Mesothelioma and U.S. Marine Corps Veterans

In the mid-20th century, the U.S. Marine Corps was faced with an unsuspecting threat while in the line of duty. The Marines heavily relied on the deadly mineral asbestos without knowing it could cause deadly diseases like mesothelioma. Today, U.S. Marines with mesothelioma can file for veterans benefits and take legal action to get justice and compensation.

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Asbestos Exposure in U.S. Marine Corps Veterans

Asbestos was widely used by all branches of the United States military — including the Marine Corps — from the 1930s until the 1980s for purposes of insulation, fireproofing, and heat resistance.

Asbestos-containing products were often used to make bases, vessels, aircraft, and vehicles more durable and resistant from enemy attack.

At the time, those serving in the U.S. Marine Corps did not know that asbestos use was linked to life-threatening health problems. The manufacturers of asbestos-containing products hid the facts to keep making a profit.

Today, U.S. Marine veterans are at risk of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer, if they were exposed to asbestos decades ago. Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases usually do not develop until 20 to 50 years after someone was first exposed.

Thankfully, U.S. veterans with mesothelioma can take action to access life-extending medical treatments and financial compensation.

For example, U.S. Marine veterans with mesothelioma can file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Through a VA claim, U.S. Marines may be able to receive top mesothelioma treatments from experienced doctors, as well compensation for their illness.

U.S. Marines should also explore their legal options after a diagnosis, such as filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or an asbestos trust fund claim.

These legal options can help veterans receive financial compensation after a diagnosis — and no branch of the military or government will be sued.

High-Risk Asbestos Exposure Areas in the U.S. Marines

While anyone who served in the U.S. Marine Corps when asbestos was still in use could have been exposed, some were in more danger than others.

Below, see what locations and jobs put Marine Corps veterans at the highest risk of asbestos exposure.

Navy Ships

U.S. Marines were often assigned to U.S. Navy ships for missions.

U.S. Marine Corps veterans who served on these U.S. Navy vessels had a higher risk of asbestos exposure since the U.S. Navy used more asbestos than any other military branch.

Asbestos-containing products could be throughout ships for fire resistance, insulation, and soundproofing.

Those that worked below deck, where poor ventilation made it easy to breathe in the asbestos fibers, also had a high risk of exposure. Even mess halls and sleeping quarters put people at risk.

U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard ships were also built with asbestos materials before the health risks were widely known.


U.S. Marines were often assigned to work in U.S. Navy shipyards. U.S. Marines assigned to build and repair ships in a shipyard would have been exposed to many asbestos-containing products.

Even U.S. Marines who did not directly work on the ships — but still served in the shipyards — could have been exposed since the work often sent asbestos fibers flying into the air. Anyone who inhaled these microscopic fibers could be at risk of mesothelioma later in life.

U.S. Marine Corps Bases and Barracks

Asbestos was frequently used to make military bases more sturdy, soundproof, and fire-resistant. Since the material was so versatile, it was used in dozens of construction and building products.

Any U.S. Marine Corps veterans stationed at these bases — or those who helped to build them — may have been exposed to asbestos.


Asbestos was used to create friction-reducing products and heat-resistant fabrics in vehicles.

U.S. Marine mechanics had the greatest risk for exposure from these vehicles, as they had to install new asbestos-based parts and replace ones that were old and deteriorating.

VA Benefits for U.S. Marine Corps Veterans

Once the U.S. military became aware of the dangers of asbestos, they took action to help those already exposed.

VA offers benefits for all veterans and compensation for veterans who were injured or developed illnesses related to their jobs while they were on active duty.

U.S. veterans can get treatment and compensation for themselves as well as their loved ones by applying for VA benefits.

Veterans can learn more about what benefits they may qualify for — and how to receive them — by working with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO).

Types of VA Benefits

There are several types of VA benefits that U.S. Marine Corps veterans may receive if they developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.

These VA benefits include:

  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC): This compensation is payable to spouses, children, parents, and other family members of active-duty military or veterans who passed away due to service-connected disabilities
  • Disability Compensation: This monthly compensation is awarded to veterans who became disabled during (or because of) their military service. Mesothelioma is considered a disability by the VA.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): SMC is monthly aid intended for veterans along with their spouses, parents, and children. SMC payments can vary depending on a veteran’s health care needs (such as if they require full-time care from a nurse) and other factors.
  • VA Health Care: Veterans can receive mesothelioma treatments, as well as professional medical advice, physical therapy, and other health care services, through the VA health care system.
  • Additional Special Circumstances: Additional compensation may be provided in special circumstances connected to a service-related disability, such as issues with driving, hospital time, inability to work, and more.

Veterans can learn more about these benefits by speaking with an accredited agent.

To file a claim and receive benefits, the VA requires medical records that state your disability, service records that list your job or specialty, and a statement from your doctor connecting your contact with asbestos in the military and your mesothelioma diagnosis.

The VA also requires veterans to receive any kind of discharge other than dishonorable in order to get benefits.

Filing for VA Benefits

U.S. veterans are encouraged to apply for VA benefits as soon as they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, as the cancer can spread rapidly through the body.

In particular, U.S. Marines may benefit from contacting a mesothelioma lawyer who can help them gather the right information to file a claim and connect them with a VA-accredited claims agent or VSO.

Legal Help for U.S. Marine Corps Veterans with Mesothelioma

U.S. veterans should seek out legal help from a mesothelioma attorney when looking to file VA claims. A mesothelioma lawyer can help veterans identify when, where, and how they were exposed to asbestos, and help pass this information on to VSOs.

Lawyers have many resources to help a veteran’s case, including:

  • Databases of information about when and where asbestos-containing products were used
  • Which manufacturers made these products and if they are still in business
  • Access to filing claims through asbestos trusts
  • Information on time limits when filing a VA claim or a lawsuit

Legal action allows veterans to hold responsible the manufacturers that caused their illness. Veterans can also receive compensation for their illnesses, which can help protect their families. The U.S. government will not be sued.

If you would like to learn more about compensation for U.S. Marine Corps veterans, start your free case review today.

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.)

Contact us to learn more.

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