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How to Recover Compensation from the VA for Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure

Posted on 21st June, 2021

by Legal Staff

Between 1920 and 1980, nearly every member of the military was exposed to asbestos while on active duty, as the U.S. military would use shocking amounts of asbestos.

Without a doubt, the U.S. Navy was the military branch that exposed people to asbestos the most, since, on every ship, there were over 300 different asbestos products.

However, insulation was by far the most dangerous asbestos product, as it would easily become friable and inevitably release toxic fibers in the air, from which they were inhaled and ingested by members of the military.

Today, hundreds of thousands of veterans struggle with terrible diseases caused by military asbestos exposure, the most serious being mesothelioma. It is estimated that veterans account for 30% of mesothelioma cases, as their asbestos exposure was very serious and prolonged. Nevertheless, for veterans injured by asbestos exposure, there is a little hope, since they can now recover the financial compensation they deserve for their suffering both from the companies that exposed them to asbestos and from the VA.

It is worthy of note that obtaining compensation as a veteran whose health was affected by military asbestos exposure is a very challenging and complex process that only a lawyer whose main area of practice is toxic exposure can successfully carry out. Working with a specialized attorney has numerous benefits, as:

  • they will attend to the majority of matters involved in the legal process
  • they will gather the necessary evidence and documents for you
  • they will thoroughly prepare your asbestos exposure claim for submission

These are just a few of the many advantages of hiring a lawyer as a veteran injured by asbestos exposure. When it is ready, your asbestos exposure claim will first be filed with every company that is responsible for your diagnosis.

Some of these companies have set up asbestos trust funds, as they were forced to file for bankruptcy because they were having too many personal injury lawsuits filed against them by former workers injured by asbestos exposure. Nonetheless, your lawyer will file your claim both with asbestos trust funds and with the liable companies that are still in business. Afterward, they will begin preparing your claim for submission to the VA.

What Is the Process of Filing a VA Claim for Asbestos Exposure?

If you are a veteran who chose to work with a lawyer specializing in toxic exposure, you will not have to worry about many aspects of having your asbestos claim filed with the VA. The only documents you will need to provide your attorney are your military records and your medical records, which will be used as evidence of asbestos exposure and as proof of related diagnosis. In the meantime, their legal team will take care of the remaining paperwork and will also gather additional evidence for your claim by relying on their vast database. The primary VA benefit your lawyer will be aiming to obtain for you is disability compensation.

Veterans who have mesothelioma or lung cancer as a consequence of military asbestos exposure are usually assigned a 100% disability rating, which will result in a monthly sum of money of approximately $3,000. However, if you are a veteran who struggles with a non-malignant lung disease, you will still receive disability compensation, but less than individuals who have cancer. A very important aspect you need to keep in mind if you intend to seek financial compensation for asbestos exposure as a veteran is that you must not have been discharged from the military dishonorably.

The following are the documents that must accompany your asbestos claim when your lawyer submits it to the VA for disability compensation, but you will not have to prepare them, as your attorney will efficiently attend to this part of the process:

  • discharge status
  • exposure summary
  • medical evidence

Processing your VA claim will typically take a few months, which is why we advise you to be patient. Nonetheless, if you have a terminal disease, your lawyer will expedite your asbestos claim so that the VA can offer you the money you need for your healthcare and treatment as soon as possible. Veterans with terminal cancer always have priority when it comes to obtaining financial compensation.

What Other VA Benefits Can Veterans and Their Family Members Receive?

In addition to disability compensation, for which nearly all veterans whose health was affected by asbestos exposure are eligible, there are other VA benefits your lawyer can help you receive, such as the following:

  • VA Healthcare: Your enrollment in the VA healthcare system will depend on your income level or confirmation of a disease that you developed as a result of serving in the military. Usually, the VA deems mesothelioma connected to service if at least 50% of the asbestos exposure that caused it occurred while you were on active duty.
  • Special Monthly Compensation: This is a VA benefit available to veterans who require the help of another person to perform daily tasks. It is also available to the spouses and parents of veterans. The sum of money you will receive if the VA offers you this benefit will highly depend on how much aid and attendance you need in your everyday life. However, the payment ranges between $3,800 and $5,000 per month.

Because they have the necessary knowledge and experience in asbestos exposure cases, your lawyer will know the VA benefits you can receive and will strive to obtain them for you. It is important to know that the VA also provides Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to the surviving family members of veterans who passed away due to diseases caused by asbestos exposure. If the cause of death was mesothelioma, the family members will receive a little over $1,000 every month.

One aspect you need to be aware of if you are the surviving family member of a veteran who lost their life to a disease caused by asbestos exposure is the fact that, regardless of whether they had been receiving compensation from the VA while they were alive, you will still need to file a claim to obtain this benefit.

Finally, another VA benefit for the surviving family members of veterans killed by asbestos exposure is VA Burial Benefits. The VA will pay you $2,000 if your veteran relative died of a disease caused by asbestos exposure, but you will have to provide them with evidence of you having paid their burial or funeral.

File a VA Asbestos Claim with the Help of Our Expert Team

With over 35 years of experience in assessing personal injury and product liability claims, the team of Atraxia Law is ready to provide you with the assistance you need if you are a veteran injured by asbestos exposure who intends to seek compensation.

To make the process as easy as possible for you, we will carefully evaluate your situation before recommending you a specialized attorney to have your asbestos claim filed with the VA. We will also need your military records and your medical records from you so that we can thoroughly examine your case.

If we determine that you qualify for compensation, we will promptly guide you to a lawyer whose primary area of practice is toxic exposure so that you can obtain the VA benefits you are eligible for. One important aspect you need to keep in mind, however, is that asbestos claims have a statute of limitations of 3 years from the moment of diagnosis in most states, which is why we strongly encourage you to reach out to our professionals as soon as you find out about your disease.