Veteran disabled due to PTSD.
Result: Service connection granted and back pay awarded in excess of $311,000 after 16 years of fighting VA.
The veteran served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. During service he witnessed a plane crash wherein several of his friends died. He developed PTSD as a result of this incident.
The veteran filed a claim for PTSD, but the VA denied the claim. The VA sent the veteran to its own doctors who kept saying the veteran did not have PTSD. As a result, the VA repeatedly denied the veteran’s claim. In fact, on one occasion a VA doctor diagnosed the veteran with PTSD but then later changed his mind and wrote another letter saying the veteran did not have PTSD.
In addition, the VA denied the veteran based on the fact that he could not prove that the plane crash took place. In other words, the VA said there was no proof of a stressor in service. Through several more layers of appeals, the evidence was finally discovered proving this plane crash actually took place. But that did not change VA’s determination to deny the veteran’s claim. For 16 years the VA continued to deny the claim. The veteran was examined by numerous VA doctors and they continued to change his diagnosis repeatedly.
The veteran finally hired our law firm to handle his appeal. We arranged for an evaluation with one of the leading PTSD experts and a professor at a major university. The doctor examined the veteran for several days and produced a favorable–and extensive–evaluation that proved the veteran had PTSD due to the plane crash in service.
We submitted our additional argument and expert evidence to the Board. The Board, however, was unwilling to grant the claim. Instead, it remanded the claim back to the regional office for yet another VA exam. We instructed our client to take the private expert’s report to the examination. The private evaluation was persuasive and we were able to secure a favorable report from the VA examiner.
As a result, the VA finally granted service connection for PTSD after 16 years of fighting VA.