Veterans make up a large portion of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.
The disease — a deadly form of cancer that often causes the death of patients within a year of diagnosis — affects nearly 3,000 people each year. In fact, although only 7% of the U.S. population are veterans, they make up 30% of people who have died from mesothelioma.
The reason why veterans have such a high rate of mesothelioma diagnoses is because there were several instances where they were potentially exposed to asbestos, especially those veterans who served between 1940 and the 1990s when the dangers of asbestos were either not known or not dealt with.
Veterans with a high rate for potential exposure include:
- S. Navy workers employed in shipyards during World War II. Asbestos was frequently used in the construction of navy ships and asbestos was often found in the air of the ships’ boiler and engine rooms.
- Veterans who served in Vietnam were potentially exposed to asbestos used in ships, transport vehicles, garage repair shops, and building construction materials.
- Individuals, especially wives, who lived with veterans and could have been secondarily exposed to asbestos by their loved ones.
Although the asbestos exposure could have happened many years ago, the threat of developing mesothelioma is still there. The latency period for the disease can be anywhere from 20 to 60 years.
If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you deserve compensation to help take care of your medical bills and safeguard the financial future of yourself and your family. To receive that compensation, some of the steps you need to take — once you are receiving the medical care you need — are:
- Hire an attorney. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will know if you have a valid legal claim and will provide you a free consultation. From there, they will walk you through the process of filing a mesothelioma claim.
- Gather your necessary documents. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), you will need your medical records that state your illness or diagnosis, service records that list your job or specialty, and a statement from your doctor that confirms there is a connection between your illness and contact with asbestos during your service. To file for compensation, you will also need to provide supporting documentation from family, friends, colleagues, clergy, etc., that discusses your condition and how it has affected your life. Your claim can be filed via the VA website, as well as via mail or in person.
- Wait for a response.According to the VA, it takes on average at least 1 days to complete a disability-related claim. During this time, you may receive a request for additional information from the VA.
Filing a VA claim for mesothelioma does take time, but in order to guarantee financial security for you and your family’s future, it is worth the effort to get the compensation you deserve for dealing with such a difficult disease.