During the last century, over 20 million veterans were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military, particularly individuals who were in the U.S. Navy. According to estimates, there were over 300 different asbestos products on every ship before 1980. When these hazardous products were disturbed or became friable, they would release millions of toxic fibers in the air, making exposure inevitable. Today, more than 30% of veterans struggle with a disease as a consequence of military asbestos exposure, many of whom receive disability compensation from the VA. However, in addition to this benefit, veterans can also obtain compensation by filing a claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies that manufactured the products they were exposed to with the help of a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases.
If you were injured by asbestos while serving in the military, you can reach out to the VA and, after a thorough medical examination, their medical specialists will assign you a disability rating, which can range from 0% to 100%. Subsequently, after filing a claim, which is advisable to do with the assistance of a lawyer as well, you will receive disability compensation, which is a monthly, tax-free benefit. You can seek disability compensation from the VA for the following diagnoses related to asbestos exposure:
- lung cancer
- pulmonary fibrosis
- bronchial cancer
- gastrointestinal cancer
- colorectal cancer
- esophageal cancer
However, before applying for disability compensation with the VA, it is a good idea to seek a second and even a third opinion from medical experts, as misdiagnosis is very common when it comes to diseases caused by asbestos exposure. This way, you will make sure your diagnosis is correct and accurate. If you have a history of military asbestos exposure, but do not have a diagnosis, we strongly advise you to undergo asbestos screening, which entails a medical professional examining your lungs to determine the presence of asbestos fibers. They will employ diagnostic tools such as chest X-rays, blood tests and breathing tests. Only when you have a correct diagnosis you should file a claim for disability compensation with the VA. Veterans who have a 100% disability rating will receive approximately $3,106 every month.
There are thousands of veterans who unfortunately became 100% disabled after exposure to asbestos during military service, including people who suffer from COPD. It is important to know that if you need the help of another person to perform your daily tasks, such as eating, dressing or bathing, you will also qualify for special monthly compensation, which is a benefit that you can get instead of disability compensation. The VA will decide, with your consent, which benefit is the most suitable for you.
Seeking Compensation from Asbestos Trust Funds
It is important to know that, as a veteran injured by military asbestos exposure, you are also eligible for compensation from asbestos trust funds, which have been set up since 1980 by major companies that filed for bankruptcy to provide future claimants with the compensation they deserve. In addition to former industrial workers, veterans who were exposed to asbestos products while on duty are also entitled to compensation from asbestos trust funds. It is worthy of note that you can receive money both from the VA and from asbestos trust funds if you are a veteran who developed a disease as a result of asbestos exposure, as applying for one does not disqualify you from the other. The eligibility criteria for filing a claim with asbestos trust funds for veterans are:
- you must have been exposed to asbestos in the military for at least 3 years
- you must have a diagnosis that has a definitive causal relation with asbestos exposure
- the statute of limitations, which is 3 years from the moment of diagnosis in most states, must not have been exceeded
The assistance of a lawyer whose main area of practice is toxic exposure is crucial if you intend to seek compensation from asbestos trust funds as a 100% disabled veteran, as the legal process is very complex. Nonetheless, with the help of a specialized attorney, your involvement in the legal process will be minimal, as you will only have to send your lawyer your military and medical records, while the rest of the necessary paperwork will be efficiently handled by their legal team. Eventually, you will obtain the maximum compensation you are entitled to from one or multiple asbestos trust funds, depending on how many companies exposed you to asbestos products in the military, as you can file a claim with more than one asbestos trust fund. By filing a claim with the asbestos trust funds of all the companies responsible for your exposure, you will receive the largest sum of money available for your diagnosis, which will be substantial if you are 100% disabled.