Nearly one-third of all mesothelioma victims in America are veterans, most of whom served in the United States Navy. This heartbreaking statistic is a reality we wrestle with daily. Until the mid-1970s, almost all ships built by the Navy were constructed with materials that contained asbestos–the inhaled fibers of which cause mesothelioma. The closed environment of the ship meant that almost all personnel were in close contact with airborne asbestos particles. Those who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Merchant Marines, and Army National Guard also may have been exposed since asbestos was regularly used in the construction and operation of military bases and facilities. 

These brave men and women fought for our country and dedicated their service to protecting our freedoms in times of crisis. It is unconscionable that they were routinely exposed to harmful levels of asbestos during the course of their service. If you or someone you know is a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, they deserve compensation to help them through this very difficult diagnosis. 

There are two main avenues through which veterans can pursue financial help: government benefits and legal claims, and we encourage you to explore both options.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the most valuable organizations for veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma. Military service members diagnosed with this disease who can directly tie their diagnosis to their service may be eligible for VA disability compensation, VA pension, VA healthcare, and a number of other benefits. Once diagnosed, we recommend submitting a claim as soon as possible. You can do this yourself, either in person or online, or with the help of a VA Environmental Health Coordinator who can walk you through the claim process and help you gather the evidence you need.

This evidence typically includes supporting documents such as VA medical records and hospital records, private medical records and hospital reports, military service records, and possible supporting statements from family members, friends, or people you served with. You will also need a doctor’s statement linking your mesothelioma diagnosis to your military service. Generally, if you can provide sufficient proof that your mesothelioma is related to your time in the service, you will be granted benefits. While historically this has been easiest for Navy personnel, Army, Air Force, or Marine veterans may still be able to link their diagnosis to their service. 

Read more about how to file a VA disability claim, or watch the VA’s disability claims video on YouTube.

Legal Claims Against Asbestos Manufacturers

Following a mesothelioma diagnosis, medical bills can start adding up quickly and insurance and other benefits may not cover the mounting costs. Veterans across Massachusetts who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma deserve compensation for their suffering. Regardless of whether you have begun a claim or currently receive VA benefits, we encourage you to explore the possibility of a legal claim against asbestos manufacturers, which, if successful, can lead to significant financial payouts for you and your family. 

The standard of proof required for a successful lawsuit, however, is considerably higher than it is to receive VA benefits. Much more detail is required to fight a case in the courtroom, including proof that specific products were used and specific timelines of exposure. While it may seem daunting to try to pull these pieces together yourself, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who has won cases for veterans in the past, will know exactly what to look for and understand the legal strategies required to win your case. They will work closely with you and your family to identify the dangerous products you may have worked with and the manufacturers and/or asbestos trust funds that have already been forced to pay compensation to veterans. Typical products that caused asbestos exposure in veterans include:

  • boilers
  • pumps
  • valves
  • pipes 
  • main propulsion turbines
  • ship service generators
  • galley equipment
  • laundry equipment
  • deck coverings
  • protective equipment 
  • and more.

Don’t miss out on the compensation you and your family deserve. If you think you might have a mesothelioma case in Massachusetts, we encourage you to reach out to Shepard O’Donnell for a free consultation during which we will evaluate your case and determine if you have a viable claim. We have helped hundreds of individuals and families get justice for their injuries, regularly obtaining settlements and verdicts in the millions. And you will never pay unless we deliver results for you. Read more about the importance of hiring a local law firm for your mesothelioma case. 

Note: We pursue compensation from the manufacturers of the asbestos-containing products that injured our veterans, not from the government or the military.