Veterans Affairs Canada exists to support all veterans, especially those injured while serving their country. Unfortunately, there are times when valid injuries are swept up in the sometimes overzealous policies designed to keep fraudulent claims out of the system. If you believe your injury claim has been denied despite a need for compensation and/or assistance, consider a few ways that a team of lawyers can help you develop a better appeal.
What Constitutes a Valid Injury Claim?
In order to receive compensation from the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, an injury or condition must meet a service-connected test. This means that the issue must have occurred during military service or caused by events during military service. This test covers both immediate problems such as broken or missing limbs as well as physical and mental illness that may develop after service.
Documentation is key. Your medical record needs to have supporting proof that explains the date and possible severity of your issue. In the case of difficult to diagnose problems such as head pain, vertigo or various psychological conditions, you'll need documentation that underlines the start of the problem during military service.
For the more abstract compensation claims, you'll need a skilled medical and legal team in your corner. While Veterans Affairs has a medical examination process, you should always get at least a second opinion to support your claim.
A Lack of Information May Not Be Your Fault
Consider the scenario of a soldier with unexplained head pains. The pains began during military service, but the soldier only received basic medical treatment since the issue sounds like a common headache. As years go by, the soldier may experience dizziness, nausea, loss of concentration or suffer blackouts after leaving the service. Those basic medical visits won't be enough to develop a full compensation claim.
The best action would have been to undergo deeper medical examinations such as CT scans, but the often tough and fast-paced nature of the military may not have given the soldier a chance. The VA does understand such situations, but due diligence still needs to be taken to verify the problem.
If you're in a similar situation, ask yourself a few questions about your injury reporting:
- Did you seek assistance for the issue during military service? Even a basic visit to a medical office can get enough to start a paper trail. If you've complained about the issue before, you can at least use documented visits to show that you aren't making up the problem. Try not to be offended by the idea that you could be making it up; fraud is a part of the VA's struggles with helping veterans, and catching fakers helps you and the country in the end.
- Did you seek assistance for the issue within a year of leaving military service? It's understandable that a problem may only occur after you've slowed down from the high pace of the military. Some problems take time to manifest, but if you've reported the issue close to the end of your service, there's still a line that can be easily drawn to your injury.
- Do you have a medical visit documented? Unfortunately, a field medic's assistance may not come with a medical record injury. If you've been to medical and don't have the paperwork due to a lack of resources or negligence, you may need a team of lawyers to comb through your military career to draw a better line between your service and your injury.
Contact a lawyer specializing in injury compensation (like those at Stephens Holman Devraj Barristers & Solicitors) to begin planning your VA claim or appeal.