The veterans of the United States military branches, including the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and others have served their country in times of war and peace, giving their time, effort, and sometimes their lives as part of their service. They have the same right to the best in medical care that is afforded to all in our country. Mesothelioma, a disease with no known cure, has felled many U.S. veterans, and the rights of these veterans to receive compensation for this work-related disease should be upheld.
Medical Care for Veterans Is Lacking
Unfortunately, many veterans are not receiving the medical care or disability benefits to which they are entitled. For example, some 600,000 VA claims for federal benefits are pending with the Veterans Administration, languishing in a bureaucratic morass for years at a time. These include more than 123,000 disability claims of vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans with asbestos-induced mesothelioma are facing the same obstacles.
Millions of Veterans Exposed to Asbestos
It is now apparent that hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of veterans were exposed to the toxic material asbestos as part of their military service. Asbestos was present in many products used by military members and civilian contractors when they built military facilities and ships (asbestos exposure navy ships) or maintained military vehicles. Common asbestos-containing products included:
- Flooring products
- Steam pipes
- Hot water pipes
- Brakes and clutches
- Boilers, turbines, and generators
Other members of the military were subjected to asbestos simply by being aboard ships, many of which had asbestos as a heavily used component. The pervasiveness of asbestos in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s made it difficult to avoid, particularly in the military. It has been estimated that up to 30% of veterans who served before 1970 were exposed to asbestos in some form. In addition, many members of the military who were in regular contact with asbestos inadvertently took the asbestos home with them on their clothing, thereby exposing their spouses and children.
In the Decades Before 1970
Before its dangers were identified, many thought of asbestos as a "miracle material" in light of its strength, durability, and fire-resistant qualities. It wasn't until the 1960s that overwhelming evidence of the risk of malignant mesothelioma cancer and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure finally started to shut the asbestos industry down, but by then, millions of people had been exposed to this toxic material in their workplaces and homes.
Veterans’ Rights and Mesothelioma Compensation
Mesothelioma often takes decades to manifest itself. It is now increasingly identified in soldiers, sailors, airmen and others who were exposed to asbestos years ago. These veterans have rights, including the right to receive proper medical care and compensation for their losses. Mesothelioma, or asbestos cancer, is a devastating disease that results in damages such as:
- Loss of work
- Loss of income
- Huge medical bills
- Loss of a spouse/parent/loved one
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering
If mesothelioma has befallen you or your loved one, you have legal rights that can be protected with the assistance of an attorney. Contact an experienced and qualified mesothelioma attorney today to arrange a consultation and discuss your options.
Wars and Military Branches
Below you will find more information that may help answer more specific questions about "How" and "When" veterans may have been exposed to asbestos; these pages include specific wars, different branches of the military, and relevant information about compensation and benefits for veterans with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.