During the last century, between 1920 and 1980, millions of veterans were heavily exposed to asbestos, particularly those who served in the U.S. Navy.
As a consequence, today, hundreds of thousands of former members of the military struggle with diseases caused by asbestos exposure, as these diseases usually develop within 20 to 50 years from their first contact with asbestos.
In addition to the companies that manufactured the dangerous products they would handle in the military, the VA represents a major source of financial compensation for veterans whose health was affected by asbestos exposure. However, it often fails to promptly offer the assistance ill veterans need, as the VA has recently become a federal government bureaucracy where there is a lot of mismanagement, unaccountability, and waste.
There are currently 300,000 employees working for the VA, it has only 1,600 healthcare centers throughout the entire country, as well as a yearly budget of $60 billion. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that veterans who seek the help of the VA rarely receive the benefits they are entitled to.
Similar to the military hierarchy, which failed to warn people who were on active service of the dangers of asbestos exposure, the VA is currently taking lightly the serious and usually life-threatening health problems veterans injured by asbestos exposure are suffering from. The main branches of the VA that fail to provide the necessary assistance to elderly and needy veterans are:
A very enlightening example in this respect is the case of a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from California. He served in the military in the 1960s and spent a significant amount of time in Vietnam. In 2012, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the most aggressive cancer asbestos exposure can result in. Nevertheless, as is the case of a tremendous number of veterans, he had been initially misdiagnosed by the medical professionals at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.
After the veteran received his correct diagnosis, the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, where he was told to go, said that they were not equipped to address his complex health problem. As a consequence, the man did not receive the treatment that he needed. What is perhaps the most infuriating about this situation is that both VA medical facilities failed to inform the veteran and his family about the VA's new Comprehensive Mesothelioma Program nearby Los Angeles. When they found the medical center on their own, it was unfortunately too late and the veteran died soon after.
Another important aspect veterans often complain about is filing a claim to receive disability compensation or other benefits from the VA, which is especially daunting if they struggle with a disease caused by asbestos exposure. Even if they choose to file their claim with the help of Veterans Service Officers or Claims Agents, the process is still very time-consuming.
While the average waiting time for the approval or denial of a claim is one year, the life expectancy of veterans who struggle with serious diseases stemming from asbestos exposure is 6 to 16 months. Some of the most common complaints of veterans when it comes to the process of filing a claim with the VA are the following:
However, it is essential to know that, with the assistance of a lawyer whose main area of practice is toxic exposure, you can have your VA claim expedited so that you will not have to wait so long until it is approved. Furthermore, your asbestos claim will most certainly be approved by the VA if you choose to file it with the help of a specialized attorney, as they have the necessary knowledge and resources to gather pertinent evidence and speed up the review process.
Although the VA has recently proclaimed outstanding statistics concerning the improved efficiency of processing veterans' claims, the number does not accurately represent how the claims filed for diseases caused by asbestos exposure are processed. The VA states that the number of pending claims has dropped from 883,930 in 2012 to 372,783 in 2015. Moreover, the agency also touts that it approves 70% of the claims it receives from veterans. Nonetheless, these numbers do not tell us anything about asbestos exposure claims, which usually take longer to process because of their complexity.
In conclusion, if you are a veteran injured by asbestos exposure and intend to seek financial compensation, we strongly encourage you to proceed with the aid of a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases. Before you contact one, however, you should reach out to our expert team, which is here to make the process easier for you by helping you determine whether you are eligible for compensation.
With over 35 years of experience in evaluating personal injury claims, we are ready to provide you quality assistance in order to determine whether you qualify for filing a claim as a veteran injured by asbestos exposure. All you have to do is send our team your military records and your medical records so that we can assess them and, eventually, we will be able to tell you with certainty if you are entitled to financial compensation from the VA.