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BVA Appeal / Lawyer Needed or Not?


Vetrequest

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Is it recommended that I hire a lawyer for a BVA appeal?  This will be my first time appealing to the BVA.  What occurrs at this hearing?  Who asks me questions?  Is there a role for an attorney at this hearing?  Wanting to know what to expect and how difficult it was for those who've been down this road. 

Thanks..

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Here is the skinny on how we are now ( as of April 30th)becoming unpaid VA claims "employees" for our own claims:

This goes for Agents, VSOs, and all vet reps from all vet orgs as I understand this.

Most of us hardcore claimants here ,in many cases, do what the VA should do anyhow.🙄

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I can see both sides (at the BVA).  

Pro "lawyer up":

1.  Your lawyer should be able to make your BVA appeal bullet proof to the CAVC, if denied by the Board.  

2.  Sometimes, its tough to win at the CAVC, because a good job was not done by the claimants and or his representative.  Its not always easy to fix BVA errors at the CAVC.  Remember, CAVC is not a "trier of fact" generally.  If denied at the BVA, in order to appeal to the CAVC you have to use all the same evidence.  You cant add anything.  THAT is problematice because we often dont know what evidence the BVA HAS until its all done.  Then its too late to add anything if you want to appeal to the CAVC.  

3.  If you win, you will get about 5 times what the lawyer gets.  (Typically the lawyer gets 20 percent).  That means more money in your pocket, even if you had to pay the lawyer. 

4.  Its especially important to "lawyer up", if you lack one or more of the skills needed to win.  For example you may have TBI, or PTSD, and you may not have the skills needed to self represent.  And, its a crapshoot with the VSO's..you never know if you will get competent reprentation until its over.  

5.  "Sometimes" a lawyer will "up front" the cost of a necessary IMO.  

 

Against getting a lawyer at the BVA:

1.  You may have to pay a fee when you "could" have represented yourself successfully.  

2.  In order to represent yourself successfully you need the following resources.  If you lack one or more of the these, your only choice may be to get help.  

     a.  You have to be in good enough health to see this to completion.  (Typically about 4 to 5 years)

     b.   You need computer skills, and the knowledge as well as the motivation to research.  

     c.  You need organization skills..you have to file, store, keep and be able to retreive documents because VA will probably lose some of yours, too.

     d.  You need to be able and  willing to invest money in yourself.  Some examples of stuff you may need to buy:  IMO's, postage and mailing, a VBM.  If you dont have the money for a necessary IMO, then hiring a lawyer to upfront the cost of an IMO may be your only way to get benefits.  

     e.  You have to be persistent enough to keep going until you win.  

Edited by broncovet
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Wish I had had a lawyer at my BVA hearing. I was denied because the American Legion rep blew it. He was asking for the wrong thing, and I didn't know it. I lost on a technicality, and not on the merit of the case. So, on to the next level I go. Thanks AL!

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49 minutes ago, capitan said:

Wish I had had a lawyer at my BVA hearing. I was denied because the American Legion rep blew it. He was asking for the wrong thing, and I didn't know it. I lost on a technicality, and not on the merit of the case. So, on to the next level I go. Thanks AL!

Captain, you should start your own thread, you do yourself and the OP(Original Poster) an injustice by now allowing others to respond to your unique situation.

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