Mesothelioma and U.S. Navy Veterans
U.S. Navy veterans are at a higher risk of mesothelioma than the other branches of the Armed Forces. This is because the U.S. Navy used more asbestos in their ships, vehicles, and bases than did any other branch. U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease may be eligible for VA benefits and health care.
Asbestos Use in the U.S. Navy
There is an undeniable link between U.S. veterans and mesothelioma, but no arm of the United States military or civilian industry used more asbestos materials than the U.S. Navy.
Nearly every American Navy ship built between the 1930s through the 1980s contained asbestos materials.
The United States Navy phased out asbestos-containing products in the 1980s when the associated health hazards were revealed.
Before health risks were known, asbestos was considered the perfect material for shipbuilding.
Shipbuilders used asbestos since it was:
- A good insulator
- Cheap to purchase
U.S. Navy veterans are the largest group who suffer asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Those diagnosed may be eligible to receive medical treatment as well as compensation to pay for medical bills and other expenses.
U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma can:
- File a VA claim for help with medical treatment and other support
- Work with a mesothelioma lawyer for compensation from asbestos-containing product manufacturers
These actions can help U.S. Navy veterans with mesothelioma access high-quality health care, keep their families secure, and bring those responsible for their illness to justice.
U.S. Navy Jobs With High Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Every U.S. Navy veteran exposed to asbestos while on duty was at high-risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. That said, some U.S. Navy personnel were at a higher risk than others.
High risk U.S. Navy occupations were:
- Boiler technicians
- Engine operators
- Hull maintenance workers
- Weapons specialists
U.S. Navy Shipyards and Asbestos Exposure
U.S. Navy shipyard workers are especially at risk for mesothelioma as the insulation used to build ships and submarines were often made with asbestos.
Much of the work that occurred in shipyards involved the removal and reinstallation of asbestos materials. This released a large number of asbestos fibers into the air.
Anyone working in or even walking through these shipyards would have been breathing in asbestos fibers.
U.S. Navy Ships and Asbestos Exposure Risk
Before the 1970s, the dangers of asbestos weren’t known outside the asbestos manufacturing industry.
Because asbestos was relatively cheap and heat-resistant, it was widely used in the U.S. Navy. They used asbestos multiple applications from seagoing vessels to buildings.
As a result, U.S. Navy service members had the highest risk of asbestos exposure in the military.
On U.S. Navy ships, asbestos could be found in:
- Boiler rooms
- Deck flooring
- Engine rooms
- Pipe lagging
Asbestos was used often in ship infrastructure.
Sailors working on insulation, piping, or other ship parts often unknowingly released asbestos into the air while working.
Ships also presented a greater risk of asbestos exposure because they were poorly ventilated and cramped. This made it easier for U.S. Navy service members to inhale or ingest the fibers.
VA Benefits for Veterans
Many veterans now suffer the long-term health effects of asbestos exposure — including mesothelioma.
However, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits and compensation for these individuals.
U.S. Navy veterans are entitled to disability compensation and special health care benefits through the VA because of their service to the country.
U.S. Navy veterans with questions about qualifications or benefits can speak with a VA accredited claims agent, Veterans Service Officer (VSO), or a specialized lawyer.
Types of Navy VA Benefits
The VA has different claims covering different situations to help them determine how much compensation is enough for an individual.
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 VAveterans health care system.
- Additional Special Circumstances: Additional compensation may be provided in special circumstances connected to a service-related
Eligible Navy veterans and their families can apply for compensation through the VA. Veterans may be eligible for one or more types of compensation.
Some U.S. Navy veterans may be entitled to different benefits than others depending on the specifics of their case, such as the number of family members they have and other factors.
Filing for VA Benefits
Navy veterans with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease may apply for VA benefits in several ways.
Veterans may apply for VA compensation and health care benefits by:
- Filing an online application at va.gov
- Filing an in-person claim at a VA field office
- Mailing their application
- Getting help from a VA accredited claims agent
- Getting help from a mesothelioma lawyer
Veterans should apply for VA benefits as soon as they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma since the cancer can spread rapidly throughout the body.
A mesothelioma lawyer can help gather the right information to file a claim and connect veterans with a VA-accredited claims agent for further assistance.
Legal Help for U.S. Veterans with Mesothelioma
U.S. veterans have the legal right to pursue other forms of compensation besides VA benefits funds. Many veterans turn to specialized law firms that can help file asbestos-related disease lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims.
Mesothelioma law firms help victims:
- Learn when, where, and how they were exposed to asbestos
- File lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims
- Receive financial compensation
- Gather information needed to file a VA claim
For more information on filing a VA claim or filing a legal claim against a negligent asbestos company, start a free case review.
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.)