Veteran disabled as a result of a spine disability.

Result: Service connection granted.

The veteran served in the U.S. Army during the Cold War era of the mid to late 1980s. During his time in the service he was attacked and beaten with a baseball bat. He suffered, among other things, a back injury. The symptoms continued to bother him for approximately the next 2 years. At separation, he was diagnosed with chronic back pain.

After he got out of the service the veteran did not complain or treat for his back problem. Approximately 15 years after service the problem became too severe and he could no longer deal with it on his own. On several occasions he ended up in the emergency room. Some of the emergency room doctors recorded that his back problem began only recently–even though it really began during service.

The veteran filed a claim, but VA denied the claim based on what the emergency room doctors wrote in the records. In other words, the VA twisted the evidence to make it look like the veteran’s back disability problem began only recently. He filed an appeal and wrote extensive explanations as to why he had the problem ever since service but that it only became disabling a few years ago. The Board denied the claim and the veteran appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He hired our law firm to assist him.

We argued that the Board and the VA examiner wrongly considered only the negative statements concerning the veteran’s medical history. The VA attorneys did not agree and they defended the claim. We filed a brief with the Court and the VA attorney filed an opposition brief. Eventually, the judge made a decision and ruled in the veteran’s favor. The Court remanded the case back to the regional office.

After the case was returned to the regional office we obtained another private medical expert who said that the veteran’s spine disability began during service. We submitted additional argument with the expert report. The Board finally made a decision on the claim and service connection was granted after almost 10 years of fighting VA.