The military frequently used large, open-air burn pits to dispose of waste at military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although VA’s current position is to research the long-term effects of burn pit exposure, the Agency maintains the current medical literature “does not show evidence of long-term health problems from exposure to burn pits.” Considering second-hand cigarette smoke is dangerous for humans, long-term exposure to smoke from burning chemicals, human waste, petroleum, tires, trash, metals, and munitions is similarly likely to have long-term impacts on Veterans. Veterans should file burn pit claims if burn pit exposure may have caused or aggravated their current medical condition(s).
Future medical and scientific research will likely require VA to update its official opinion on burn pit exposure. In the meantime, Veteran Esquire Legal Solutions, PLLC, will push VA to recognize the effects of burn pit exposure. The Firm vigorously represents Veterans in appealing burn pit exposure claims at all levels of the VA appeals process.
Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Have Options And Should File Claims For Their Burn Pit-Related Conditions
Veterans impacted by burn pit exposure may assert their rights under the Gulf War Presumptive rules, and they may also file a claim on a direct basis. It is important that transitioning Service Members and new Veterans file their claims as soon as possible. Statistics show that claims have a higher rate of success if filed within one year of discharge.
Veterans filing burn pit claims may attempt to have their claims granted using the Gulf War Presumptive Rules. Generally, the strategy is to rely upon the unexplained nature of your illnesses, not simply relying upon your exposure to burn pits. Using this strategy, burn pit exposure would be but one of many environmental factors that could have caused your condition. To be successful, the condition(s) you claim must be of the type that fits the criteria of the chronic, multi-symptom or undiagnosed condition addressed by the Gulf War presumptive rules.
Additionally, Veterans may use the direct theory of service connection by proving that their condition was “at least as likely as not” caused by exposure to burn pits. These are often difficult cases to win. To win, you usually must obtain an opinion from a doctor that contains sufficient detail and rationale linking your current condition to burn pit exposure. Obtaining an expert medical opinion is often critical to success in these cases.
It Is Important To Have The Help of a Skilled Advocate When Preparing Burn Pit Claims
Burn pit and Gulf War Presumptive cases can be tricky for VA to get right. In many cases, a skilled VSO can help you file the necessary paperwork to have your claim granted. However, if the Board of Veterans Appeals denied your burn pit claim, you should consult with a Veterans law attorney. Veteran Esquire Legal Solutions, PLLC, stands ready to represent you with your burn pit case at any level of the VA appeals process. The Firm’s attorney offers free consultations, and in most instances, can represent you with no upfront costs to you. In most instances the Firm will arrange the fee agreement so that if you do not receive a successful result, we do not get paid. Contact Veteran Esquire Legal Solutions today to schedule a free consultation.