Army Veterans & Mesothelioma
The United States Army used asbestos widely in building materials and equipment until the 1980s. That’s when it became well-known that asbestos releases dangerous, tiny fibers that can become lodged in the lungs and cause diseases like mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the heart, lungs or abdomen.
About 30% of U.S. mesothelioma cases stem from the military’s use of asbestos, meaning instances of mesothelioma in Army veterans are especially high. But compensation and other support may be available, including from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Mesothelioma Compensation for Army Veterans
A mesothelioma diagnosis is life-changing. You’ll want the best treatment and support possible, but that can leave you or your loved ones with a financial burden. After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, Army veterans have several options available to recover compensation to pay for these medical expenses.
Army veterans with mesothelioma, as well as their spouses, can qualify for benefits from the VA, including:
- Disability benefits
- Medical care
- Reimbursement for travel and lodging related to medical care
- Prescription medication discounts
The process to claim VA benefits for mesothelioma is the same as for other service-related disabilities. It can be complicated—you’ll need proof of diagnosis and exposure during service, which can be difficult to provide. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process and help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Mesothelioma in Army veterans was ultimately caused by companies knowingly creating dangerous asbestos products. Many of these companies declared bankruptcy due to lawsuits and created trust funds as part of their settlement agreements. These asbestos trust funds contain billions of dollars available to veterans and others harmed by exposure to asbestos. An experienced lawyer can help you apply for financial asssistance and guide you through the compensation process.
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can be a drawn-out process, but it can also help you cover the costs associated with a diagnosis. It’s important to know that you’re not suing the government but rather the private companies that created the products containing asbestos. Mesothelioma claims often end in a settlement, which can result in compensation upward of $1 million. In one case here at Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney and Meisenkothen (ELSM), we won $11.5 million on behalf of a North Carolina Army veteran.
Asbestos Exposure in the Army
As is the case with any other occupation or military branch, long-term asbestos exposure is the primary cause of cases of mesothelioma in Army veterans. Working in certain occupations, with certain products or at certain locations may increase the risk of asbestos exposure.
Army Jobs Connected to Mesothelioma
No amount of asbestos is considered safe to inhale, but certain at-risk occupations expose workers to large amounts over a long period of time. These workers have a greater chance of developing mesothelioma. For those who served in the Army, mesothelioma is more common in the following occupations:
- Building maintenance
- Vehicle maintenance
Asbestos Products Used in the Army
All branches of the U.S. military used asbestos extensively to make various products more durable, heat-resistant and fireproof. In the Army, asbestos was used in building materials and automotive parts, including:
- Brake pads
- Ceiling tiles
- Electrical components
- Fireproof materials
- Floor tiles
- Hood liners
- Sheet flooring
Army Bases With Asbestos
Asbestos building materials were used in Army weapons storage areas, barracks, mess halls and other locations until the mid-1980s. When disturbed, these materials may release the fibers that can eventually result in mesothelioma in Army veterans. The legal team at ELSM has represented Army veterans in numerous cases. Some of the bases involved include:
- Fort Neil Army Base – Sioux City, IA
- Fort Sill Army Base – Lawton, OK
- U.S. Army Ammunition Plant – Fort Madison, IA
- United States Army Air Base – Great Falls, MT
Civilian workers and family members could also have been exposed to asbestos in Army buildings. Even as recently as 2020, a report from the Department of Defense found that three-quarters of the military installations studied did not notify personnel and their families about asbestos risk in housing. And, before the risks were well-known, service members and civilian workers could have brought home asbestos on their clothing and shoes and exposed family members.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options for Army Veterans
Mesothelioma treatment is improving every day. In addition to traditional treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, specialists are developing new techniques in immunotherapy, gene therapy and light therapy. Top surgeons can perform more advanced surgeries than ever before.
For those who served in the Army, mesothelioma treatment may be free or low-cost through the VA. There are cutting-edge treatment centers around the U.S., many with specialists who are experts in mesothelioma.
- VA Boston provides free screening for veterans who have been exposed to asbestos as well as state-of-the-art medical and mental health treatment. It’s one of the highest-rated VA programs and has a partnership with Harvard University Medical School.
- VA Los Angeles is directed by Dr. Robert Cameron, a pioneer in mesothelioma treatment, and has partnerships with the UCLA Comprehensive Cancer Center and Pacific Mesothelioma Center.
Reducing Risk of Mesothelioma in Army Veterans
The Army stopped using asbestos products by the 1980s, but these materials remain in many buildings and older equipment. To help prevent asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, the Army has implemented various regulations and guidelines. While asbestos exposure is less of a concern, wear and tear on buildings and equipment can still release asbestos. Deployed soldiers can also be exposed to asbestos from damaged buildings.
If you’re concerned about asbestos exposure during the time you or a loved one spent in the Army, you should talk with your doctor about your exposure history and personal risk for mesothelioma. If you’ve already been diagnosed with mesothelioma, connect with a specialist who can guide your treatment.
You may also be entitled to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering, including for the loss of a loved one. At Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney and Meisenkothen, we’ve been advocating for Army mesothelioma victims and other veterans for decades. Our compassionate team is ready to help you, too. Contact us today to get started.
How were Army veterans exposed to asbestos while serving?
Army veterans could have been exposed to asbestos used in various products, including building materials, automotive parts and pipe or wire insulation. Those who worked in certain occupations, such as automotive maintenance, pipefitting, plumbing or construction, have a higher risk of asbestos exposure.
What are the risks of asbestos exposure for Army veterans?
Asbestos was used extensively in Army equipment, housing, weapons storage rooms, mess halls, vehicles and more, so veterans’ chance of exposure is high, especially for those who served before the 1980s. If exposed, especially over the long term, Army veterans can develop asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
What support is available for Army veterans with mesothelioma?
Army veterans with mesothelioma have several options for compensation and support. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees several cutting-edge mesothelioma treatment centers, where care is available to veterans for free or at a discount. Veterans and their families can also apply for other VA benefits, including disability compensation.
Request a Free Case Evaluation
Request a free case evaluation now if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The evaluation will cost you nothing. Our lawyers will travel to visit you at your convenience or conference call with you over the phone. We understand how difficult a time this is for you and will assist in any way that we can. You can also call us toll-free at 1-800-336-0086 at any time.