Case Law

Case law refers to precedential (sets a precedent)1 opinions by federal courts of appeal, which for veterans disability claims are these three courts:

  • Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Precedential opinions by these federal appellate courts are binding (must be followed) by lower courts and the Board of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Recent Case Law

Francway v. Wilkie (Fed. Cir. 2019) 

This precedential, en banc2 Federal Circuit decision clarified the VA's obligation to demonstrate a medical examiner's competence, if a veteran raises the competency issue before the Board of Veterans Appeals.

The Court's opinion has three implications for VA examiners. [Read more ...]

Historically Important Case Law

This section lists historically important court opinions in veterans law.

Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49 (1990)

Gilbert v. Derwinski (1990) is a Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) case decided in 1990, soon after the Court was created by Congress. The case is important for two reasons. [Read more ....]

See also ...

  • Francway v. Wilkie

    Francway v. Wilkie (2019) is an important veterans law case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

  • Veterans Law Information

    Veterans law information specific to disability benefits and compensation and pension exams for PTSD and other mental disorders

  • Legislative Priorities to Improve Veterans Law

    Legislative priorities to properly assist United States military veterans suffering from service-related psychiatric disorders


1.Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, March 2007), ("precedential, adj. 1. Of the nature of or constituting a precedent; providing a guide or rule for subsequent cases.")

2. Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, September 2017), ("en bancadv. and adj., Law [chiefly U.S.]. A. adv. With all ... of the judges of a court present; before or by the full bench. A sitting en banc is typically held by an appeal court in order to review decisions made by a panel of its members. Some courts [e.g. the Supreme Court of the United States] traditionally hear all cases referred to them en banc.")

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