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What Legal Options Are Available for Veterans with Mesothelioma?

In general, veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have three options for seeking compensation:

  • Filing a claim for benefits with the Veterans’ Administration
  • Filing a lawsuit against the defense contractors that supplied the military with asbestos-containing products
  • Filing a claim with a trust fund established by a bankrupt asbestos manufacturer

Because of the military’s extensive use of asbestos, veterans are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma. It is estimated that 30 percent of all known mesothelioma victims are veterans.

Although federal law prohibits you from suing the military or the government, an attorney may be able to help you file a lawsuit against the companies that sold asbestos-containing products to the armed forces. Many of these companies knew of the dangers of asbestos, yet continued to manufacture these products and sell them to the military, putting service members at risk. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.

Do I Need a Mesothelioma Attorney?

If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an attorney can help increase your chances of recovering compensation. An experienced attorney can review your work history and service records to determine which asbestos companies sold the military products that may have caused your mesothelioma. This can help determine which companies may be liable for your injuries. In addition, an attorney can help you gather the information needed to qualify for benefits from the Veterans’ Administration.

How to Qualify for Mesothelioma Benefits from the Veterans’ Administration

The Veterans’ Administration recognizes mesothelioma as a service-related medical condition. Veterans can therefore apply for VA benefits to cover the cost of their mesothelioma treatment. To be eligible for benefits from the Veterans’ Administration, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • You must be a veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • You must have been exposed to asbestos while you were in the military. To prove this, you may submit evidence regarding your military occupation, specialty, and where you were stationed.
  • You must have a disease or disability related to the asbestos exposure that occurred in the military.

Military Jobs with a High Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Until the early 1980s, all five branches of the military, as well as the Merchant Marine, used asbestos extensively in the following:

  • Adhesives
  • Brakes
  • Cement
  • Ducts
  • Floor coverings
  • Gaskets
  • Pipe insulation
  • Valves
  • Boilers
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Clutch plates
  • Fire doors and blankets
  • Furnace insulation
  • Paneling
  • Shingles
  • Wall Panels
Therefore, veterans who served in any of the following occupations may have been exposed to asbestos:
  • Carpenters and construction workers
  • Engine room workers
  • Insulation installers
  • Milling
  • Pipefitters
  • Welders

Asbestos Exposure in the Navy

Because of its resistance to heat and fire, asbestos was widely used in naval ships and at shipyards. Most ships built by the Navy before the mid-1970s contain large quantities of asbestos, particularly in engine and boiler rooms, as well as other areas below deck that needed fireproofing. The risks of asbestos exposure below deck were compounded by the fact that many of these areas often had poor ventilation.

Navy veterans may have been exposed to asbestos in:
  • Boiler rooms
  • Engine rooms
  • Galleys
  • Sleeping quarters
  • Military vehicles equipped with asbestos-containing brakes, clutches and gaskets
  • Military buildings

Furthermore, the spouses of many Navy veterans have developed mesothelioma from second-hand exposure to asbestos.

If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an attorney may be able to help you qualify for VA benefits. In addition, they can review your work history and determine if you may be eligible to receive additional compensation by filing claims with military contractors that sold asbestos products to the armed forces. Complete our free case evaluation form to learn more.