What If My Claim Involves Two or More Medical Specialties? Do You Hire Separate Experts?

Many veterans who are injured during their service must face multiple serious disabling conditions. In some cases, one injury can lead to a host of secondary conditions. It is also possible for a single incident to result in two unique disabilities. In either scenario, it may be necessary to rely on the guidance of multiple medical experts during the VA disability claims process. 

However, this process can be costly. The good news is that at Elite Medical Review Associates, we may be able to connect you with an expert who can write a convincing VA nexus letter for all of your health issues.

Am I Required to Hire a Specialist for Each Disability?

There is nothing preventing you from hiring a specialist to prepare a VA nexus letter for every condition you have. This approach is certainly the most thorough option but also the costliest. A single VA letter for one disability can be a substantial cost on its own, and doubling or tripling those expenses for secondary disability claims is more than many people can afford. 

At Elite Medical Review Associates, we can recommend one of many established internal medicine doctors to handle all of your claims. Our experts have a broad range of experience, and the chances are good that we can connect you with a doctor capable of providing a medical opinion on the service connection for each of your disabling conditions. 

These doctors are often able to address primary and secondary disabilities. For example, they may be able to not only address the connection to a traumatic injury, but also any common mental health conditions that might occur in the aftermath. Let our team help you review your options and determine the right expert for your claim.

Can I Write My Own Letters?

You cannot write a nexus letter on your own (unless you have formal medical training), as these documents must be authored by trained medical professionals. However, you can write and submit a personal statement on your own behalf that includes a detailed account of your service-connected issues as well as any medical research you can find that supports your case. You can discuss your symptoms, but unless you have some medical training, you cannot give opinions on the causation of your disability.

In some ways, these letters function the same as a Nexus letter. You have the opportunity to provide your own evidence, and you can do medical research using peer-reviewed journals to support your case. While this is functionally similar to a nexus letter, it is unlikely that the decision-makers at the VA will give it the same weight. The source of a letter is as important as its contents, given that, ultimately, these documents are medical opinions. 

There are other steps you can take to improve your chances of success, however. One of the most impactful things you can do when it comes to establishing that your disability is related to your military service is obtaining what’s known as a “buddy letter.” This type of correspondence is written by someone you served with who can attest to the service-related incident you believe caused your disability. These documents will not provide a medical opinion, but they can bolster your case regarding service connection. 

It is also worth noting that you are not out of luck if you submit your claim without a formal nexus letter only to have it denied. You have the opportunity to appeal, and that provides you with the option to submit a nexus letter as additional evidence. In fact, many of the veterans we support only reach out after their initial claim is denied.

Will a Nexus Letter Guarantee Success for Both of my Claims?

When it comes to VA disability claims, the unfortunate reality is that there are no guarantees. It is possible for your claim to be denied despite having a strongly written nexus letter from a medical specialist experienced in treating your condition. These doctors cannot guarantee a favorable outcome despite their excellent credentials or hard work.

To understand if a letter is likely to be successful or not, it is helpful to know the standard used by the VA. In order to be helpful, the medical professional authoring your letter must express the belief that it is at least as likely as not that your disability is related to your service. In other words, they must believe there is at least a 50 percent chance of a service connection. 

Even if your report meets this standard, there is no guarantee that the decision-makers within the VA will agree. It is possible for a claim to be denied despite providing a nexus letter. The same is true for receiving benefits but at a much lower level than you expected. 

The good news is that your nexus letter could still be valuable on appeal. If you hire a lawyer to appeal your denial, they can use the same medical opinion in your letter to argue that the VA misread the report or made a mistake along the way.

When Can I Submit a Nexus Letter?

Whether you pursue one or more VA nexus letters, the process is the same. For starters, there are multiple points where submitting a nexus letter is an option. Some people choose to do so while filing their initial claim, while others only submit a letter on appeal or after they hire a lawyer. 

We recommend providing nexus letters early on in the process. It is not uncommon for a strong letter to be the deciding factor for receiving disability benefits on an initial claim. In other words, the difference between securing compensation or struggling through the appeals process is obtaining your letter at the start of the process. This is because establishing a link between your disability and your service is often the most contentious part of obtaining benefits. 

Of course, not everyone is in the position to pay for a nexus letter upfront. They can be costly, and veterans on a limited budget may need time to save up for them. This is especially true if you choose to pursue two individual letters based on having more than one service-related disability. 

If you are one of approximately 30 percent of all veterans who have their disability claim denied, it is important that you take steps to strengthen your case. At Elite Medical Review Associates, we can help you maximize your chance of success on appeal by connecting you to an expert who understands your condition.

What Should A Letter for Multiple Disabilities Include?

In every situation, a nexus letter should begin with a concise explanation of your disabilities and how they relate to your service. Because you have multiple conditions, it is vital that your letter makes that clear right away. It should also note, when applicable, if one or more of your issues are secondary conditions related to your primary disability. 

Your letter should go into detail regarding your medical history, as you will need documented proof of your symptoms in order to establish that your condition is real. Your statement will go beyond your medical history, as it is also necessary to include documentation on the service-related event that led to your injury or illness.  It should also recite that the medical professional reviewed the relevant portion of your claims file.

 There should also be rationale and references. This could include the details that a doctor relied on to come to their conclusion. They might reference statements made by people you served with or highlight aspects of your medical records that strengthen your claim. 

Doctors and other medical professionals will typically rely on scholarly journals that highlight how your condition could be explained by a service-related event. While peer-reviewed research is not enough on its own, combining it with observations of your condition could make for a strong argument. 

Finally, the medical expert writing your VA nexus letter should come to a conclusion on how each of your conditions is related to your service. This conclusion should be based on your statement as well as any supporting medical research relied upon by your doctor. For a letter to be valuable, it must conclude that it is at least as likely as not that your disability resulted from your service.

Let Elite Medical Review Associates Provide Your VA Nexus Letter For All Your Conditions

Dealing with a single disabling condition can be a challenge, especially if your claim for VA compensation has already been denied. If you have multiple disabilities related to your service, it is vital that you make the strongest possible case during your application for benefits. 

A key component of your claim is a nexus letter. Elite Medical Review Associates can not only connect you with a physician able to provide a letter for all of your conditions, but we can also advise you on other issues along the way. Contact us as soon as possible to learn more. 

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