Retired LCDR Carl Jewett
VA-Accredited Claims Agent
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Mesothelioma Legal Claims Versus Mesothelioma VA Claims
A major point of confusion in veterans mesothelioma cases is which claims they can file. There are two main types: VA claims and legal claims.
VA Claims for Mesothelioma
Almost all veterans with mesothelioma are eligible for some type of VA compensation. These claims are made through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
VA benefits provide a set monthly compensation amount for veterans mesothelioma. These benefits are specifically for veterans with a service-connected disease or wartime veterans with limited income.
Veterans are eligible regardless of age or retirement status, and can receive VA compensation in conjunction with Social Security Disability payments. Veterans can file these with the help of a VA claims agent.
Legal Claims for Mesothelioma
A legal claim requires a mesothelioma lawyer. We recommend finding one at a national firm with significant experience helping veterans. These claims are filed against the asbestos manufacturers — not the military or the VA. The process often takes longer than VA claims, but the payments usually are a greater amount than VA benefits.
Should Veterans File a VA Claim for Military Exposure and Hire a Lawyer for Civilian Exposure?
Many veterans with mesothelioma assume VA claims are for exposure during service and legal claims are only for civilian exposure. This can be a costly mistake.
Veterans with more exposure in the military are eligible for VA Disability Compensation. However, they’re also entitled to compensation from the asbestos manufacturers. This is true regardless of where they were exposed and who their employer was at that time.
Therefore, veterans should seek out a mesothelioma law firm with experience in filing cases involving both military and civilian exposures.
Why Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer With Veterans Experience
Veterans with mesothelioma should exhaust every avenue to maximize their compensation. When filing a mesothelioma VA claim, we encourage veterans to seek help from an experienced VA claims agent.
Filing with the help of a mesothelioma claims expert ensures the veteran is providing the VA with the necessary information required for approval. They’ll also make the process quick and easy.
For the same reasons, we recommend veterans seek the help of a mesothelioma law firm with significant experience representing veterans. These attorneys already have the resources and asbestos information from years of research. They’ve compiled this information due to helping hundreds of veterans exposed to asbestos, both in the military and as civilians.
Veteran-friendly firms will know about asbestos installed in:
- Military bases
These firms are able to correlate your military service with asbestos exposure quickly and easily. This results in less research of your exposure history and faster filing times.
When medical bills and other costs begin to pile up, this can help you pay off medical debt, cover lost wages, pay for funeral arrangements and prove financial resources for your surviving family members.
Working with an asbestos attorney can answer many lingering questions, such as:
- How and where was I exposed to asbestos?
- Do I have a viable mesothelioma case?
- Which companies are responsible for my cancer diagnosis?
- What happens if I pass away while my case is still ongoing?
- How involved must I be in my case?
- How much is my mesothelioma case worth?
- How much time will I contribute during the process?
Benefits of Mesothelioma Lawyers for Veterans
Hiring a veteran-friendly mesothelioma lawyer has numerous benefits, and there’s no downside. These lawyers work on a “contingency basis,” meaning they don’t charge any upfront fees. They only receive a percentage of the payments you receive.
If you aren’t eligible for compensation, you pay nothing. Therefore, there is no downside to having a firm investigate whether you have a case or not.
Other benefits of hiring a veteran-friendly mesothelioma lawyer include:
- Ensuring you receive all the compensation you are entitled to, from exposure during service and as a civilian. Experienced veteran lawyers will investigate all of your exposures to asbestos, not just your civilian exposures.
- Someone who understands your rating or MOS.
- Access to information regarding the asbestos products you were exposed to in the military. If you are filing a VA Disability Compensation claim, these lawyers can help you convince the VA that your mesothelioma is service-related.
What to Look for in a Mesothelioma Lawyer for Veterans
Experience in handling veteran’s cases is the most important consideration when looking for a mesothelioma lawyer. Without decades of military case experience, attorneys won’t be able to determine what you were exposed to in the military. They will likely have to research your case from ground zero.
Not all experienced mesothelioma lawyers have the necessary experience you need as a veteran. These claims are different from non-military cases, and they require a law firm with:
- An understanding of your MOS or Rating
- A database of asbestos used by the military
- The ability to investigate exactly what asbestos veterans were exposed to during service
- A track record of filing and winning cases involving military exposure
How Experience Helps Lawyers for Mesothelioma Veterans
A lawyer’s experience in handling exposures like yours is important. They will more easily uncover your military exposures to asbestos, because they’ve already uncovered the exposure history for hundreds of other veterans with your background.
Asbestos was heavily relied on by the United States military for decades. It was most often used as an insulator and for fire protection in ships, aircraft, vehicles, barracks and even military housing.
It was in boiler rooms and engine rooms, on pipes and bulkheads, in valves and switchboards, around electrical wires and conduits, and used to make floor tiles and ceiling tiles. Navy ships, in particular, were a common residence for asbestos lagging, pads and coatings.
Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can pinpoint the manufacturers responsible for these materials. They’ll trace your exposure to a specific material and back to the company that profited from selling it to the military.
Experience handling veterans mesothelioma cases is also essential for:
- Differentiating between civilian and military exposures
- Determining which companies are at fault
- Knowing where to file claims
- Understanding how asbestos trust funds work
- Handling the casework and insulate the veteran from stress
Other qualities to prioritize when seeking a mesothelioma lawyer include:
- Working for a national law firm and licensed to practice in multiple states
- Previous experience in representing veterans with similar military backgrounds
- Award recognition from unbiased legal affiliations, such as Super Lawyers and law firm rankings in U.S. News & World Report
How to Find a Lawyer for Veterans Mesothelioma Cases
You’ve already taken a few of the first steps in finding a lawyer for your mesothelioma case. You now know why to work with a “veteran-friendly” attorney and what to look for in one.
Contact our Veterans Department for help with the rest of the process. We’ll put you in touch with a lawyer with experience handling veterans mesothelioma cases like yours. We only work with the top mesothelioma lawyers in the country, and only those with vast experience helping veterans with their claims.
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