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Compensation Options for Veterans

The brave men and women who join the U.S. Armed Forces understand and accept the fact that they can be put in harm’s way at any time. However, without being warned of the danger, U.S. military personnel—including veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War—may have been performing their duties in hazardous environments surrounded by asbestos-containing products. From boilers to pipe insulation, companies incorporated asbestos as a key ingredient in the manufacturing of all kinds of products used in the construction of U.S. Navy ships and in other environments in which veterans worked every day. The companies that produced these products knew asbestos was dangerous, but they chose to put profits ahead of people anyway. It is estimated that 1/3 of all mesothelioma cases involve naval or shipyard exposure to asbestos.
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Do Mesothelioma Lawyers Sue the Government or Military?

The military did not know that the asbestos-containing products they purchased were dangerous. So, generally speaking, the answer is no—the government and military are not responsible and are not typically the target of mesothelioma lawsuits. So, like all other victims, veterans may be entitled to receive compensation from the manufacturers of the asbestos-containing products to which they were exposed and not the government or the branch of the armed services they served.

Where Does Settlement Money Come From?

If they qualify, veterans may receive compensation from either one or more of the many companies that produced asbestos-containing products and are still in business or from a court-ordered mesothelioma trust established to hold bankrupt companies responsible for producing asbestos-containing products.

There Is Help for Veterans

When you seek legal compensation for your mesothelioma diagnosis, you are not suing the U.S. government or the military branch you served. Instead, you are holding the manufacturers of dangerous asbestos-containing materials responsible for their actions.

If you receive VA benefits, it is important for you to know that your future benefits will likely not be affected by any type of legal settlement you might be awarded.

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Taking Legal Action

Get Help Filing Your VA Benefits Claim

If you are a veteran and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to receive VA benefits. Thankfully, there are people available to help you get started.

Perhaps the most important thing for you to know is—do not delay. Because the VA benefits review process can be time-consuming, filing a claim should be one of the first things you do immediately after you are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The system can be complicated, so the VA recommends appointing an accredited Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to help you navigate the process. Your VSO will help you get started by gathering all the relevant information—including where you served, your medical records, etc. He or she will help you complete all the required paperwork and even submit your claim for you. Working with an experienced VSO is a smart way to get the ball rolling the right way.

To find a VSO, you can request to meet with a coordinator through the hospital where you are being treated, or click here to find a VSO now.

Help may also be available through your local VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans or Order of the Purple Heart organizations. Typically, you don’t have to be a member of these organizations in order to receive help. And because these resources are nearby, you may already know some of these folks—so your experience could be a bit more personal.

Step-by-Step—Filing for VA Benefits

There is a process in place to file for and begin receiving VA benefits. How long it takes will depend on how complex your claim is, the amount of solid evidence you are able to provide and the number of active claims in your area.

  1. Submit your claim: You can do this yourself—online, by mail, at a regional VA office in your area—or you can work with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). He or she will walk you through the entire process then submit the necessary paperwork for you.
  2. A VSO will review your claim to make sure all required evidence is included. Once satisfied with your submission, the VSO will begin the decision-making process. The VSO will contact you if he or she needs additional information.
  3. The VSO’s recommended decision is reviewed. If your claim is approved, the VA will decide how much money you will receive.
  4. Finally, a decision packet will be mailed directly to you. If you are approved, you will begin receiving one check at the beginning of every month.

VA Benefits Available to Families

If your family member has passed away due to mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos in the U.S. military, you could be entitled to benefits. The VA calls this “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation,” which may be available to eligible survivors of veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. Click here to contact the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

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