Asbestos is still a pertinent issue in many workplaces involving out-of-date buildings and other structures. The threat of exposure is especially present in the military, where branches such as the Navy still see high rates of asbestos use and subsequent contact.
No matter which branch of the military you served, any number of your deployments may have exposed you to asbestos and its risks. Unfortunately, mesothelioma (and a similar disease known as asbestosis) can take decades to develop, finally showing signs once the cancer has grown to a more difficult stage to treat.
So if you have served and were exposed to asbestos during your enlistment, what are your options? Fortunately, the U.S. military and other outlets can provide options for both health monitoring and treatment.
The AMSP and Early Treatment
The U.S. Navy is the military branch with the highest rate of asbestos use. Even into the 1970s, the Navy used and built ships using asbestos as a construction material. As a result, it’s vital for Navy members—current and veteran—to have regular checkups for any sign of asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Fortunately, shortly after the Navy stopped constructing ships with asbestos, the branch also created the Asbestos Medical Surveillance Program (AMSP).
The AMSP keeps watch over all the Navy’s employees—service members and civilians alike—who are on record being exposed to asbestos. It maintains records and proper medical treatment for those exposed members as well.
As discussed before, mesothelioma often takes more than 10–20 years to manifest symptoms, and once it does present itself, treatment is usually much more difficult. Therefore, early treatment is necessary to ensure you have the best chance of overcoming the cancer.
It isn’t just veterans or service members who may have been exposed. Spouses and children of veterans and service members may also have a higher risk of mesothelioma. Like secondhand smoke, those who had been exposed to asbestos could carry it home on their clothes, potentially exposing loved ones.
If you served in the Navy and know you came into contact with asbestos, make sure you’re registered with the AMSP with a full record of when, how, and for how long you were exposed.
VA Benefit Eligibility
Even if you weren’t a member of the Navy, you still may be eligible for mesothelioma benefits through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The process for solidifying your eligibility for VA benefits follows roughly the same path as disability benefits for civilians. You must first prove you were exposed to asbestos while under active duty and show a record of any medical treatments you’ve undergone or will have to undergo as a result of your subsequent mesothelioma.
These VA benefits function as a combination of disability benefits and workers’ compensation. Depending on your needs and eligibility, the VA can cover your expenses from treatment and any life expenses you may incur, such as groceries.
Help from an Indianapolis Mesothelioma Lawyer
Military service comes with its own brand of troubles and recovery post-duty. Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases shouldn’t have to be one of them. If you or someone you know was exposed to asbestos during active duty, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our mesothelioma lawyers are here to help.