Veteran, he was one that is far and few between in the system. Of course, he was fired by the DAV for getting too many claims approved, the DAV had a huge Office inside the VARO and he was told, "we can't afford to lose our space". I agree 100% with the use of Attorney's, but in my opinion, there's a great side affect that's going to be around for a long time. 1. I don't know of ANY Attorney (even in a city the size of Memphis, TN) who specializes or even knows 1/4 as much about VA regs, laws etc as some of the people on this Board. I have personally been called about some VA regs by Congressional Aides and by one Attorney who thought he could be paid by a veteran to represent the veteran at the Regional level, this just shows the current level of ignorance of Veterans Laws by Attorneys. 2. How many local Attorney's are going to fly to Washington if your case goes that far, I feel the VA has grown accustomed to being a "law of their own, not bound by any Precedents, or by any Regs for that matter." How many of you have quoted the regs only to have the VA ignore them???? It's going to take a long time to change the attitude of the VA AND the attitude of the Veterans Service Organizations....they were the reason the new law was changed to NOT allow attorneys represent the vet from the beginning of his claim! 3. Local Attorneys have been locked out of the system for so long, that it's going to take a long time to get them up to speed on Vets laws, and this is going to depend MAINLY on how much money they see can be made on vets claims. How many 10% - 50% claims are they going to spend time on??? BOTTOM LINE is MONEY.

Having said all this, I still think that being able to hire an attorney will be good for veterans who don't know vet's regs and especially those who have been screwed for years. Bottom line is that all of us here on HadIt and those who work silently helping vets in their own communities are still going to be needed for a long time. I don't post much on the Claims Research because there are so many who are already doing a good job there. I always have at least 2 vets locally that I'm working their claims, and it has become a really stressful duty as a lot of you understand, when I get involved in a claim, it takes a whole lot mentally out of me and does cause my PTSD symptoms to flare. I would love to be able to just turn it over to an Attorney, but ask one sometimes about a particular VA reg and watch the blank stare on his face. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing as long as I can, maybe someday the Attorneys will jump on this just as they are now so many Social Security Attorneys. Just my opinion!

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Jay said:

"Having lawyers in the beginning will cause a cluster (you know what"

I think that is possible -unless these lawyers join hadit ---to get up to speed on the regs-

and I agree with Terry:

"Does not mean lawyers will take our cases. I expect allot of cherry picking going on and hard cases that could win will "

You have to present a claim that they are willing to take on-

meaning make sure they know you have lots of medical evidence-

Countless NY lawyers would not help me on my FTCA case-which I won myself-

they said I didn't have a chance-but wouldn't consider the evidence- Ha!

An SSA lawyer refused to support our reconsideration request=

3 months later I called him and told him he lost about 4 pr 5 thousand dollars-out of the retro-

He was shocked and said maybe he did not understand how disabling PTSD was-

he didnt---

actually I am calling him Monday -if he is still around-to see if he is able to handle VA cases-in spite of his lack of support on our SSA matter-he showed a willingness to comprehend VA regs-

I am calling my personal attorney and a few other lawyers I know to see if they will be handling veterans claims-

I certainly expect-as others have mentioned here-

that a good lawyer will often want you to get a good IMO right from the git-go-

if you already have an IMO and solid medical evidence-however-they may not suggest another one-

I think these vet orgs are quite worried and again- a good lawyer- in my opinion (this is what I would do in their shoes)

will look first for

1. Any FTCA or Section 1151 potential,

2. access and present all evidence to support the current claim,

3. see if there has been any monetary damage caused by past vet reps on the POA,

4. and look for any CUE potential in past denials that were not appealed.

In each of these scenarios there is potential money- and this is a motivation unlike these vet reps have-

because whether they are lousy or wonderful they still get paid.

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