When it comes to hiring the right veterans claims attorney near you, you might have to make a choice—hire the right VA claims lawyer or hire the lawyer nearest you. Since legal work can be done online, when you need to make a choice, hire the best, not the nearest. 

VA disability law is federal law, which means that VA disability lawyers do not have to be qualified in any particular state. All your lawyer needs is for the VA to accredit them to represent veterans. Once you have narrowed the field down to a shortlist of qualified VA lawyers, then consider distance. Remember that a lot goes into making an effective VA disability lawyer.

When You Need a VA Disability Lawyer

There are several scenarios when you are likely to need a VA disability lawyer.

Your Claim Was Denied

Talk to a lawyer if the VA has already sent you a claim denial letter and you don’t like your chances on appeal. This might seem like the end of the world to you, but it need not be the end of the story. Although the appeal process is complex, we have navigated it many times before, and we can navigate it for you. Your chances of ultimate success are much, much better if you retain a lawyer.

Your Veteran Service Organization Couldn’t Give You the Help You Needed

If you tried working with a veteran service organization (VSO) and you were not satisfied, you may find that an experienced VA disability lawyer could help you. Although many VSOs are dedicated and competent, some of them are not. Even those that are often struggle with more complex claims. Many of our clients come to us seeking representation for an appeal because a VSO error resulted in the initial denial of their claim.

You’re Frustrated by Handling the Claim on Your Own

If you’ve been trying to handle your claim on your own, you may have reached your wit’s end. Rest assured, you are not alone—frustration is the norm for a disabled veteran dealing with the VA alone. We know how to navigate the VA system, and we will take care of everything for you so that you can focus on safeguarding your health.

Your Claim Is Complex 

VSOs are often ideal for simple claims. The  more complex they get, however, the more you are going to need the professional experience of a licensed attorney to help you navigate the VA legal minefield. Individual unemployability benefits claims, for example, are notoriously complicated. Complex claims require a lot of evidence that must be prepared in a particular manner.

When Do You Not Need a VA Disability Lawyer?

You may not need a VA disability lawyer if you are merely applying for benefits for the first time. In that case, you could be better off seeking the free-of-charge assistance of a VSO.

How the VA Qualifies Attorneys to Represent VA Disability Claimants

An aspiring VA claims lawyer must apply for VA training to help veterans navigate the VA benefits system. This training teaches lawyers about the VA compensation system as well as some of the legal nuances involved in pursuing VA disability claims. The VA will then accredit the lawyer to represent claimants before the VA. An accredited VA claims lawyer must meet certain standards of professional conduct and continuing education to remain accredited.

What to Look for in a VA Disability Lawyer

The best veteran disability attorneys combine many of the same skills that make any lawyer outstanding, with a specific skill set dedicated to handling VA disability claims. The first qualification to look out for, of course, is VA accreditation. Without this qualification, the lawyer is not even qualified to represent you. The lawyer should also be part of a generally successful practice to demonstrate their skills as a lawyer.

In addition to the foregoing qualifications, the following personal qualities are important:

  • Caring: If the lawyer doesn’t care about your claim, nothing else matters. If they do care about your claim, every other positive quality possessed by your lawyer is magnified. There is no mathematical formula for determining how much your lawyer cares. It’s a gut feeling you get from talking to them.
  • The ability to listen: Your lawyer cannot understand your claim or your concerns unless they listen. When you speak with your lawyer, note how many and what kinds of questions they ask. Observe how much attention they are paying to what you are saying.
  • Patience: Dealing with VA disability claims can be tedious, and it often involves dealing, directly or indirectly, with tiresome VA representatives. Patience also applies to how thoroughly your lawyer explains the claims procedure to you.
  • Judgment: Ultimately, you are the decision-maker in your own case. When it comes to tactics, however, your lawyer will likely be making a lot of small decisions that could determine the outcome of your claim. Sound judgment is a must.
  • Integrity: Your lawyer represents you and only you. Any lawyer who allows their loyalties to be compromised, or who sacrifices your interests in favor of theirs, doesn’t belong in practice.
  • Knowledge: Your lawyer must be familiar not only with the broad strokes of VA disability law, but also with the little nuances that have been defined by case law. They must be able to apply facts to the law to come up with plausible and persuasive inferences.
  • Persistence: Some claims require the lawyer to stick to them like a bulldog. A good VA claims lawyer will have successfully resolved claims, through sheer persistence, that initially appeared hopeless.

If you are unsure whether your lawyer possesses any of the above-described attributes, try looking on the Internet for comments from former clients. Your lawyer’s most obvious personal qualities will come through again and again, for better or for worse.

We Will Help You Fight Back! Start Today

A VA claim denial, or an unsatisfactory result, doesn’t have to be the end of the road for you. Thousands of disabled veterans have overcome this obstacle, and so can you. Experience counsels that your chances of eventual success, however, are much better if you retain a VA claims lawyer. 

The veterans disability attorneys at Gerling Law serve clients from throughout the nation and even overseas. Call us at 866-311-2894 or contact us online for a free claim evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Author Photo

Gayle Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

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