Many Pennsylvanians have proudly served in the military. While serving certainly had risks, certainly during wartime, veterans likely did not expect to be injured or die from mesothelioma or asbestos-related diseases. Nevertheless, almost one-third of all cases (about 900-1,100 annually) involve those who served in the military, generally contracting the illness 20 to 50 years after the exposure. This adds up to a total of 15,000 fatalities between 1999 and 2017.
How did this happen?
The military no longer uses asbestos, but it is still found on old military bases and ships. The military removed much of the asbestos in the 1980s when it was found to cause mesothelioma and other severe illnesses, but it was sometimes left behind due to time constraints or costs. According to the Veteran’s Administration, those who served or worked in the following areas should get tested:
- Construction (particularly flooring, roofing, pipes, and insulation)
Lawsuits against manufacturers
Typically, the Department of Veteran Affairs handles veterans’ mesothelioma and asbestos claim, but veterans or family members can file a lawsuit against companies who manufactured asbestos-containing products. The military sometimes used these products in the above settings.
Does not affect VA benefits
Veterans and their families can file claims with the Department of Veteran Affairs while also separately seeking damages against the manufacturers. As with others who file lawsuits against these companies, the victims can resolve their case without going to court.
There is no cure
Service personnel or their families may have come in contact with asbestos and subsequently contracted mesothelioma or another illness may want to discuss their circumstances with an attorney who focuses on asbestos cases. These legal professionals can provide helpful guidance to victims and family members for getting the compensation they deserve.