Citation Nr: 18132357
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 16-06 096
DATE:	September 6, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to an initial disability rating in excess of 10 percent for lumbosacral strain is remanded.
Entitlement to an initial compensable disability rating for right knee strain with hamstring muscle tear residuals is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from August 1991 to March 1996.
1. Entitlement to an initial disability rating in excess of 10 percent for lumbosacral strain is remanded.
2. Entitlement to an initial compensable disability rating for right knee strain with hamstring muscle tear residuals is remanded.
The Veteran was afforded VA examinations in November 2015 to address the severity of his service-connected back and right knee. While the mere passage of time is not a basis for requiring a new examination, the Veteran contends that his service-connected disabilities have worsened since the prior examinations. Palczewski v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 174 (2007). Notably, in a February 2016 VA Form 9, the Veteran stated that at least once a week, he cannot bend over due to the severity of his back disability. Likewise, his right knee strain has worsened to the point that he cannot walk. Therefore, the Board finds that a remand is necessary to afford the Veteran new VA examinations to assess the current severity of his service-connected back and right knee strain. See Snuffer v. Gober, 10 Vet. App. 400, 403 (1997).
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1. Contact the Veteran and request authorization to obtain any outstanding records pertinent to his claims, including any private treatment records following proper VA procedures (38 C.F.R. § 3.159(c)).
2. Afford the Veteran a VA orthopedic examination to assess the severity of his lumbosacral and right knee strains. A copy of this remand and all relevant medical records should be made available to the examiner. The examiner must review the pertinent evidence, including the Veteran’s lay assertions, and undertake any indicated studies. All testing indicated by the current Disability Benefits Questionnaire format must be addressed.
The examiner should report all signs and symptoms necessary for rating the Veteran’s back and right knee strain under the rating criteria. In particular, the examiner should provide the range of motion in degrees of the back and right knee. In so doing, the examiner should test the Veteran’s range of motion in active motion, passive motion, weight-bearing, and nonweight-bearing, where possible. If the examiner is unable to conduct the required testing, he or she should clearly explain so in the report.
The presence of objective evidence of pain, excess fatigability, incoordination and weakness should also be noted, as should any additional disability (including additional limitation of motion) due to these factors. 
The examiner shall inquire as to periods of flare-up, and note the frequency and duration of any such flare-ups. Any additional impairment on use or in connection with flare-ups should be described in terms of the degree of additional range of motion loss. The examiner should specifically describe the severity, frequency, and duration of flare-ups; name the precipitating and alleviating factors; and estimate, per the Veteran, to what extent, if any, such flare-ups affect functional impairment. If the examiner is unable to conduct the required testing, he or she should clearly explain why that is so.
All conclusions reached by the examiner should be thoroughly explained.
 
A. C. MACKENZIE
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	C. Mukherjee, 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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