Citation Nr: 18132379
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 16-04 111
DATE:	 
ORDER
The petition to reopen the previously denied claim for entitlement to service connection for a right hip disorder, to include traumatic arthritis, is granted.
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for a right hip disorder, to include traumatic arthritis, is remanded.
Entitlement to a temporary total disability rating due to convalescence for right hip replacement surgery is remanded.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. An April 2003 rating decision last denied service connection for a right hip disorder.
2. Evidence pertaining to the Veteran’s right hip disorder since the last final rating decision was not previously submitted, relates to unestablished facts necessary to substantiate the claim, is neither cumulative nor redundant, and raises a reasonable possibility of substantiating the claim. 
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The April 2003 rating decision that last denied service connection for a right hip disorder is final. 38 U.S.C. § 7105; 38 C.F.R. § 20.1103. 
2. The evidence received since the last final April 2003 rating decision is new and material, and the claim for service connection for a right hip disorder is reopened. 38 U.S.C. § 7105; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.156, 20.1103. 
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
The Veteran served on active duty in the United States Army from November 1979 to November 1999.
1. Whether new and material evidence has been received to reopen the claim of entitlement to service connection for a right hip disorder, to include traumatic arthritis.
The Veteran most recently filed a request to reopen his claim for entitlement to service connection for a right hip disorder in February 2014. At the time of the last final denial of the Veteran’s claim for service connection for a right hip disorder in April 2003, evidence of record included the Veteran’s service treatment records (STRs), military personnel records, and a VA examination.
Evidence associated with the claims file since the previous April 2003 denial includes the Veteran’s statements, private treatment records, and VA examinations and opinions. In a January 2014 private treatment record, the Veteran was diagnosed with severe right hip osteoarthritis. Based on a review of this new evidence, the Board finds that new and material criteria under 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(a) have been satisfied, and the claim of service connection for a right hip disorder is reopened.
REASONS FOR REMAND
1. Entitlement to service connection for a right hip disorder, to include traumatic arthritis is remanded.
Remand is necessary to obtain an addendum VA opinion, or a new VA examination if necessary. When VA undertakes to obtain an opinion, it must ensure that the opinion is adequate. Barr v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 303, 312 (2007). A medical opinion is considered adequate “where it is based on consideration of the veteran’s prior medical history and examinations and also describes the disability, if any, in sufficient detail so that the Board’s evaluation of the claimed disability will be a fully informed one.” Stefl v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 120, 123 (2007).
Here, in a December 2015 VA examination, the examiner opined that the Veteran’s right hip arthritis was less likely than not caused by service. The examiner reasoned that there were no in-service records of a right hip injury in service and the first record of a right hip injury was not until 2014. Therefore, the examiner concluded, the Veteran’s right hip arthritis is not related to service. Although the examiner found no medical documentation of right hip arthritis until 2014, the Veteran has stated that he has experienced right hip pain or symptoms since 2001, also evidenced by his claim for entitlement to service connection for a right hip disorder in 2001. The Board finds that the examiner’s rationale does not offer sufficient detail for the Board to make an informed decision regarding a nexus between the Veteran’s right hip disorder and service, specifically any trauma caused by parachute jumping and the Veteran’s complaints of right hip symptoms since 2001. Therefore, remand is required to obtain an addendum VA opinion, or to provide an additional VA examination if found necessary. 
2. Entitlement to a temporary total disability rating due to convalescence for right hip replacement surgery is remanded.
Finally, because a decision on the issue of entitlement to serivce connection for a right hip disorder could significantly impact a decision on the issue of a temporary total disability rating due to convalescence for right hip replacement surgery, the issues are inextricably intertwined. A remand of the claim for entitlement to a temporary total disability rating due to convalescence for right hip replacement surgery is required.
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
Obtain an addendum opinion, and if necessary an additional VA examination, from an appropriate clinician to determine the nature and etiology of the Veteran’s right hip disorder, to include traumatic arthritis. The examiner must opine whether it is at least as likely as not that any diagnosed right hip disorder is related to the Veteran’s service, including his parachute jumping. 
The examiner must provide a well-reasoned response to the above inquiry and must specifically discuss the Veteran’s contentions, specifically including his statements regarding parachute jumps during service. 

 
CAROLINE B. FLEMING
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	M. Thompson, Associate Counsel 

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

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