Lay statements are any statements made by the veteran, family members, friends, neighbors, or service buddies who make an oral statement during a hearing, or make a written declaration or written statement (preferably an affidavit signed and notarized under oath) regarding the veterans disability.
Lay statements refer statements made by people lacking professional medical expertise, laypersons, or people who are not medical professionals, and therefore cannot make medical diagnosis or prove medical facts.
But as anyone knows there are many things that a lay person can observe, such as seeing the veteran bleeding, seeing the veteran injured, seeing the veteran walking with a limp, or describing the laypersons observations and so forth. This may even include stating a diagnosis a medical professional told the layperson. A layperson cannot provide a diagnosis of diabetes, but the layperson can document the diagnosis a medical provider stated to the veteran or the layperson.
Lay statements are useful to document events that a person who is not a medical provider observed regarding the veteran. These lay statements can fill in missing information. The more factual the statements the better.
The Federal Circuit in Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2007), stated there are times a lay person is competent to testify to a medical condition.
[l]ay evidence can be competent and sufficient to establish a diagnosis of a condition when (1) a lay person is competent to identify the medical condition, (2) the layperson is reporting a contemporaneous medical diagnosis, or (3) lay testimony describing symptoms at the time supports a later diagnosis by a medical professional.
If you have been denied a claim, and filed your first notice of disagreement (NOD) on or after June 20, 2007, please contact the Law Office of Robert B Goss, P.C. for assistance in appealing your denial. https://www.attorneyforveterans.com/
An example of a good lay statement will be factual, provide enough details to verify the event or injury. For example:
I injured my knees during an attack at Choksong Korea, while assigned to the 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. On January 1, 1951, our platoon came under enemy mortar attack while I was assigned to the front lines. We were atop a hilltop and freezing. Without thinking we decided to start a fire to get warm. Moments after we started the fire, the enemy forces started shelling our position with mortars. Our fire had become visible to every enemy soldier withing eyesight, we had created a beacon – – hey here we are. As the first shells landed, I leaped over the side of the hill, thinking it was about a 5 foot drop. Instead it was at least a 20 foot fall to a narrow ledge on the side of the hill. When I landed I severely injured my knees, and twisted my right ankle. However, I was still alive. The following morning our unit was rescued and I was hoisted off the ledge and carried to the aid station. Since that day, my knees have hurt me and I walk with a limp
An example of a lay statement that has no helpful information may include a grant against how stupid the VA’s, were something that I see quite often:
I was injured during the war.
No other information is provided. this type a statement does not provide the VA with any useful information to verify the injury. The exception would be during the hearing, where I could elicit more information regarding the combat operation.
On the other hand if the statement was “I was injured playing flickerball.” Yes even this most deadly a sports, is going to need something more than this statement.
This is where a buddy statement would be appropriate, stating that
you were assigned to Squadron Officer School with Lieut. Snuffy and during a thrilling flickerball game 2Lt. Snuffy was injured. I personally helped carry 2nd Lieut. Snuffy off the field, where he was then transported to the 43rd Air Base Wing’s hospital and treated for a broken ankle. Later that evening 2nd Lieutenant Snuffy return to the barracks with a pair of crutches and his leg in a cast. I remember this clearly, since Lieut. Snuffy was not a pilot, but just a navigator, his cast was only signed by paratroopers.
Hopefully my son the paratrooper has quit reading by now, and for that matter all my crewmates who are navigators. Remember I love you all.
On the other hand if you have a claim for VA disability benefits and you have been denied, filed your first NOD on or after June 20, 2007, and you need assistance please contact The Law Office of Robert B Goss, P.C. at https://www.attorneyforveterans.com/