Citation Nr: 18154223
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 16-49 300
DATE:	November 29, 2018
ORDER
Service connection for a right knee condition is granted.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran’s right knee condition first manifested during military service.

CONCLUSION OF LAW
The criteria for establishing entitlement to service connection for a right knee condition are met. 38 U.S.C. § 5107 (b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303, 3.304, 3.307, 3.309.

REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty from November 1989 to June 2005. This case comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a September 2015 rating decision by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). 

Service Connection
Under the relevant laws and regulations, service connection may be granted for a disability resulting from disease or injury incurred in or aggravated by active service. 38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1131. Generally, the evidence must show: (1) the existence of a present disability; (2) in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury; and (3) a causal relationship between the present disability and the disease or injury incurred or aggravated during service. Shedden v. Principi, 381 F.3d 1163, 1166-67 (Fed. Cir. 2004); Caluza v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 498, 505 (1995).
VA must give due consideration to all pertinent medical and lay evidence in a case where a veteran is seeking service connection. 38 U.S.C. § 1154 (a).  When there is an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence regarding any issue material to the determination of a matter, the Secretary shall give the benefit of the doubt to the veteran. 38 U.S.C. § 5107 (b).
1. Entitlement to service connection for a right knee condition 
The Veteran contends that he injured his right knee injury while he was participating in firefighting training in the Navy. 
The Board concludes that the Veteran has a current diagnosis of right knee strain that is related to in-service injury, event, or disease. 38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1131, 5107(b); Holton v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1363, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2009); 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(a).
During a September 2015 VA examination, the examiner noted a diagnosis of right knee strain in December 1997. At the time, he was prescribed physical therapy and medication for his knee disorder. The examiner opined that the Veteran’s right knee condition is at least as likely as not related to an in-service injury, event, or disease, as shown in his service treatment records. The rationale was based on the Veteran’s service treatment records, which indicated that the Veteran was injured during military service.
The Board acknowledges that contradictory medical opinions were provided in the September 2015 VA examination and September 2016 VA addendum opinion. It is important to note that the September 2016 VA examiner was not the same examiner who conducted the Veteran’s September 2015 VA examination. The September 2016 examiner opined that the Veteran’s right knee condition is not at least as likely as related to an in-service injury, event, or disease. The rationale was that there is nothing located in the record regarding chronicity of symptoms, complaints or treatment of a right knee condition. However, the Board finds that the Veteran does have a current right knee condition despite a lack of treatment. In an October 2016 statement, the Veteran explained that his right knee condition is problematic because he has trouble moving his knee and he suffers from increased pain and a stiff walk. His wife further noted that her husband’s condition is aggravated by everyday tasks such as going up and down stairs. Based on the provided testimony, the Board concludes that the Veteran continues to suffer from a current right knee disorder.  Consequently, the Board gives more probative weight to the September 2015 VA examiner’s opinion. Therefore, service connection for a right knee condition is granted.
 
B.T. KNOPE
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	I. McGee, Law Clerk

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