Read Your Findings Carefully, as Mistakes Happen!
In a recent Navy disability case, I was retained to represent a service member who had lost his case at a formal hearing. However, upon reviewing the case file, the audio recording and the decision itself, I found that the board members had incorrectly assigned the member a 20% disability rating for a shoulder injury to his dominant arm when the evidence cited to justify their decision showed that he was limited to less than 45 degrees on flexion. Under the criteria established for such a shoulder injury by VA Code 5201, a limitation on motion in flexion or abduction in the dominant arm to 45 degrees or less mandates the award of a 30% disability rating. Somehow, this case passed legal and quality review at the Navy Yard. We fixed it, but the lesson to be learned is to read all decisions carefully, as errors are possible