Obtaining a private expert report can be challenging. The challenge is made worse if you have no money. If you have a private physician you may be able to obtain a report from him for little or no extra cost. However, most treating doctors are unfamiliar with the VA claim process and will likely need instruction on how to write a report that will pass muster for VA purposes.
We recommend that you explain to your doctor that exact proof or medical certainty is not required. Explain to him that it only needs to be 50 percent likely or greater that your disability is linked to service. You should request that he phrase his opinion in terms of whether it as “as likely as not” or “more likely than not” that your disability is linked to service.
You must also explain to your doctor that he must provide reasons for his conclusion. In other words, he can’t just write one short sentence stating that your condition is related to service. He must provide reasons and a detailed explanation as to how and why he arrived at his conclusion. The VA is known to discredit the opinions of private doctors based on their failure to provide reasons for their conclusions.
Also, you should make your claims file available for your doctor’s review. His opinion is only as strong as the evidence upon which it is based. You want to make sure that his opinion is based on your complete history. It is advisable that you tell your doctor to write in his report that he reviewed the claims file.
Claims files are often very large. In order to make it easier for your doctor, you should organize the medical records in chronological order and put sticky notes or tabs on the relevant records that pertain to your disability.
If you do not have a private treating doctor that is willing to help you, then obtaining a private medical expert can be more costly and difficult. You will have to find an independent medical expert. There are several strategies for doing this. First, if you have had a Social Security claim your Social Security lawyer may be able to refer you to a private medical expert. Generally, attorneys that handle Social Security claims, workers compensation claims, or negligence cases may be able to recommend a good medical expert. If you don’t know a lawyer who can recommend someone, then you may want to consult several independent medical expert services. If you have any questions about locating a medical expert, please contact our office. In developing the cases of our clients, we utilized our own network of private experts that have a proven track record. We usually advance the cost of the expert and when we win the case, our clients reimburse us.