Jump to content


  • veteranscrisisline-badge-chat-1.gif

  • Advertisemnt

  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

    Click here to purchase your digital journal. HadIt.com receives a commission on each purchase.

  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

    questions-001@3x.png

    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
    Continue Reading
     
  • Ads

  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

    tinnitus-005.pngptsd-005.pnglumbosacral-005.pngscars-005.pnglimitation-flexion-knee-005.pngdiabetes-005.pnglimitation-motion-ankle-005.pngparalysis-005.pngdegenerative-arthitis-spine-005.pngtbi-traumatic-brain-injury-005.png

  • Advertisemnt

  • VA Watchdog

  • Advertisemnt

  • Ads

  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

    employment 2.jpeg

    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

  • 0
Sign in to follow this  
Axilleas

Thoughts on maybe dismissing my attorney, feedback appreciated

Question

Hello everyone,

I've been somewhat more vocal these last couple weeks as everything seems to be coming to fruition, or elaborately xxxxxx...Unfortunately, i dont knwo enough about the va to offer any advice so here i am coming to take...hahaa

Seriously though, I knew the fee associated with legal representation. I was also well aware I'd be lucky if the attorney actually worked a quarter of what he was being compensated and was willing to sacrifice the pawn and kill a king back then. However, while for the better part of 5 years he's been able to offload responsibility to the VA for lack of response - the more research of my own i do, the less it appears he's even done than most of the shittier lawyers i've seen complained about. One of the biggest things that kills me is he should always be the more informed party between me and him about this type of stuff...And, i'd say he's uninformed or clueless more than 50% of the time he gives me reason for one thing or another.

I had caught my first felony at the end of 2016 for heroin possesion. I didnt talk to him much up till around spring time this year because it wasn't my top priority and i had to do a few months of county jail...Anyway, i initially  contacted upon release to see how everything was going. And he's more or less despondent. When i ask if my drug addiction/legal trouble could be used to strengthen my cause he told me no...on the contrary, felons aren't normally well received with favorable reviews - and that drug addicts are even less likely to get anything because the board "would hate to give someone so irresponsible a hunk of tax-payer money to buy drugs with." I was obviously crushed, and had yet to come to understand my lawyer often speaks without reason or knowledge. He then reassured me not to worry, he wouldn't drop me as a client since ive been with him for quite some time but that "he doesnt know of an attorney that would represent me" given those factors. Just to highlight the nature of my relationship with him.

I told him tdiu is really just not a goal of mine anymore since i had filled a decade ago and my conditions had only worsened and that P&T was really the only end game for me. When i asked if if the drug addiction could be used to highlight the 8 years out of the corps i was clean and sober until i snapped he said "if we get you in front of a board - you might find a judge that willing to hear it that way." Where does this guy actually come in if he can't even use a little courtroom rhetoric to help advocate my case? I personally filed the NOD by spending 20 hours in the law library chasing each component listed for denial to rebute, although that was prior to having him...and really come to think of it don't know one real contribution he's made to this effort.

Now, i wish i saved the post where one guy was complaining, thinking about changing lawyers for like 6th time and a hadit member and attorney just ripped him in half as a pariah on hard working people...naturally, the last part caught my eye and this guy went on about how lawyers for claims generally go out of their pocket for private doctors, and experts that can support this or that, and that for clients with little hopes of making any substantial money often run at a deficit. He is an attorney, and i've never met an honest or charitable one - so maybe they're more realistically doing whatever best helps facilitate their investment. If my attorney did just that, made sure he saw a return on his "investment" which i guess is very little, i'd be more than happy with that. But, I'm really just struggling a reason to keep him employed with me. I'm not a bad guy, or one who goes back on his word...And even if i find he's been pretty much dead weight i've carried wont cherish giving him his pink slip.

I dont know guys...I'm allegedly in the works(aren't we all") for a six figure award...bringing my side kick there roughly $30,000 give or take some. What would you guys do here? How could i approach exactly what contribution he's made thus far. Or perhaps tell him fee or no fee he's in it for the long haul, and if he cant lawyer up a way to solidify my P&T then *Insert some legal ramification" and if not applicable, and i have no way to entice his hardest effort than i likely have to walk...

Thank you all, and I'm praying the forum member esquire who i mentioned comes across this. I need a counterweight here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0

I agree with Vetquest.  Dont fire your attorney unless you are willing to proceeed pro se.  The attorney works fro you "behind closed doors", because its not practical for him or her to ask you every time he files a paper or makes a phone call.  There is often a lot going on, you dont know about, behind the scenes.  

The mere fact that you "asked", means you probably should not fire your attorney.  You should only fire your attorney if "you know for sure" that he or she has lied to you...and a difference of opinion between a va employee and your attorney is insufficient.  If every attorney were fired each time they disagreed with VA employees, then all attorneys would be fired, because, VA employees dont like attorney represented Vets...the attorney can do a better job at holding the employee accountable, and VA employees dont want to be held accountable, they want to do what ever they so please.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 10/28/2018 at 1:38 PM, Axilleas said:

What would you guys do here?

 

I will repeat what Vetquest said to you, get your C-file before you do anything about your attorney.

As  Berta asked, did you get an award letter tdiu? if your attorney did get one in your name and did not notify you of it, then you have a malpractice claim against him. That would be completely outside the VA's scope. If he tried to "up the ante" by filing a NOD against that award without your knowledge, you have significant legal damages the Bar will NOT be happy with him about. His insurance will pay you and he might lose his license to practice at the VA bar.

Without an award or denial he could not have filed a disagreement, that means if he did file one he had a letter either way. There will be no confusion about the dates or sequence of events.

I would also suggest in the interim you go to Ebenefits or Vets.gov and see who if anyone they list as your representative. That person/group is only there if you signed a POA. In theory if you filed a new POA with a new person/group that person would file it with the VA and the named representative would change, but it is not always quick.

Your POA should be in your C-file. It would be unusual if it had a time limit for a VA case, but it is not impossible. odd yes, impossible no. your only way to know for sure is in your c-file.

did I say get your C-file enough times?

While you are looking for a new lawyer, before you fire this one, also look for a lawyer that enjoys suing other lawyers for malpractice. It would be even better if they are also allowed to practice at the VA bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Hey everyone - thank you for the feedback. I definitely understand and appreciate your point of view. It’s definitely been taken into consideration. 

Let me address the validity of what I’m saying in the tdiu granted truth. I have 4 different sources (VSO friend who did a favor, lawyer, va rep, and vets .gov) all conforming the simple fact that at the DRO review I had the tdiu was granted where the increase in two other issues was not. On feb 21 2017, the va “granted one or more issues” and sent a SoC. Obviously the soc was what the lawyer was able to appeal to the BVA with. The award or notice should also have been forwarded with the same SOC. I at the time was nursing a heroin addiction and unaccountable with no residence, no mail. I know it’s easy to disbelieve what any one source tells you in adverse circumstances - however, when three or more are lining up at the same heading...I pretty much believe it. I don’t understand why the va didn’t promulgate regardless since the award was prio to any appeal and no longer part of the contention, but obviously things get screwy sometimes. The vA rep said it appeared they didn’t know how to approach it since the primary concern was addressed with the award they kind of just left it. 

I’m not sure what the status on the poa is - she said on the computer it showed up as expired, no longer current ...which makes a lot of sense why he wasn’t able to do all the work I’ve done researching this further. And I’m not sure if I drop this attorney I’ll struggle to find another. I want to drop the appeal as it is, and submit another one with new evidence and a few other issues. If need be I think I should be able to find one seeing as it it’s not the same claim or concourse as what my last legal rep stood in for.

as long as there’s no fee being apportioned his way I’ll let him choke on that discovery when the time comes. Ultimately, he either withheld information(that tdiu was granted) or he didn’t know and didn’t realize on the SOC tdiu was not denied, so he doesn’t appear very capable in any regard. 

More inportantly, the rep who helped me tried to put in the system I’d like it resolved...she did very suspiciously say I might need to withdraw the appeal, which pending a document with tdiu granted in my hands I would easily do, but she also made notes to send to whoever and gave me an iris ref number to call back and check on. I also submitted my own asking for the award to be filed. Do you think when she said I’d have to drop the appeal it’s because inadvertently the lawyer included it on his appeal form? My god what an idiot....

thank you all and if you have any tips on how to tackle this to resolution as quickly as possible I’m all ears..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The last thing you need is bad blood or bad communication between you and your attorney.  Clear up both of those, and many, if not all your problems will be solved.  

You may need to swallow a little pride and admit he knows more than you do about VA law (highly likely).  

As far as the expired POA, discuss that with him also...when you call to inquire the status.  Again, I have not seen a pOA expire, this would almost never be in the vets best interest. 

As always you can cactch more flies with honey than vinegar, so call him up, after you have prepared some questions, where one of the early ones would be if he got paid, and explain you did not *yet" get paid.  

Be non threating, friendly, helpful.  You will have plenty of time to get mean later if the situation warrants it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

right on bronco....i'm definitely approaching cautiously. First i dont want him knowing i'm aware the va wont be peeling his 20% off, or reveal anything i do know. I wont ask him about the soc he received nor why it so coincidentally arrived around his filling the bva. I'll probably not talk to him at all and will probably end up withdrawing the appeal once the letter is confirmed and in my possession. Hopefully he catches on, that there was no appeal won. No attorney fee eligible, and if he sends me a bill for more than 1200$ I'll bring out the big guns and threaten to take it the State Bar that he so poorly represented me - he actually compromised his clients well being by stalling the very thing i was after!

You're right, he's an attorney who's probably handled a few cases before..He went through law school. I'm an engineer. Our areas of knowledge couldn't be more distinct. However, I dont need 4 years of harvard law to see such a clear and obvious progression. "client files dro review as last effort to resolve locally, without appealing. Client hires me to represent as dro favorable decision unlikely. Dro sends back denial, of other issues. Primary issue sought not mentioned. BVA appeal sent to VA a month thereafter (possibly listing all issues sough or the ones i knew of.)*2 years elapse* Client asks for update, VA remote login reveals "grant." Inform client the BVA likely sent the claim back to RO for adjustment. Appeal therefore overturned and fee anticipated."

xxxx NO BUDDY, you got a surprise coming too. hahaha....

thats the monologue he more or less had based on how he explained everything and the way he explained how it was granted after all. Like i said he's either an idiot or a straight up snake. thanks everyone! will let you all know how it unravels...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Ads

  • Our picks

    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
      • 6 replies
    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:


      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis


      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.


      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 

       

      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.

       

      Does this help?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

      ...................Buck
        • Like
    • Precedent Setting CAVC cases cited in the M21-1
      A couple months back before I received my decision I started preparing for the appeal I knew I would be filing.  That is how little faith I had in the VA caring about we the veteran. 

      One of the things I did is I went through the entire M21-1 and documented every CAVC precedent case that the VA cited. I did this because I wanted to see what the rater was seeing.  I could not understand for the life of me why so many obviously bad decisions were being handed down.  I think the bottom line is that the wrong type of people are hired as raters.  I think raters should have some kind of legal background.  They do not need to be lawyers but I think paralegals would be a good idea.

      There have been more than 3500 precedent setting decisions from the CAVC since 1989.  Now we need to concede that all of them are not favorable to the veteran but I have learned that in a lot of cases even though the veteran lost a case it some rules were established that assisted other veterans.

      The document I created has about 200 or so decisions cited in the M21-1.   Considering the fact that there are more than 3500 precedent cases out there I think it is safe to assume the VA purposely left out decisions that would make it almost impossible to deny veteran claims.  Case in point. I know of 14 precedent setting decisions that state the VA cannot ignore or give no weight to outside doctors without providing valid medical reasons as to why.  Most of these decision are not cited by the M21.

      It is important that we do our due diligence to make sure we do not get screwed.  I think the M21-1 is incomplete because there is too much information we veterans are finding on our own to get the benefits we deserve

      M21-1 Precedent setting decisions .docx
        • Thanks
        • Like
      • 5 replies
  • Ads

  • Popular Contributors

  • Ad

  • Latest News
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines