Veterans and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that has one cause–exposure to asbestos. The US military used asbestos from the 1930s to the 1970s in a variety of applications, especially in Naval shipyards.
It is estimated that over 4 million people worked in shipyards during World War II and again during the Korean War. If you are a veteran who has contracted mesothelioma, contact our law firm at 1-800-706-5606 regarding your ability to receive benefits and other compensation.
What are the Symptoms?
Many Navy veterans were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis during their military service. Veterans are the largest single group making up mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims. The nature of the disease, however, is such that it takes decades for anyone exposed to manifest symptoms.
The disease has a number of symptoms that are specific to the type of mesothelioma that you have and where it is found in your body. Common symptoms for most types of mesothelioma include sudden weight loss, constant cough, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, difficulty breathing and abdominal problems.
What Jobs Exposed Veterans to Mesothelioma?
Asbestos was used extensively in shipbuilding. It has a remarkable ability to withstand heat and electrical damage, making it ideal for a ship’s boiler and engine room. If you worked in the boiler or engine room, you may have had the most exposure.
Asbestos was also present on the mess deck and sleeping quarters so that even ordinary seamen were exposed. If you worked around any of the following materials, you were potentially exposed:
• Insulating materials
• Thermal products
• Pipe covering
• Packing materials
• Deck covering materials
• Prefabricated forms
Plumbers, pipefitters, welders, electricians, boilermakers and mechanics worked around asbestos and many of these veterans who engaged in these jobs are now afflicted.
Mesothelioma has also struck those veterans who did not work directly with materials containing the substance. Secretaries, officers and others engaged in desk jobs were exposed to asbestos fibers by coming across the men who did work with materials containing these substances. Workers reported that they could see the asbestos fibers on their clothing as they moved throughout the ship or on shore, and usually had to shake off the dusty fibers before washing their work clothes.
Do I Have to Sue the Military?
As a veteran, you cannot sue the military for any injury or disease contracted while in service. You can apply for benefits through the Veteran Administration. You do have to provide proof that your disease was asbestos-related and that your exposure was during your military service. Although mesothelioma is a service-connected condition, it does not automatically entitle you to benefits.
If your claim is denied, you can appeal but you can also seek compensation from those manufacturers and installers of asbestos who had knowledge of the deadly effects of asbestos but elected to not disclose them.
Is My Claim Barred by the Statute of Limitations?
Generally, you have 2 years to file for benefits with the Veterans Administration after you have been diagnosed. These time limits vary among the states. You may have to be examined at a VA hospital and your records will be reviewed once you submit your application. The amount of compensation you receive, if any, is based on a rating system.
If you have a claim against a manufacturer or installer, your attorney can find the responsible parties and file your suit for you. You do have a limited time to file after you discover you have mesothelioma or should have discovered it. Do not hesitate to contact our mesothelioma law firm at 1-800-706-5606 if you are a veteran with mesothelioma and believe you were exposed to asbestos during your military service.