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Marine Veteran Mesothelioma Attorney

marine-mesothelioma-asbestos-lawsuit More than 20,000 veterans and military personnel develop mesothelioma each year.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not recognize asbestos exposure while serving in the Marines as a cause for compensation and often denies disability compensation benefits when veterans apply for help with their mesothelioma diagnosis.

Did your doctor diagnose you with mesothelioma likely due to exposure to asbestos during your time in the Armed Forces?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for members of all military branches, including the United States Marines.

Call our asbestos injury attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Asbestos Related Diseases

Doctors have diagnosed tens of thousands of Marine Corps veterans with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, including:

  • Asbestosis, which is a scarring of the lung tissue, is often a result of exposure to products that contain asbestos during military service
  • Pleural mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that forms in the pleura. The pleura is the thin membrane that lines the chest cavity and covers the outside of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma, also called pleural plaque, is the most common form of mesothelioma
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that starts in the stomach. This type of cancer happens when asbestos fibers are breathed in and become trapped in the abdomen lining.
  • Pericardium mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma that forms in the tissue surrounding the heart
  • Testicular mesothelioma is a form of mesothelioma that occurs when asbestos fibers are breathed in and become stuck in the testicles
  • Lung cancer is not mesothelioma; however, many veterans diagnosed with lung cancer also have asbestos exposure in their background. There is a strong association between asbestos exposure and both mesothelioma and cancer of the lung.

Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaque, peritoneal plaque, or testicular cancer who served in the United States Marine Corps from about 1940 to 1980 were exposed to asbestos on US Navy ships Marine bases, and at military training centers.

VA Disability Payments for Mesothelioma Victims

The United States government offers prescription drug coverage to Marine Corps veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The VA offers healthcare benefits under the Veterans Administration (VA) to more than 4 million veterans and family members. This unique healthcare system for military personnel and their families operates outside the United States Department of Defense (DoD).

According to the Director of the Veterans Department, the VA administers compensation benefits to Marine Corps veterans who served in the Armed Forces and become disabled due to an asbestos-related illness or injury sustained while on active military duty or as a result of a previously service-connected disability.

The VA does not recognize exposure to asbestos fibers and dust while serving in the Marines as being connected with a mesothelioma diagnosis, so veterans who have been exposed to asbestos cannot receive any VA benefits for their condition or treatment.

In addition, if a veteran is alive and diagnosed with mesothelioma, the US government does not provide any compensation or assistance to family members of Marine Corps veterans who died from an asbestos-related disease.

However, Marine Corps veterans exposed to asbestos while serving in the military may still receive compensation for mesothelioma under individual state laws.

What Is Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos exposure is the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos during various activities. Asbestos exposure has been linked to lung cancer and other diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Examples of activities that can lead to asbestos exposure:

  • Working with certain building materials such as insulation, brake linings, and ceiling tiles
  • Living in buildings near demolition sites
  • Living or working in buildings with deteriorating asbestos materials (e.g., pipes, ceiling tiles)
  • Serving in the military
  • Working on Army and Air Force bases
  • Working with asbestos-containing materials during ship or boat repair or demolition
  • Serving as a police officer, firefighter, or EMT who may be called to demolitions sites.

Marine Corps Veterans With Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the protective lining surrounding the lungs, abdomen, and other major organs. It can take as long as 50 years after exposure to begin developing mesothelioma symptoms, many of which include:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing and shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in the abdomen and back
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Hoarseness or a weak voice
  • Abdominal swelling that is not caused by overeating.

Asbestos-related disabilities are considered service-connected if Marine Corps veterans meet the criteria for service connection for an asbestos-related disability.

Qualifying disabilities include:

  • Asbestosis, a lung disease caused by breathing in asbestos fibers
  • Pleural plaques, which are thickening of the inner lining of the lungs
  • Pleural thickening, which is when fluid builds up between layers of tissue in the lung
  • Pleural effusion, which is when fluid builds up between layers of tissue in the lungs
  • Lung cancer where the disease affects the air sacs of the lungs
  • Abnormal cells in the pleura, which is the lining around the lung and chest wall

Other cancers that are not considered "presumptive" for veterans with 30 years of service may also qualify under certain conditions. Each case is unique. Veterans should work with an accredited representative to ensure that all necessary documentation is included in their claims.

If any paperwork or medical evidence was lost or destroyed, veterans have up to three years following the date on the letter of denial to request a fresh look at their claim.

What Are Disability Claims?

Disability claims occur after illnesses associated with asbestos exposure become harder to treat or start to cause other health problems.

To file a claim for disability benefits and show that the illness is connected to asbestos exposure, you should:

  • Apply using eBenefits (online or through a mobile device)
  • File with your local, regional office

Work with an accredited representative or agent to ensure you receive VA health care. For assistance in finding someone to help you file your claim, call the Accredited Representative that services your jurisdiction.

Important Facts

The current disability rate for veterans with a service-connected condition is higher than it has been in decades. As of August 1, 2021, the average wait time for a claim to be completed is 255 days.

Individuals who are terminally ill (have received a medical prognosis of 12 months or less) may qualify for expedited processing of their claims.

Veterans affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria may be eligible for expedited claims processing. In addition, veterans who have recently returned from deployment may benefit from filing sooner rather than later.

For assistance in filing your claim, contact an accredited representative who can help you navigate the process.

When applying for VA disability compensation, applicants must include the following information:

  • Their full name
  • Service number, DD-214 Member 4 copy, or if separated from service under honorable conditions, a certified copy of their separation papers.
  • Address where they are receiving treatment for asbestos-related disabilities
  • Hospital or nursing home treating them for asbestos-related disabilities. If they are not in a hospital or nursing home, they must include the names of their doctors and which doctor(s) is/are treating them for asbestos-related disabilities.
  • Evidence of service connection for any disability they are claiming

Evidence to support an in-service diagnosis of asbestosis or mesothelioma, like:

  • Laboratory reports from the time of exposure
  • Radiological evidence, such as:
    • Radiology reports
    • Pathology reports
    • CT or MRI reports
    • Chest X-rays
    • Pulmonary function tests and other spirometry results
  • Medical opinions addressing their diagnosis and treatment by a physician knowledgeable about asbestos exposure and disease
  • The medical condition for which they are seeking benefits

Provide medical evidence demonstrating the connection between their current medical condition and asbestos exposure during military service, like:

  • Veterans should also include a copy of any correspondence from VA or DoD related to their diagnosis, treatment, or military status.
  • Veterans may need to submit additional information to claim VA benefits for a spouse, child, or dependent.

Whenever possible, applicants should submit evidence with the US Department of Veterans Affairs dated within the last 90 days.

Veterans who are not currently receiving treatment for asbestos-related disabilities (or who were previously receiving treatment) can include anything that shows that they had an asbestos-related disability, including:

  • A death certificate showing that they died from an asbestos-related disease
  • A veteran who is filing a claim for a dependent (i.e., widow, child) should include:
    • The relationship between the veteran and their spouse/child
    • Evidence to support the diagnosis of the family member's condition, e.g., laboratory reports or medical opinions

Disability Rating

A disability rating can range from 0 to 100 percent. Higher ratings may qualify veterans for additional compensation and benefits, such as specially adapted housing or tax exemptions.

Veterans with a service-connected condition that meet certain income requirements (including Social Security Disability Insurance) may be eligible for additional monthly cash benefits under the VA's Income Replacement Program.

Veterans must work with a VA-accredited claims agent to ensure that the documentation needed for their claim is submitted with all due diligence and promptly.

Asbestos Risks for Marines in Ships and Shipyards

According to data, currently, more than one-third of all veterans who have consistently filed disability claims with the US Department of Veteran Affairs are veterans who served in the Marine Corps.

Studies show that Marine Veterans have a higher rate of developing illnesses, especially those related to asbestos. Asbestos was used heavily during WWII and the Korean War, as well as in the Vietnam era.

It was common for Navy ships to be outfitted with asbestos linings for insulating pipes and bulkheads to prevent fires from spreading onboard ships.

In addition, asbestos was also used around ships for making gaskets, deck tiles, packing insulation, antifouling compounds, and paint. Therefore, it is no surprise that asbestos exposure to Marines who served on Naval ships might have occurred.

Navy Shipyard Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Unfortunately, there has been a recent increase in the number of claims filed with the US Department of Veteran Affairs for asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma. In fact, in 2005, Navy veterans' rate of disability claims for asbestos-related diseases increased by 30%.

This increase in filings is due to many cases being identified among Vietnam War Veterans and shipyard workers. During the Vietnam War, many Navy ships were being repaired, refurbished, and retrofitted in shipyards across the country. Asbestos was often used to insulate and fireproof pipes and bulkheads on board these ships.

Therefore, it is no surprise that there has been a high level of exposure among those who served as shipyard workers during the Vietnam War era. In addition, many Navy shipyards used asbestos to insulate and fireproof piping both on ships.

Veterans Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma

Exposure to asbestos fibers and dust in the United States Marine Corps is a major concern for veterans with mesothelioma. More than 20,000 cases of mesothelioma develop every year.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs does not recognize exposure to asbestos while serving in the Marines as a cause for compensation for mesothelioma patients.

This statistic means that veterans who served their country and developed this illness are denied disability benefits by the VA when they apply for help with their diagnosis.

However, VA accredited claims agents can help veterans make their case for VA benefits by following guidelines for gathering documentation to support their VA claim.

This list is not all-inclusive, but applicants should include information that shows how they are currently disabled because of asbestos exposure during service, like:

  • Laboratory reports from the time of exposure
  • Radiological evidence, such as:
  • Radiology reports
  • Pathology reports
  • CT or MRI reports
  • Chest X-rays
  • Pulmonary function tests and other spirometry results
  • Medical opinions addressing their diagnosis and treatment by a physician knowledgeable about asbestos exposure and disease
  • The medical condition for which they are seeking benefits; e.g., asbestosis, mesothelioma, cancer of the lung
  • Provide medical evidence demonstrating the connection between their current medical condition and asbestos exposure during military service, like:
    • Veterans should also include a copy of any correspondence from VA or DoD related to their diagnosis, treatment, or military status.
    • Veterans may need to submit additional information to claim benefits for a spouse, child, or dependent.

Whenever possible, applicants should submit evidence that is dated within the last 90 days. Veterans who are not currently receiving treatment for asbestos-related disabilities (or who were previously receiving treatment) can include anything that shows that they had an asbestos-related disability.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Veterans who are the survivors of a service member who died from an asbestos-related disease may be eligible for DIC benefits.

A veteran filing on behalf of their spouse should include:

  • The relationship between the veteran and their spouse/child
  • Evidence to support the diagnosis of the family member's condition; e.g., laboratory reports or medical opinions
  • Evidence of the veteran's exposure to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Marines, such as:
  • Laboratory reports from the time of exposure
  • Radiological evidence, such as:
    • Radiology reports Pathology reports CT or MRI reports Chest X-rays Pulmonary function tests and other spirometry results
    • Medical opinions by mesothelioma doctors addressing their diagnosis and treatment by a physician knowledgeable about the risk of asbestos exposure and disease
    • The medical condition for which they are seeking VA benefits; e.g., asbestosis, mesothelioma, cancer of the lung

Provide medical evidence demonstrating the connection between their current medical condition and the risk of asbestos exposure during military service, like:

  • Claims for a dependent must include the relationship between the veterans and their dependent(s)
  • The provision of medical care by the VA does not automatically make a veteran eligible for disability compensation. There may be additional requirements that must be met to establish eligibility

Mesothelioma Treatment for Navy Veterans

Doctors can accurately diagnose mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses to recommend the most effective treatment. Once the condition is diagnosed, the cancer team will provide professional medical advice to improve the patient's prognosis.

Available mesothelioma treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery or a clinical trial for mesothelioma
  • Doctors may treat a patient's pain or other symptoms with medications, such as morphine or oxycodone.

The next step is to review the facts of the case, diagnosis, and evidence provided by the veteran. Finally, the VA will review the service records to document all periods of military service. Veterans need to provide copies of their DD Form 214 to support their claims.

Veterans who served in the Navy and later became ill from mesothelioma can file a disability claim to receive disability compensation for mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Veterans diagnosed with cancer should seek support and medical guidance from a mesothelioma specialist.

The Veterans Affairs Department provides veterans disability benefits for service-related medical conditions, including asbestos exposure.

Military Medical Records

Service medical records are the most important document supporting a disability claim because they include detailed veterans' military service information.

The Veterans Affairs Department recommends that veterans file their disability claim as early as possible, preferably within one year of their diagnosis. In 1969, the US Navy produced a training film showing how asbestos insulation was applied to US naval ships' machinery and equipment.

The goal of the training film was to familiarize veterans with asbestos and teach them how to avoid exposing themselves to the toxic mineral. Veterans with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses may be entitled to VA benefits when filing a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans who file a disability claim with the VA for an asbestos-related disease can receive compensation at two different levels: individual unemployability and total disability.

What Is the Average Settlement for an Asbestos Claim?

Our mesothelioma injury attorneys have been asked this question many times. Unfortunately, there is no "average" settlement for an asbestos case because each claim is different, and each claimant has a unique situation.

Our attorneys have recovered millions for clients in mesothelioma claims against asbestos companies, but several factors affect the size of your award:

  • If you had a good job with full health insurance before getting sick, your compensation might be less than someone who has lost their job and struggles to pay medical bills.
  • Payouts are generally higher for people diagnosed with mesothelioma (or another asbestos-related disease) early.
  • The amount paid depends on the percentage of disability you have, whether or not you are receiving Social Security benefits, your life expectancy, and your age.
  • The severity of your disease plays a critical role in how much money you will receive from an asbestos trust fund.

Suppose you did not develop any health problems until many years after being exposed to asbestos on the job. In that case, compensation might be higher than for people exposed and who began experiencing symptoms within a short period.

The value might be determined by the number of dependents, such as a spouse or minor children. The greater the number of dependents, the larger your settlement will likely be.

How Do I Find Out If My Doctor Is Qualified to Treat an Asbestos-Related Illness?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a network of doctors who specialize in occupational and environmental medicine. Visit the CDC's website to find a doctor close to your home.

In addition, many reputable mesothelioma specialists throughout the US have experience treating people with asbestos-related illnesses. If you would like a list of mesothelioma specialists in your area, please contact us.

Veteran's Disability Claims Filing Process

A veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps from about 1940 to 1980 may be eligible to receive benefits for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Benefits might be available if they developed mesothelioma symptoms within one year after leaving military service after primary or secondary asbestos exposure.

Our firm has helped hundreds of Navy vets get the compensation they deserve from the VA after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer due to their time in service or contact with asbestos products and materials during that period.

According to the asbestos medical surveillance program, the government maintains that medical records on any veteran known to be exposed to asbestos in the military, including any products that contained asbestos.

Exposed to Asbestos? Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Compensation Case

Are you active in the Marines or a military veteran who has been exposed to asbestos? Has the doctor accurately diagnosed your condition as mesothelioma, asbestos, or another asbestos-related disease?

The mesothelioma injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have years of experience in resolving cases just like yours. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Our legal team accepts all mesothelioma lawsuits and wrongful death cases through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.

Marine Veteran Asbestos Exposure and Disability Claims Resources:

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