Citation Nr: 18132276
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 14-42 626
DATE:	September 6, 2018
ORDER
Service connection for a right knee disability, diagnosed as right knee osteoarthritis, and degenerative changes of the right knee is granted.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran’s right knee disability, diagnosed as right knee osteoarthritis, and degenerative changes of the right knee had its onset in service.
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The criteria for service connection for right knee disability, diagnosed as osteoarthritis, and degenerative changes of the right knee have been met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1131, 1154(a), 5107(b) (2012); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303 (2017).
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty in the United States Air Force from November 1980 to November 1984.
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a February 2011 rating decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Houston, Texas.   The Veteran presented sworn testimony at a hearing before the undersigned in November 2016.
The Veteran previously submitted a claim of entitlement to service connection for a right knee disability which was denied in a June 1994 rating decision on the basis that the Veteran’s right knee condition was shown to be a temporary condition that resolved with treatment.  The June 1994 rating decision became final because the Veteran did not submit a Notice of Disagreement or new evidence in connection with the claims within the appeal period.  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(b).  In connection with the Veteran’s claim to reopen, he testified that he does have a current diagnosis, that he was injured twice in-service and that he was unable to seek treatment for his recurrent right knee pain, because he did not have medical insurance for many years after service.  See November 2016 Hr’g Transcript.  Thus, the Board finds that new and material evidence has been received sufficient to reopen his previously denied claims.  38 C.F.R. § 3.156(a); Shade v. Shinseki, 24 Vet. App. 110, 117-18 (2010); Justus v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 510, 513 (1992).  
Entitlement to service connection for right knee disability, diagnosed as osteoarthritis.
The Board finds that service connection for right knee disability, diagnosed as osteoarthritis, and degenerative changes of the right knee is warranted.  Establishing service connection generally requires medical or, in certain circumstances, lay evidence of (1) a current disability; (2) an in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury; and (3) a nexus between the claimed in-service disease or injury and the present disability).  See Davidson v. Shinseki, 581 F.3d 1313 (Fed. Cir. 2009); Hickson v. West, 12 Vet. App. 247, 253 (1999); 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(a).  
In this case, the June 2014 VA examiner noted the Veteran noted a diagnosis of right knee joint osteoarthritis.  See June 2014 VA examination at 1.  Additionally, the August 2014 VA examiner noted a diagnosis of degenerative changes in the right knee.  See August 2014 VA examination at 3.  His service treatment records reflect that during service, he sustained injury to his right knee during a soccer game, and a motorcycle accident.  See April 1982 Service Treatment Record; see also November 1982 and March 1983 Service Treatment Records; and August 2014 VA examination at 3.  Additionally, the Veteran competently and credibly testified regarding injuring his knee during a soccer game and in a motorcycle accident, during service and having recurrent problems with his right knee since service.  See November 2016 Hearing Transcript at 3-6.  
The Board acknowledges that the August 2014 VA examiner provided a negative nexus opinion in regard to the Veteran’s right knee condition.  The Board, however, finds the Veteran’s report regarding the onset and recurrence of his symptoms to be competent and credible.  See Layno v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 465, 470 (1994); Buchanan v. Nicholson, 451 F.3d 1331, 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2006).  Resolving all reasonable doubt in the Veteran’s favor, the Board finds that service connection for right knee disability, diagnosed as osteoarthritis is warranted.  38 C.F.R. § 3.303 (a).
 
STEVEN D. REISS
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	Jacquelynn M. Jordan, 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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