Mesothelioma and U.S. Army Veterans
Veterans who served in the U.S. Military between 1930 and 1980 were likely exposed to asbestos, a harmful mineral that causes mesothelioma. The U.S. Army relied heavily on asbestos-based products in every branch of operations. Veterans who were exposed to asbestos and developed an illness may be eligible for VA benefits and compensation.
Asbestos Use in the U.S. Army
Asbestos-containing products found their way into many of the standard materials routinely used by the U.S.Army.
The use of products containing asbestos in the U.S. Army began in the early 1900s. Over 1,000 production technologies and around 3,000 products contained asbestos at this time.
It was not until the early 1980s that the devastating health effects of asbestos exposure became well known. By this time, the U.S. Army had been consistently using these products for over 50 years — the damage had been done.
U.S. Army soldiers were put in harm’s way on a regular basis from numerous asbestos products.
Common products that contained asbestos included:
- Boiler rooms
- Brake pads
- Ceiling tiles
- Cement materials
- Flooring tiles
- Mess halls
- Other construction materials
Like the rest of the U.S. military, the U.S. Army only became aware of the dangers decades after asbestos use was common practice. In reality, the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew that their goods were harmful but hid the truth to keep making money.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes that U.S. Army veterans have a high risk of asbestos-related diseases today. As a result, veterans can apply for VA benefits to access mesothelioma treatment and receive financial compensation.
Veterans may also qualify for other types of compensation by filing legal claims against the manufacturers who made dangerous asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos Use on Bases
Asbestos could be found in almost every corner of a U.S. Army base during this time. It was a primary component of insulation due to its heat-resistant properties and was, therefore, found in every building on the base.
Its strong and durable nature ensured its widespread use, contaminating entire military bases and putting all personnel at risk of developing devastating lung conditions such as mesothelioma.
Asbestos Use in Vehicles
Army vehicles relied heavily on asbestos-containing products. The critical components of military vehicles have asbestos at their core.
If Army vehicles needed repairs, the risk of releasing asbestos particles into the air grew exponentially. Exposure to these airborne asbestos fibers increased one’s chance of inhaling or ingesting them and developing mesothelioma.
How Long Did the U.S. Army Use Asbestos Products?
The use of asbestos in the U.S. Army lasted from the 1930s to the1980s — a considerable period of time that personnel found themselves exposed to the deadly mineral.
It was not until the 1980s that the military took proper steps to remove asbestos and limit its future use.
How Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma
Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, among other diseases.
Inhalation of asbestos can cause airborne fibers to enter the lungs. These harmful fibers may penetrate the mesothelium (outer lining of various major organs). This can lead to irritation, scarring, and the development of a more serious illness.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is associated with asbestos exposure. It can affect the pleura, the layer of tissue that lines the lungs, and the peritoneum within the abdomen.
Did You Know? In most cases, the diagnosis of mesothelioma doesn’t occur until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there is a lifelong risk of mesothelioma associated with asbestos exposure. This means once an individual is exposed, they will always carry the risk of developing mesothelioma.
Due to the extremely harmful effects of inhaling asbestos, there is no level of exposure that the ACS deems safe.
Help for U.S. Army Veterans With Mesothelioma
U.S. veterans who have developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure while serving the U.S. Army can file a claim to receive benefits or compensation. These VA benefits allow veterans to collect financial support for treatment.
The harmful effects of asbestos exposure were known by the manufacturers producing these products starting in the early 1900s. These companies deliberately withheld information regarding the safety of asbestos to protect their profits.
For this reason, U.S. Army veterans are able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if they have been diagnosed with this disease and were exposed to asbestos while they served.
U.S. Army Jobs With High Risk of Asbestos Exposure
U.S. Army personnel who directly worked with asbestos-containing materials had the highest risk of exposure. It was cutting, drilling, sawing, sanding, and installing asbestos-containing materials that released the disease-causing airborne fibers.
The U.S. Corps of Army Engineers — tasked with building structures using asbestos-based products — were the highest-risk group.
Other high-risk Army occupations were:
- Carpenters and construction workers
- Demolition and renovation specialists
- Drywallers, insulators, and painters
- Electricians, plumbers, and pipefitters
U.S. Army personnel working on these jobs handled asbestos on a daily basis, meaning their exposure risks were much higher than general soldiers.
VA Benefits for U.S. Army Veterans
Sadly, diseases caused by asbestos exposure have no cure — and some of them, like mesothelioma, can be deadly.
Veterans of the U.S. Army who have developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure are entitled to VA benefits. This includes health care and compensation.
This compensation is in the form of monetary payments to cover expenses associated with mesothelioma treatments. The family of the veteran may also be eligible to receive money if they have been affected.
Types of VA Benefits
Many U.S. Army veterans can apply for a range of VA benefits.
Types of VA benefits include:
- Disability Compensation: Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma are eligible for a monthly tax-free payment. These payments can help with medical bills.
- VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC): The survivors of a veteran who died due to a military-related illness can receive a tax-free monthly benefit.
- Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): A veteran who is already receiving Disability Compensation may collect an additional benefit if they qualify.
- Additional Special Circumstances: These circumstances may include individual unemployability, automobile allowance, stabilization, hospitalization, convalescence, dental, and birth defects.
Along with compensation, veterans with mesothelioma may qualify for health care through VA facilities.
VA Health Care and Treatments
Through VA health care, veterans can access primary care provider visits, appointments with specialists, medical equipment, and prescriptions.
The VA Healthcare System also provides access to several doctors that are recognized as mesothelioma experts. These doctors have extensive experience in treating patients with previous exposure to asbestos that have developed critical illnesses.
Filing for VA Benefits
U.S. Army veterans eligible for VA benefits can apply online (va.gov), in-person at a VA regional office, or by mail.
VA benefits applications should be completed as soon as the mesothelioma diagnosis occurs. This is to ensure action is taken and benefits and compensation can be distributed as soon as possible.
Veterans who are interested in applying for these benefits may be interested in working with a mesothelioma lawyer. A lawyer will ensure access to the most accurate information and can connect veterans with a VA-accredited claims agent.
Legal Help for U.S. Army Veterans With Mesothelioma
Capitalizing on legal help to file a VA claim can be extremely beneficial for veterans seeking benefits and compensation for their illnesses.
Mesothelioma lawyers can help veterans identify when, where, and how they were exposed to asbestos. They have access to valuable information that can make a world of difference when filing a VA claim.
Experienced mesothelioma lawyers have:
- Access to databases of information on asbestos-containing products
- Information on which companies made these products
Details on time limits for filing a VA claim or lawsuit
The manufacturers of asbestos-containing products used in the military throughout the 20th century deliberately withheld information that has caused veterans and their families lifelong pain and suffering.
The U.S. Military will not be sued if you choose to take legal action against the companies that produced these asbestos-containing products.
Contact the Mesothelioma Claims Center for a free case review to learn more about your options.
Easier Than It May Seem
Your individual situation may merit an actual lawsuit. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Trusts have been set up to benefit victims of mesothelioma in such a way that lawsuits and court appearances aren’t needed. Contact us today and you’ll see how easy it can be to get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
A person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma – as well as their spouse, child, or family member – may be able to file a claim to recover compensation from manufacturers of asbestos products. If the mesothelioma patient passes away, a family member or estate representative may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How much money is in the asbestos trust fund?
An estimated $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to compensate mesothelioma patients. Many companies that made asbestos products later filed for bankruptcy, so they created these trust funds to pay out future mesothelioma claims. If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure no longer exists, you may be entitled to money from their trust fund.
How do I file a mesothelioma claim?
To file a mesothelioma claim, contact an attorney who is experienced with these types of lawsuits. They will know where and when to file your claim, how to build the strongest case possible, and the best way to maximize compensation on your behalf.
What is the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims?
The statute of limitations (deadline to file) for mesothelioma claims will vary depending on the state in which you file. In many states, it’s 2-3 years from the date of the mesothelioma diagnosis – though it may be longer if the mesothelioma patient has passed away. A mesothelioma lawyer can make sure your claim is filed within the required time frame.
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
Every mesothelioma claim is different, with circumstances and factors that are unique to that mesothelioma patient’s story. Though there’s no way to predict exactly how long a claim will take, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will ensure the process is handled as efficiently as possible.
Many claimants start to receive compensation in as few as 90 days after settling their mesothelioma claims.
What is the average payout for mesothelioma?
There is no guarantee of compensation when you file a mesothelioma claim, and countless factors affect how much money you might be able to recover (assuming your case settles). That said, 95% of these lawsuits are settled out of court, and the average settlement amount is $1-1.4 million.
How much is my mesothelioma claim worth?
Your mesothelioma case value depends on the specifics of your situation, such as the duration of your asbestos exposure, and the total cost of your mesothelioma treatment (as well as travel expenses and other related losses). The best way to figure out how much your claim is worth is to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer.
What type of mesothelioma claim do I have?
Most mesothelioma claims fall under one of four categories:
- Personal injury: You were exposed to asbestos (often through your job, or your loved one’s), so you file a lawsuit against the company that made the asbestos products.
- Asbestos trust fund: Similar to a personal injury claim, only the company in question went bankrupt, so you can’t sue them – but you may be able to access a trust fund they set aside for mesothelioma victims.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits: U.S. military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service may qualify for related health care benefits through the VA.
- Wrongful death: When a mesothelioma patient passes away, their family member or estate representative may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf, seeking money to pay for past medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc.
A mesothelioma attorney can determine which type of claim makes the most sense for you and your family. (Some clients qualify for more than one.)