Another form of service connection that Veterans may not be aware of is an 1151 VA claim. Service connection based on 1151 VA claims refers to the statute 38 CFR § 1151. Unlike the other forms of service connection, this type does not involve service connection for a condition that arose due to service. Instead, it is service connection for a condition that arose due to the circumstances of VA care. Specifically, it applies to disabilities or death that result from “hospital care, medical or surgical treatment, or examination” by a VA medical professional or facility, or due to participation in a program of vocational rehabilitation. For 1151 claims, veterans must show that the treatment or the care that they received at a VA facility was negligent or lacking in proper skill in some way that caused their current disabilities. Furthermore, it must be a disability that is not reasonably foreseen based on the type of care being received. If you enter a surgery with many known associated risks and something arises from that surgery that is common, it is not likely that an 1151 claim will be granted.
Veterans can also file 1151 claims if they were injured while participating in a vocational rehabilitation program or a compensated work therapy program. Veterans do not actually have to show that there was any negligence at the fault of VA, but that the injury or event happened while participating in one of these programs. Medical evidence is extremely important in these claims, particularly because they are very hard to prove. Veterans should try to submit evidence from the time of their treatment as well as a nexus opinion showing that their disability is linked to the in-treatment injury or accident.
Finally, a veteran’s surviving spouse or dependent can file an 1151 claim. They would need to show that the veteran’s death was due to negligent care on VA’s behalf. They are going to need strong medical evidence to show that there was some sort of negligence or deviation from the standard of care that they would normally be receiving that then resulted in their death.
If you have questions about a certain condition or believe you might be eligible for service connection or need help appealing a recent denial for service connection, please call our office, and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call the office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama.