How to Prove Military Asbestos Exposure 

How to Prove Military Asbestos Exposure 

Military veterans often face unique health challenges related to their service, and one of the most concerning issues is asbestos exposure. Asbestos, once commonly used in military equipment and throughout military bases, can lead to serious health problems, including mesothelioma and other diseases. If you or a loved one is a victim of military asbestos exposure, you may be wondering how to prove this exposure. A veteran exposed to asbestos during their time in the military may be able to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to receive compensation. To prove your case, you need to provide the correct documentation. Such documentation should include a medical summary from a doctor connecting your military service to the diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness and a detailed asbestos exposure summary.

What Is a VA Claim?

VA claims are requests for compensation or assistance that you submit to the Department of Veteran Affairs. Veterans file claims to seek compensation for injuries or illnesses that resulted from military service, including disability compensation, healthcare, and more.

Am I Eligible for VA Benefits?

To be eligible for VA benefits related to asbestos exposure, veterans must meet specific criteria. The criteria for asbestos claims include the following.

  • Military service. You must have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military, including active duty, reserves, or the National Guard, or as a commissioned officer for the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.  
  • Medical diagnosis. You must provide medical records from a doctor or hospital that state you have an asbestos-related disease. 
  • Exposure history. You must provide evidence showing that at least 50% of your lifetime asbestos exposure occurred while you were in the military.
The VA recognizes a wide range of diseases caused by asbestos exposure in the military. These diseases include:
  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Bronchus cancer
  • Pharynx cancer
  • Gastrointestinal tract cancer
  • Pleural effusion 
  • Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pleural plaques
  • Larynx cancer
  • Urogenital cancers (except prostate)
  • Lung cancer
If you meet the eligibility requirements above and have been diagnosed with a recognized asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for asbestos compensation from the VA.

How Do I File a Veteran’s Asbestos Exposure Claim?

You can file for veterans benefits from the Department of U.S. Veterans Affairs by filing a claim online or mailing in VA Form 21-526EZ. You must submit supporting documentation along with your claim. The documentation can include the following:

  • Application for disability compensation (DIC);
  • Marriage and divorce documents, if applicable;
  • Medical records stating your asbestos-related illnesses; 
  • Military discharge paperwork (DD-214);
  • A medical nexus letter from a doctor connecting your military service with the diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness; and 
  • An asbestos exposure summary.
An experienced asbestos lawyer can determine the correct documentation to include when filing your claim. Once you have filed, the VA reviews your claim and may request additional information or examinations if needed.

How Do I Prove Military Asbestos Exposure?

Proving exposure can be challenging and complex because asbestos-related diseases usually do not develop until after retirement. The following evidence can help substantiate your claim:
  • Service records. Military records that mention assignments to jobs or locations where asbestos was present.
  • Medical record. Records documenting asbestos-related health issues, such as X-rays or biopsy results.
  • Buddy statements. Statements from fellow service members who can attest to your exposure or the presence of asbestos in your work environment.
  • Occupational history. A detailed account of your military job duties, including any known asbestos exposure.
The required asbestos exposure summary is particularly important as it provides information about where, when, and how your exposure happened. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you include the correct information in your summary.

What Benefits Can I Receive?

If the VA approves your asbestos exposure claim, you or your family may be eligible for VA benefits. These benefits include monthly disability compensation, healthcare, and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving family members of veterans who passed away due to asbestos-related diseases.

Can I File an Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit?

Suppose you choose not to pursue a VA claim, or you get denied VA benefits. In this case, veterans or their family members may have the option of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against asbestos companies to receive compensation. An experienced attorney can walk you and your family through your best options. 

Contact an Attorney

Proving military asbestos exposure for VA benefits is essential for veterans facing health issues from such service-related exposure. At Flint Cooper, we are here to assist you and your family through this tough time. Our experienced attorneys have won millions of dollars for our clients in asbestos litigation, and we are here to ensure that you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today for your initial consultation.

About the author:

Ethan Flint

Ethan is a founder and managing partner of Flint Cooper, a law firm specializing in complex litigation. Ethan has extensive experience in personal injury cases, representing clients injured by asbestos, defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and leads the firm’s government takings practice.

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