BVA1455333: Causal Nexus

Citation Nr: 1455333 Decision Date: 12/16/14 Archive Date: 12/24/14 DOCKET NO. 12-14 433

FINDING OF FACT

The Veteran has been diagnosed with PTSD medically linked to an established in-service stressor related to engaging in combat with the enemy.

CONCLUSION OF LAW

The criteria for service connection for PTSD have been met. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 1154, 5107 (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303, 3.304, 4.125 (2014).

REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION

The Veteran’s claim is based, in part, on his contention that his PTSD resulted from his combat experiences while serving in the Republic of Vietnam. For the following reasons, the Board finds that service connection for PTSD is established. …

Finally, the Veteran’s VA treatment records reflect that there is a link between the Veteran’s PTSD and the combat related stressor. More specifically, VA treatment records dated July 2011, September 2011 and October 2011 state that the Veteran’s stressors at the time included “difficulty coping with his military assignment in Southwest Asia….” In addition, a November 2011 VA treatment record indicates that the Veteran was experiencing nightmares which were a “product of PTSD and related to the traumas he experienced while in the Navy.” Thus, the Board finds that the Veteran’s VA treatment records constitute probative medical evidence of a link between the Veteran’s PTSD and the combat related stressor. See 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f).

Accordingly, the Board finds that the evidence is at least in equipoise as to whether the three service connection elements under 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f) have been satisfied. Therefore, the benefit-of-the-doubt rule applies, and service connection for PTSD is granted. See 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107; 38 C.F.R. § 3.102; Gilbert, 1 Vet. App. at 55.

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