When Georgia Veterans are looking for VA disability lawyers in their area, it’s likely they’re searching for the best and most experienced attorneys to handle their cases.
This is because navigating your VA disability claim can be a long and frustrating process. If you’re searching for attorneys on the internet, it’s more than likely your benefits claim has already been denied, or you feel your disability rating isn’t high enough to match your level of impairment.
Retaining the services of a law firm to represent you during a VA disability claim is an investment that can help give you the best chance of winning benefits. However, you want to ensure that you’re making the right investment.
Veterans typically seek benefits when:
- They suffer a disabling injury or illness during their service.
- An existing condition is worsened during their service.
- A service-connected disability worsens after being discharged.
- A secondary condition is caused by a service-connected disability that’s been approved.
The right attorney will have the qualifications, experience, and focus on their clients’ needs that Georgia Veterans need and deserve.
The best way to find an attorney to represent your VA disability claim is to talk to them. Lawyers often offer a free initial case consultation, which is an opportunity for you to interview them and see if they’re able to meet your expectations as a client.
But what qualities should you seek in a lawyer? What makes a lawyer more qualified to handle the unique circumstances of your claim?
Here are some tips to help you find the best Georgia VA disability lawyers near you.
The Best Georgia VA Disability Lawyers Are Qualified and Accredited
When seeking legal representation, you want not only a disability lawyer, but one who specializes in VA disability law.
Some lawyers practice specific types of disability law or have gained a majority of their experiences in these areas. For instance, a lawyer might specialize in Social Security disability or Workers’ Compensation claims. However, this type of specialization won’t translate to success for your VA disability case.
Your attorney should have experience with Veterans’ disability claims, including assisting clients with appealing benefits denials and earning higher disability ratings.
They should be properly trained in Veterans’ disability law. VA disability lawyers are required to undergo periodic training to keep current with the laws in their area of practice.
Also, your attorney must be VA-accredited. The VA requires all attorneys, agents, and Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representatives to be accredited in order to represent Veterans’ disability benefits cases.
According to the VA Office of General Counsel, you should be aware that “unaccredited individuals who prepare, present, or prosecute VA benefit claims, or hold themselves out as being authorized to do so, are in violation of Federal law.”
You can verify accreditation using the VA’s accreditation search tool.
It’s also important to know whether your lawyer is qualified to represent you should you need to appeal all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). When your claim is denied by the VA and Board of Veterans’ Appeals, you would next need to appeal to CAVC.
The Best Georgia VA Disability Lawyers Are People You Can Trust
When retaining legal counsel to help with your claim, you’ll want an attorney who will give you an honest assessment of the facts and potential timeline of your case. They will go over the specific details of your disability and your chances of success, as well as the potential fees and other conditions of them representing you.
The best lawyers are candid with their clients, and they do not offer false promises. No lawyer can guarantee success. If they try to convince you of a certain outcome as a sure thing, they are being dishonest.
An attorney should also be able to answer any questions you have about the facts of your claim, their experience and ability to represent you, and any potential fees and conditions.
The Best Georgia VA Disability Lawyers Are Invested in the Community
The best attorneys care about their community and Veteran population, and they value their local reputation. Other Veterans in the community may be familiar with attorneys who’re invested in their clients, communicate honestly with them, and act as dedicated advocates.
Often, you can find a qualified attorney who represents VA disability cases by asking friends, relatives, or others you trust to recommend a firm they’ve used.
Note: It’s important to recognize that just because an attorney was a good fit for one Veteran’s disability claim, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be the best match for you.
Use these personal recommendations as a starting point, but also be sure you are making a decision based on the unique circumstances of your case.
When You Need the Best Georgia VA Disability Lawyers, They Advocate for You
There are instances where you may decide you don’t need to consult an attorney for your benefits claim. For example, when you file your initial claim, the process is free and the VA can assist you with navigating the steps of medically proving your level of disability.
In addition, you can appeal a negative outcome yourself through the VA’s appeal process, including:
- A Board Appeal
- A higher-level review, or
- A supplemental claim to submit additional medical evidence
While accredited representatives or VSOs can help you understand the process of navigating your claim, the fact is that it can be complicated and frustrating, and it can take months if not years to reach a final decision in your case.
While the VA offers a variety of resources for Veterans seeking benefits, an attorney acts as a dedicated advocate. They will help you understand not only what your options are at each stage, but which decisions and evidence are likely to maximize your chance of a decision in your favor.
If your VA Disability claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck & Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for decades. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 795-7165.