Benefits of an attorney
Attorneys unlike Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) are accountable, have expertise with administrative law, court rules, and understand how to articulate a position with evidence to prove the claim. Once your case reaches the CAVC, this Court only reviews the record it has before the court. The record consists of almost everything submitted during the VA claims processes culminating with the BVA denial of the veteran’s claim. Waiting until the a claim reaches the CAVC to hire an attorney means your “record” is established, and the attorney must now show error occurred at the VA or BVA.
Once a case is at the CAVC the case becomes an adversarial case. The VA no longer has a duty to assist you. The VA will be represented by their attorneys whose job it is to represent the VA’s position. At this point the BVA (a part of the VA) has determined your claim is without merit or you are not entitled to the benefit. Once at the CAVC, you cannot now “prove your claim” by calling witnesses and “proving your case at trial.” The trial and evidence phase are over and lawyers from the VA will be in the U.S. Court of Veterans Claims to argue the VA’s position your claim is without merit and the Court should uphold the BVA denial.
There are a lot of reasons to hire an attorney early — one is to properly and thoroughly review your records and present your claim backed by medical evidence.