Stern Law, PLLC
If you are a military veteran who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can receive compensation for the costs of your disability and medical care without having to file a lawsuit. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”) recognizes both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma as compensable disabilities even though these diseases present years after you completed your service. To learn more about your legal rights and options as a veteran, contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529.
Can Any Veteran Apply?
Any veteran service who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma attributable to exposure while serving on active duty can apply for VA benefits, provided he or she has been honorably discharged. Active service means full-time service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, Environmental Science Services Administration or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or its predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
While you can file a civil lawsuit against one or more of the companies that negligently manufactured or sold the asbestos products that caused you to develop mesothelioma, you do not have to. Keep in mind that veterans do not have the legal right to sue the government for asbestos-related claims.
With regard to civil lawsuits, they can be time-consuming, expensive and emotionally challenging. Success is by no means guaranteed. There are procedural and evidentiary risks as well. Also, they have become problematic in recent years. Many of the companies that made and sold asbestos-containing products are bankrupt and cannot be sued under federal bankruptcy law. The companies responsible for your exposure may be among the bankrupt.
Selecting the right lawyer who has significant experience with asbestos lawsuits to advise you about your chances of success and alternative means of recovering compensation is critical. The attorneys at Stern Law, PLLC have advised hundreds of mesothelioma victims about their rights and options. Contact Stern Law, PLLC now to learn more.
Mesothelioma Disability Compensation Is One Alternative
If you are a veteran, you may have the option of filing a disability compensation claim with the VA provided you satisfy certain specific criteria. You must have been exposed to asbestos products while serving on active duty or while on inactive duty receiving training. Also, if you also worked around asbestos as a civilian, more than 50% of your lifetime exposure must have occurred during the years you served.
How to Apply
The application process begins with a VA Form 21-526, Application for Disability Compensation and/or Pension, which the veteran files with the regional federal VA office in his or her respective state of residence.
The more details you can provide with your application, the more likely it will be approved. You will need to provide with your application medical evidence that you have mesothelioma. Typically, this consists of a biopsy report from a licensed pathologist. You will need a medical opinion that your disease is attributable to exposure to the product for which the trust is responsible. You will also need to convince the VA that more than half of your lifetime exposure to asbestos occurred while on active duty or while on inactive duty training. You must provide specific details, with examples, of every occasion you may have been exposed to asbestos. Since the extent of your non-military exposure is also relevant, you must provide information about what you did before and after your military service. The VA will review all the information you submit and then schedule a meeting with you to determine whether you qualify.
What Benefits Will I Receive with A Disability Compensation Award?
Veterans with mesothelioma are allowed a specific course of medical treatment that typically includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, depending on the extent to which the disease has progressed as of the time the application is approved. This is course of treatment is similar to the medical care you would normally receive at facilities other than the VA.
Veterans having mesothelioma also receive monthly compensation, currently fixed at $2,906 per month if single, and $3,068 per month, if married. Additional financial benefits are available if the veteran has dependent children, or has need for the aid and attendance of another person.
All financial benefits received from the VA are tax-exempt. In certain states, a veteran is also entitled to a property tax exemption, a tax credit for vehicle ownership, and an exemption for vehicle registration. Speaking with an attorney at Stern Law, PLLC can help you to determine what additional benefits you may be entitled to receive.
The attorneys at Stern Law, PLLC have assisted thousands of claimants successfully negotiate the VA claims process. We will contact each of your treating physicians and hospitals and obtain all necessary medical records and opinions that must be submitted with your application. We will help you present your exposure history, using every resource available, including our extensive database of testimony of thousands of fellow service members and others who may have worked with you at the same sites regardless whether any knew you. We will obtain the critical medical opinions as to causality. Finally, vigorously advocate your claim with each Trustee. If you have any questions, please contact us at any time at (844) 808-7529.