Veterans fought bravely for our country, but many of them now face a new fight: mesothelioma. There is an elevated risk of mesothelioma in the veteran population since asbestos was used in all branches of the U.S. military. In fact, approximately 1/3 of mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve Navy or shipyard exposures. Veterans with mesothelioma can receive VA benefits, health care, and may be able to file a lawsuit.
Veterans and Asbestos Exposure
Americans who served in the U.S. military are acutely affected by mesothelioma, a deadly cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
All military branches were at risk of asbestos exposure, including the:
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that resists fire and heat. For most of its history, asbestos was marketed as cheap and useful in many applications..
As a result, it was used in every ship built by the U.S. military for much of the 20th century. Trucks, tanks, and barracks were also built with asbestos-containing products — exposing thousands of service members in the process.
Veterans harmed by asbestos fibers may be able to receive financial compensation with the help of an experienced mesothelioma law firm.
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High-Risk Military Occupations
While all veterans are considered to be at a higher risk than the general population, certain roles within the military involved higher amounts of asbestos exposure than others.
Due to the sheer volume of asbestos that was used in the construction of 20th-century ships, Navy veterans, in particular, are at the highest risk for developing an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma.
That is not to exclude other branches of the military. No matter what branch, or what role, most veterans who served may have experienced some form of exposure to asbestos dust during active-duty.
Common occupations that exposed workers to asbestos include:
- Aircraft mechanics
- Boiler room workers
- Shipyard workers
- Vehicle mechanics
Common areas that exposed workers to asbestos include:
- Boiler rooms
- Engine rooms
- Mess halls
- Navy ships
- Sleeping quarters
Our veterans made great sacrifices during their time of military service — they shouldn’t have to forfeit their golden years because of an asbestos-related illness. For this reason, Sokolove Law is proud to provide legal help to U.S. military veterans with mesothelioma.
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Seeking Benefits for Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos lawsuits rose in the 1970s and ’80s, and the U.S. military stopped using the mineral as a result. Still, active military members face risks to this day because asbestos from the past lingers behind in older military bases, buildings, equipment, ships, and vehicles.
Veterans who have developed an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis may seek benefits and resources through a number of different avenues.
One especially common route for veterans is seeking help through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which offers benefits and financial compensation for those that qualify.
Qualifying veterans with mesothelioma can receive monetary benefits for:
- At-home care and nursing
- Burial and memorial services
- Dependents and next of kin
- Disability based on the level of impairment
- Mesothelioma treatment at a specialized medical center
- Mobility and other medical equipment
- Therapy and mental health counseling
By filing for benefits through the VA, veterans with mesothelioma are making a decision to seek better treatment options and monthly compensation that will help them prolong their lives.
The case managers at Sokolove Law are available 24/7 to answer questions for veterans who need assistance with filing for VA benefits and other forms of compensation.
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VA Benefits for Veterans with Mesothelioma
Filing for VA benefits can be a confusing and long-winded process, when you take into account all the necessary paperwork, proof of asbestos exposure, and, in some cases, disability appeals.
Working with a VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyer can help take the headache out of this complicated process.
Types of VA benefits for veterans with mesothelioma include:
VA Disability Compensation
Veterans who have developed a service-related disability or disease are eligible to receive disability compensation through the VA. Upon filing a disability claim, the VA will provide veterans with a disability rating that helps determine how much compensation they may be owed.
The Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs were created by the VA to help veterans and their families cope better with health- and finance-related challenges through monthly pension payments.
VA Health Care
The VA Health Care System offers world-class care for eligible veterans. Enrolled veterans will gain access to preventive, primary, and specialty care, in addition to home health care, geriatrics and extended care, and medical equipment access.
Applying for VA Benefits
Veterans with mesothelioma can apply for benefits online or in person at a local VA office.
The following items are required to prove eligibility and file a claim:
- Discharge documentations
- Exposure summary
- Medical records
- Proof of exposure
Veterans should consider working with a mesothelioma law firm like Sokolove Law when pursuing VA claims. The VA claims system is complex, and since most veterans are not well-versed in the legal system, they might not know how to get all the benefits entitled to them.
If a veteran or their loved one files a claim improperly, they could be denied or they may receive a smaller amount than they need to pay for their medical treatments. As a result, they could lose out on benefits and government-sponsored services.
Other Types of Compensation for Veterans
Filing for VA benefits is not the only option for veterans with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Veterans may also pursue additional compensation through a legal claim that ends in a settlement or a verdict. They may also be eligible to pursue compensation from asbestos trust-funds established by bankrupt companies.
By filing a legal claim, veterans may seek additional compensation from the asbestos companies that are responsible for their exposure and the disease that it caused.
Most mesothelioma claims settle before reaching the court, but other cases will press on until a jury verdict is reached. The compensation amount of a trial verdict is typically higher, although this route poses a higher risk.
The team at Sokolove Law is made up of mesothelioma lawyers who have helped thousands of veterans. They will be able to guide you to the best legal option to maximize the compensation you may receive.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos companies started claiming bankruptcy to avoid lawsuits they were facing from sick, injured, and dying former employees. The courts ordered them to set aside money in trusts that would be available for future claimants.
Veterans who were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma as a result are often eligible for pursuing compensation from these funds.
Working with a mesothelioma law firm like Sokolove Law is the most assured way to determine whether you may be eligible for trust fund compensation.
Common Questions About VA Benefits
Filing for VA benefits can raise important questions and sometimes prove difficult without the help of an expert.
Below we have assembled some fast facts about mesothelioma veterans benefits in the hopes that you may find the information you are looking for.
How do I know if I am eligible for benefits?
In order to receive disability benefits, veterans must have an illness that is determined to have been caused by asbestos during their time serving in the military.
To be eligible, veterans must have been honorably discharged.
Which U.S. service branch had the highest risk of asbestos exposure?
The U.S. Navy had the highest rate of asbestos use, and therefore, Navy veterans are among the most impacted by asbestos in the United States.
That said, asbestos was used in every branch of the military from the 1930s until the early 1980s, which puts nearly 20 million former soldiers at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
How can I access health care and financial benefits?
To get their disability VA benefits, veterans have to file a claim for disability compensation through the VA.
Their claims must be accompanied by:
- Medical records proving disease diagnosis and probable cause
- Service records indicating the veteran’s job, specialty, and time served
- Doctor’s statement identifying a link between a veteran’s exposure to asbestos and their development of a disease
Can I file a lawsuit in addition to VA benefits?
In certain cases, veterans (or their surviving family members) can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the asbestos companies responsible for their disease.
If eligible, pursuing additional compensation through a lawsuit does not affect a veteran’s ability to collect VA benefits.
Can I file a claim with asbestos trust funds?
Asbestos trust funds have been established by bankrupt asbestos-using companies to compensate victims after the company has gone insolvent.
Mesothelioma patients who have gotten sick by working directly with asbestos, or were otherwise exposed to asbestos-containing products made by a company that has an established trust may be able to access these funds.
If eligible, pursuing compensation through these trusts does not affect a veteran’s ability to collect VA benefits.
Contact Sokolove Law
Do you have additional questions? Reach out to a trusted mesothelioma case manager.
Work With a Mesothelioma Lawyer
In addition to securing over $4.6 Billion for its mesothelioma clients, Sokolove Law has an over-40-year history of success in asbestos litigation.
Much of our firm’s success has been earned fighting side-by-side with veterans who are now fighting for their lives. Having helped thousands of veterans and their families pursue justice, our firm is primed to assist mesothelioma victims well into the future.
The team at Sokolove Law has VA-accredited claims agents to help eligible veterans. If you are a veteran who has mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease that you believe is a result of your service in the Armed Forces, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us today.
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