September 18, 2018, Washington, DC – Bergmann & Moore attorneys prevailed on behalf of a peacetime Veteran who originally sought disability compensation benefits for his sleep apnea from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) more than six years ago.
In July 2012, the Veteran filed his claim for a sleep disorder. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea by a private provider in October 2013. The Veteran alleged his sleep apnea began while he was in the Navy during the 1980s. However, in February 2013, the local VA Regional Office (RO) denied his claim, arguing his sleep apnea was not related to his military service. After the RO reconsidered his claim and requested a second Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam, the RO denied his claim again.
In May 2015, the Veteran appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) in Washington, DC. In April 2017, the Board denied his appeal. He appealed on his own to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court), also located in Washington, DC. Shortly thereafter, the Veteran contacted Bergmann & Moore seeking legal representation before the Court.
In August 2018, a judge at the Court issued a memorandum decision in favor of the Veteran. The judge concluded that VA made errors in how it handled the Veteran’s sleep apnea claim:
– The Board failed to explain to the Veteran why VA’s second C&P exam was adequate, even though the Board should have provided an explanation when the adequacy of the C&P exam was challenged by the Veteran.
– VA’s C&P examiner improperly considered only unfavorable medical evidence from the Navy about the Veteran.
– VA’s C&P examiner and the Board failed to address favorable medical evidence the Veteran had a sleep disorder. His Navy records included documented complaints of oversleeping, headaches, daytime sleepiness, and a request for a medical referral for his sleep problems.
– VA also ignored evidence of conflicting Navy medical evidence – some records reflected a suspected sleep disorder and other records reported no sleep disorder.
Due to VA’s errors, the Court remanded (sent back) the Veteran’s claim to the Board to decide his sleep apnea claim again, this time using all of the evidence.
B&M is honored to assist Veterans with their VA disability compensation appeals at an RO, the Board, or the Court. If you are not satisfied with VA’s decision on your disability claim, then please contact Bergmann & Moore for a free consultation at 877-208-5964 or info@VetLawyers.com.