What will a VA disability compensation lawyer do for me?
Step One: Free Consultation
The first thing we do is have a very honest conversation about your VA disability compensation benefits claim and conditions. We will take some information from you and answer your questions. You will be assigned to an intake manager who works directly with a VA disability compensation lawyer. We will examine your benefit claim and determine what is the best course of action for you to take. Sometimes we have to tell veterans not to challenge their VA ratings. It is possible we even recommend other veterans benefits law firms who focus on your type of VA disability compensation claim. Our goal is to do what is best for every veteran that calls, even if that means telling you not to hire our law firm.
Step Two: Free Application Help
Not all veterans need this step – some vets are ready to file a VA benefits appeal right away. We help all veterans apply for free. If you win benefits based upon the application alone, you pay your Woods & Woods VA disability compensation lawyer nothing. Many veterans first went to a free legal service that botched their VA benefits application. We regularly see free veterans legal services leave many service-connected conditions off the VA benefits application, particularly secondary conditions because they used a cookie-cutter approach to filing a claim. From what we have seen, many veterans and free services do not understand how to use evidence, make relevant legal arguments, or service-connect secondary conditions.
Step Three: Your Legal Team is Assigned
If you are not happy with the VA benefit rating you received on the application, you have the option to hire a VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods & Woods. If you hire us, you will be assigned to a VA benefit legal team that consists of VA disability compensation lawyer, case managers, team leaders, and other support staff. This legal team is going to get you through the complex VA appeals process timeline together. We have various departments in our law firm that are responsible for handling particular items in your veterans benefits case and everything will be coordinated by your case manager and VA disability compensation lawyer.
Step Four: Request Medical and Service Records
Your legal team at Woods & Woods is going to start your VA benefits case by requesting all of your medical and service records. We will request your C-File, medical records from private doctors, all medical records from the VA, service records, and other evidence we think we need to win your claim. Your VA disability compensation lawyer will coordinate all this with our records department that is responsible for gathering all of this information for clients.
Step Five: Create a Custom Case Plan
Once we have gathered and reviewed all of your medical and service records, it’s time to create a custom case plan. The case plan is a road map for your VA disability compensation lawyer and their legal team to follow. The case plan ensures that your VA disability compensation lawyer takes every step necessary to win your claim. The case plan allows all members of the VA benefits team to know the legal strategy behind every case. Our case analyst department is responsible for writing the case plan with your VA disability compensation lawyer. These legal professionals comb through all medical records, examine what is missing, and do some pretty serious research to link conditions to military service. Many VA benefit case plans also order doctor reports, which are explained in the next section.
Step Six: Create Medical Records That Are Needed
Your VA disability compensation lawyer is likely to order the doctor coordinator department at Woods & Woods to schedule interviews from our team of medical professionals. Most veterans will need a nexus letter from a doctor that explains why their disabilities are considered service-connected. Veterans claiming mental conditions may need a report from a psychologist or other mental health professional. If your case is a cancer claim, we may use a report from our oncologists. Woods & Woods has a large team of medical specialists that help our clients win their claims. We will later explain the reasons for using VA disability experts and specialists in great depth.
Step Seven: Gather Lay and Buddy Statements as Needed
Your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods & Woods may order our lay statement writer department to get in contact with your family, friends, and people you served with years ago. Veterans can use statements from friends and family members to prove military service caused or worsened their mental and physical conditions. Veterans can also use buddy statements from people they served with to prove events happened that are missing from their service records. For example, many enemy engagements or sexual assaults are not documented or are missing from veteran’s service records. But you can use statements from fellow service members to verify these events did happen. Woods & Woods has a department of staff dedicated to working with your friends, family members, and people you served with to gather these statements.
Step Eight: Craft a Solid Legal Brief
Once your VA disability compensation lawyer and their legal team have gathered all the necessary evidence, it’s time to write your legal arguments into a brief. Your VA disability compensation brief can make or break your claim. You have one shot to prove your service-connected disabilities to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). Crafting BVA briefs is an art. Woods & Woods has successfully filed thousands of briefs with the BVA. We know what language, laws, rules, case precedent, and regulations to use to win VA benefit appeals.
Step Nine: Decide Where to go After the BVA’s Decision
The BVA can approve, deny, or remand your veterans benefits claim. If you are approved, we may potentially continue the claim if we think there is missing back pay. The VA regularly uses the wrong effective date or miscalculates veteran’s back pay. If you are denied at the BVA, we may help you take your claim to the CAVC. The BVA may alternatively remand your claim back to the Regional Office. BVA remanded decisions are common. If this happens to you, your VA disability compensation lawyer will get you through the remand process which can be lengthy.
Can I afford a VA disability compensation lawyer?
Yes, you can afford a VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods. We understand that many disabled veterans are going through rough financial times when dealing with a severe disability. That is one of the many reasons Woods & Woods never asks for money upfront. Your VA disability compensation lawyer does not bill by the hour. Phone calls with your VA disability compensation lawyer are also free. We will explain the costs associated with hiring a VA disability compensation lawyer below.
There is never an obligation to hire a VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods & Woods just because you called and had a legal consultation. Lots of veterans have questions about their VA benefits claims and we are always happy to answer them. We can discuss your legal options and help explain what to do next at no cost.
Help With the Application is Free
Woods & Woods has helped thousands of veterans obtain VA benefit ratings by the application alone. We do not charge anything for help with your application. If you obtain VA benefits with your initial application, there is no fee to Woods & Woods. There’s no catch, except this: you’re going to be happy with our customer service and tell your friends. If you need to appeal your Rating Decision, we are convinced you will feel Woods & Woods is the right firm to hire. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, would you?
Payment Only Accepted if Appeal Won
If you decide to hire a VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods for your benefit appeal, you only pay if we win. If you are denied or do not obtain a higher rating by appealing, there is no fee. The way you pay Woods and Woods is through your back pay awarded if the appeal is won. Woods and Woods VA benefits appeals lawyers would receive a percentage of the back pay and case expenses only if the appeal is successful.
If Appeal is Unsuccessful, No Payment
If your appeal is not successful, you pay your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods nothing. If we don’t win your appeal, we don’t expect a penny. Clients that do not win their appeals do not pay case expenses either. If we don’t do everything in our power to win, you shouldn’t be on the hook for costs associated with the case. It is not fair to charge clients you let down. Imagine if every business worked like this, you only pay when people do great work!
We Will Never Touch Your Future Benefits
Our fee is only a percentage of the back pay and case expenses if you win. Your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods will not get paid off your future benefits. Many veterans believe a lawyer can get a percentage of all future benefits and that simply is not true. If you hire us, you will see how straight-forward our fee agreements are and you will understand how a scenario like this is not possible.
Why should I get a VA disability compensation lawyer?
Lots of disabled veterans are denied benefits simply because they do not submit relevant or convincing evidence to prove their claims. We see many veterans and free service organizations assume that the documents in the veteran’s C-File are enough to win the claim. That is flat out wrong! Many veterans and free service organizations do not have the resources to obtain these medical reports. Woods & Woods has spent millions of dollars obtaining reports from experts for clients over the years. Strong evidence wins cases.
The best way to win your VA disability compensation claim is to use great evidence. Your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods will be responsible for obtaining the convincing evidence needed to prove you are disabled and deserve benefits. Proper use of evidence is one of the main reasons you need a skilled and experienced VA disability compensation lawyer.
Your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods may work with experts to help prove your claim. In most claims, we use medical experts because they can provide the link between your service-connected condition and your military service. We can’t explain how important it is to obtain evidence that is outside of the C-File to win a VA disability compensation claim. The video below covers some examples of medical experts we may use. Below the video, we will explain who these experts are and how their evidence can help your claim.
Experts your VA disability compensation lawyer may use:
Doctors Outside the VA
Woods & Woods often hires doctors outside the Veterans Administration. These doctors will review your medical records and make reports. The evidence these doctors provide helps veterans win their VA disability compensation claims. Your VA disability compensation lawyer will work with the doctor to create detailed reports that service-connect your conditions. Some reports may be used to prove secondary service-connected conditions as well. Woods & Woods has built a network of doctors we use that specialize in certain practices.
When the VA denies a cancer claim or a related-illnesses service-connection, you can expect your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods to consult with an oncologist. For example, reports can be written by oncologists to prove military base toxic exposure claims. Oncologists can write reports that detail how the specific toxins a veteran was exposed to can cause the type of cancer the veteran is appealing. Oncologists reports can also be used to prove secondary service-connected conditions to the cancer and the treatment of the cancer. Woods & Woods has won several complicated toxic exposure claims through dedicated medical research and the help of an oncologist.
Veterans wishing to receive VA disability compensation for mental conditions can help prove their disability’s service-connection with reports by expert psychologists. Woods & Woods regularly works with psychologists to provide reports that help veterans win their cases. Disabled veterans need to show the VA they have these mental conditions and how it is related to their time in the military. Your VA disability compensation lawyer will use the psychologist’s report to link all the evidence in your claim together. The report of an expert psychologist can also show the severity of mental conditions in hopes of obtaining a higher ratings.
Your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods will often work with vocational experts to prove you are disabled and cannot work from service-connected disabilities. Veterans wishing to receive Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits will need to prove their service-connected impairments prevent them from keeping or obtaining meaningful employment. A vocational expert’s report is often considered crucial evidence that can help you win your case. Our veterans unemployability lawyers have successfully used vocational experts reports for many client’s claims. Just so you know, Woods and Woods has teams of Individual Unemployability lawyers that focus on nothing but TDIU benefits.
FAQ: Hiring a VA Disability Compensation Lawyer
Will it cost me to talk to a VA disability compensation lawyer about my case?
No. Woods & Woods offers free VA disability compensation claim evaluations to any veteran or family member of a veteran that needs help. There is never fee to call a VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods & Woods. Feel free to call us and ask all the questions you have about VA disability compensation. We want you to understand your legal options as a veteran. Many veterans that are entitled to VA disability compensation never look into it because the task looks too daunting. Just remember, our lawyers are here to help disabled veterans.
Does the VA disability compensation appeal process take longer with a lawyer?
No. Your VA disability compensation lawyer at Woods and Woods submits everything to the VA as quickly as possible. The VA appeals process is slow and there is currently a backlog of over 400,000 appeals. Some appeals can easily take anywhere from three to seven years if they are complicated. Most of the cases’ time is spent just sitting at the VA waiting for someone to process the various requests. The length of time required is frustrating to clients and their VA disability compensation lawyer.
Does Woods & Woods accept every case?
No. Sometimes we look at a claim and realize we know a VA disability compensation lawyer that focuses on their particular type of benefit claim. Just like a doctor sending you to a specialist for a specific medical condition, we will sometimes do the same thing with attorneys. Woods and Woods has a huge national network of VA disability compensation attorneys to help as many veterans as possible.
How long do I have to file a VA disability compensation appeal?
Veterans have one year to file an appeal from the date on their Rating Decision letter. If you have waited longer than one year and let your appeal period collapse, you still have options. You can re-apply and open another VA disability compensation benefits claim.
Does Woods & Woods help with VA rating increases?
Yes. A lawyer can help increase your VA disability rating. If your impairments have worsened or if you received a low-rating, we may be able to help. The VA is known for denying disability rating increases to veterans. The VA often denies rating increases due to lack of evidence because the veteran is not treating with doctors currently. There are ways around this, but you’re probably going to need to appeal.
Can lawyers handle VA claims for widows of veterans?
Yes. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits for widows of veterans are available if the veteran died of service-connected conditions or complications from service-connected conditions. Woods and Woods has helped many widows through the VA process during tough times in their lives. Losing a spouse is hard – let us deal with the VA for you. Our DIC veteran widow benefits attorneys are compassionate, caring, yet tough on the VA.
Why use a Woods & Woods VA disability compensation lawyer?
We have successfully represented thousands of disabled veterans.
Since 1985, Woods & Woods law firm has represented injured and disabled veterans. Our VA disability compensation attorneys have assisted thousands of veterans and their families. Woods & Woods fights for veterans that have been denied VA benefits. Too often, the Veterans Administration makes mistakes and we will hold them responsible.
Our VA disability compensation lawyers are nationally recognized.
The VA disability compensation lawyers at Woods and Woods have decades of experience. Some of our VA disability compensation attorneys teach VA law at national conferences. Other law firms come to Woods & Woods to learn VA law. We share our knowledge in the hopes that veterans get the help they deserve; whether they hire our law firm or not. Our VA disability compensation attorneys’ mission is to get as many disabled veterans as we can the benefits they deserve.
You only pay your VA disability compensation lawyer if you win!
Our law firm never charges a penny unless you win. The fee for getting your VA disability benefits is a percentage of your back pay and case expenses. If you lose your VA claim, you don’t owe us a penny. Our law firm never asks clients for money upfront. Clients will never be billed by the hour or charged for phone calls.
Get free advice on your VA disability compensation claim.
If you have questions about VA disability compensation benefits, you can always call Woods & Woods. We will help guide you through the complex VA system. For free, we will give you a case analysis and help you determine what you should do next. There is never a fee for help with the initial application to apply for VA disability compensation benefits.
Get a VA disability compensation lawyer that will fight for you.
Too many veterans are denied VA disability benefits. The Veterans Administration makes lots of mistakes and denies legitimate claims all the time. Woods & Woods VA compensation benefits attorneys have filed thousands of benefit appeals. We know how to help you get benefits after a denial. Our VA disability compensation attorneys are tough and fight the VA for disabled veterans every day.