Why Do Veterans Get Mesothelioma?
For decades, many of the U.S. military’s bases, ships, and aircraft were composed of asbestos products. Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, is lightweight, durable, and heat-resistant, making it a seemingly ideal component of buildings, vehicles, and other assets.
Unfortunately, when asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can settle in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or other organs. Over time these fibers can scar and damage the tissue, causing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
When these health hazards came to light in the late 1970s, the military began to phase out the use of asbestos products. For many veterans, though, the damage had already been done.
The U.S. military did not realize it was putting its service members at risk — but asbestos product manufacturers did, and they hid these risks to boost their profits. That’s why so many veterans and their loved ones choose to hold these companies accountable for their negligence.
What’s the Link Between Mesothelioma and U.S. Navy Veterans?
Although all U.S. military veterans have an elevated risk of developing mesothelioma, U.S. Navy veterans are particularly vulnerable. That’s because asbestos was a key component in so many ships, shipyards, adhesives, boilers, paints, and pipes.
Asbestos products could be found in the following ship areas:
- Boiler room*
- Damage control room*
- Engine room*
- Living quarters
- Mess hall
- Pump and propulsion rooms*
- Sick bay
*Denotes highest-risk areas
The above is not a complete list — asbestos fibers were a threat throughout a ship. No matter what a sailor’s role was, they could potentially have been exposed to asbestos during their service.
When Did the Navy Get Rid of Asbestos?
The U.S. Navy stopped using new asbestos products in the early 1980s, and made a concerted effort to remove asbestos from its bases and ships. But that didn’t happen overnight, and anyone who served in the U.S. Navy between the 1930s and 1980s may have suffered asbestos exposure. If that exposure led to an asbestos-related disease, their symptoms could take decades to appear.
Can I Claim Benefits for Asbestos Exposure?
If you’re a veteran of the U.S. Navy or any other military branch, and you were exposed to asbestos that caused you harm, you may be able to file a claim seeking compensation.
Veterans who meet the following criteria — and their families or estate representatives — may be able to file a claim for asbestos exposure:
- Diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease
- Have a history of asbestos exposure, which may have occurred during, after, and/or before their military service
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, but you aren’t sure if you were exposed to asbestos, a mesothelioma lawyer can help determine when and where your potential exposure occurred. Many mesothelioma law firms have databases of information concerning asbestos products and asbestos job sites.
Please note that when you file a claim for asbestos compensation, you are not necessarily filing a lawsuit — you could instead secure money through an asbestos trust fund, or benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Even if you do file a mesothelioma lawsuit, you are filing that claim against the asbestos product manufacturer, not the U.S. military or government.
How Much Is Compensation for Veterans With Mesothelioma?
Veterans with mesothelioma may have several different options when it comes to recovering money for their injuries.
If a veteran was exposed to asbestos during their military service, they may be entitled to compensation, healthcare, and other benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Even if they’re not taking legal action, a VA-accredited mesothelioma attorney can help prepare a VA claim to ensure it is successful.
In 2022, the monthly payment for 100% VA disability claims for a veteran with no children is $3,332.06. (It’s higher for veterans with children.)
Asbestos Trust Funds
Many of the companies that made asbestos products have gone out of business. These companies set up trust funds to pay out future asbestos claims filed by people injured by their products. There is an estimated $30 billion available in these funds, some of which veterans with mesothelioma may be able to access.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
In addition to seeking VA benefits and asbestos trust fund money, veterans may file a personal injury lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for their exposure. An asbestos attorney and their team can do all the heavy lifting (gathering evidence, filing paperwork, negotiating, etc.) so the veteran can focus on their health and their family.
Most mesothelioma personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court, before they go to trial. The average mesothelioma settlement is $1-1.4 million.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a veteran passes away from mesothelioma, their family members or estate representatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit against asbestos product manufacturers seeking compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Like personal injury lawsuits, most of these cases are settled before they reach the trial stage.
How Compensation Is Determined
The amount of compensation a veteran can secure will depend on which of the above paths they take, as well as various other factors, like:
- Cost of medical treatment
- Extent of asbestos exposure
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Stage of their disease
- Travel expenses
- Funeral expenses (in cases of wrongful death)
A more severe disease that leads to lost wages and steeper medical expenses will usually result in greater compensation. A mesothelioma lawyer can estimate a case’s value and determine the best way to secure that amount.
Is Mesothelioma a VA Disability?
Yes, the VA considers mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases to be valid disabilities. Veterans with mesothelioma can recover disability compensation and other benefits through the VA. This compensation can total $3,000+ per month depending on their situation. To receive this money, veterans must have proof of diagnosis and show that their disease is linked to their military service.
Who Are the Best Mesothelioma Lawyers for Veterans?
The best mesothelioma lawyers for veterans are experienced and VA-accredited, with a long track record of helping veterans and their loved ones recover the money they need. We work with many of the country’s top mesothelioma law firms, which have key resources — such as asbestos product and job site records, and access to qualified mesothelioma doctors.
Contact us to speak with a mesothelioma attorney who has the knowledge and experience you need to secure your family’s future. Our lawyers never charge upfront or out-of-pocket fees, and they only get paid if they successfully resolve your case.