Compensation Options for Veterans with Mesothelioma
Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for different types of compensation through legal claims and VA benefits claims. A mesothelioma attorney has the training and expertise to guide you through the process of applying for mesothelioma compensation.
Veterans with mesothelioma may qualify to file a lawsuit or a claim with an asbestos trust fund. Compensation can come in the form of a mesothelioma settlement, verdict payout or trust fund payout. Veterans may also apply for VA benefits, including disability compensation, VA health care, caregiver benefits, geriatric care and other benefits.
|Mesothelioma Lawsuits||Asbestos Trust Funds||VA Claims|
|Settlement offers resolve most mesothelioma lawsuits. Those that go to trial may result in verdict awards higher than settlements and trust fund payouts.||Settlement offers resolve most mesothelioma lawsuits. Those that go to trial may result in verdict awards higher than settlements and trust fund payouts.||Compensation available through VA claims includes disability compensation, DIC, special monthly compensation and VA pension. VA health care is also covered.|
What Is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a legal claim that may be filed by a veteran with mesothelioma or a surviving family member.
When veterans file a mesothelioma lawsuit it takes the form of a personal injury claim. Family members who lost a loved one to mesothelioma may file wrongful death claims.
How Do Asbestos Trust Funds Work?
Veterans with mesothelioma may qualify to file asbestos trust fund claims. These funds were established by former asbestos product manufacturing companies, and together contain an estimated $30 billion to compensate victims of asbestos exposure.
A qualified mesothelioma attorney can help you understand which asbestos trust funds you may qualify for based upon your asbestos exposure history. These attorneys have the expertise to file your claim properly and guide you through the trust fund claims process.
VA Benefits vs. Trust Funds and Lawsuits
VA benefits provide different types of compensation than asbestos trust funds and mesothelioma lawsuits. Only veterans may apply for VA benefits, whereas anyone with mesothelioma can file lawsuits and trust fund claims.
Benefits available to veterans with mesothelioma include monthly disability compensation, VA health care, caregiver benefits, dependency and indemnity compensation and more. The VA benefits veterans receive do not impact their ability to qualify for and file legal claims against asbestos product manufacturers.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Veterans do not sue the military or the U.S. government. Instead, they sue the companies responsible for making the asbestos products that caused their cancer.
- Personal Injury Lawsuits: Veterans with mesothelioma may file personal injury lawsuits against manufacturers of the asbestos products that caused them to develop mesothelioma.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Surviving family members who lost a loved one to mesothelioma may file wrongful death lawsuits.
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit may provide compensation to cover medical expenses. These lawsuits also hold asbestos manufacturers responsible for the harm they’ve caused to countless veterans and their families.
The most important step in filing a lawsuit is finding an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to handle your claim.
- Find an Attorney
Make sure you find an attorney with extensive experience in asbestos litigation. The nation’s top mesothelioma law firms offer free case reviews and consultations so you can get to know the firm’s history of success.
- Gather Evidence and Prepare the Claim
Your attorney will handle every aspect of your case, including gathering evidence and preparing your lawsuit for filing. You will need to provide information and answer questions to help your attorney collect evidence for your claim. This will include information about your work history, asbestos exposure and medical history.
Your attorney will thoroughly review your case and determine whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit. You will be advised on the best legal approach to your case, which may include filing claims with asbestos trust funds. Your attorney will carefully prepare your lawsuit for proper filing in the right jurisdiction.
- File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
After the claim is prepared, your attorney will file it on your behalf and guide you through future legal proceedings, including settlement negotiations.
- Defendant Responses and Discovery Period
Defendants listed in your lawsuit usually have 30 days to respond to the claim. A discovery period follows. This involves lawyers on both sides presenting evidence, conducting interviews and depositions, and requesting documents to support their side of the case. You may need to provide a deposition, which is often recorded from the comfort of your home with the help and guidance of your attorney.
- Settlement Negotiations or Trial Verdict
Once the discovery period ends, settlement negotiations may begin, and trial dates may be set. It is extremely rare for a mesothelioma lawsuit to reach a jury trial. Most reach a resolution through a mesothelioma settlement offer.
For cases that go to trial, the court does not expect mesothelioma plaintiffs to attend. Courts understand that people with mesothelioma are undergoing cancer treatment and may not feel well enough to travel and attend trial.
- Resolution of Lawsuit
Most mesothelioma lawsuits achieve a resolution through a settlement. Cases that reach a trial verdict may be appealed, which could delay resolution. If the defendants lose the appeal, you will soon begin receiving compensation.
Filing Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
Asbestos trust fund claims should be handled by an experienced mesothelioma attorney. These claims may not be as complicated as mesothelioma lawsuits because they don’t involve defendants or settlement negotiations. However, they require the same kind of evidence that mesothelioma attorneys are expert at collecting and presenting to get your claim approved.
- Meet Trust Fund Eligibility Requirements
Your attorney can determine which trust funds you may be eligible for based upon your work and asbestos exposure history. Eligibility criteria typically include proof of employment and job sites where you worked, asbestos products you were exposed to and where the exposure occurred, and statutes of limitations for your claim. Statutes of limitations place time limits on when you can file a claim.
- Provide Evidence to Support the Claim
You will work with your attorney to provide evidence to support your claim. Examples of evidence include proof of your mesothelioma diagnosis, medical records, statements from physicians, work records, pay stubs, witness affidavits and anything else that proves where you worked and which asbestos products you were exposed to.
- File a Claim
You may qualify to file claims with multiple trust funds, and each fund may have different rules and steps for filing. Your attorney will research and follow the right steps to properly file your claims.
- Claim Review and Payout
Asbestos trust funds generally have two ways they review claims: Expedited reviews and individual reviews. Expedited reviews group claims based on the claimant’s diagnosis to allow quicker review of claims. The payout is fixed with an expedited review, and claimants receive payouts faster. Individual reviews take longer and may result in higher or lower payouts.
Each fund has a set payout for the type of asbestos-related disease, with mesothelioma receiving the highest payout. You will receive a percentage of this payout based on the fund’s current payment percentage. Trust fund administrators regularly change the payment percentage to ensure the fund contains enough money to compensate future claimants.
Filing a VA Benefits Claim
The steps for filing a VA claim vary depending upon the kind of benefit you’re applying for. Veterans may learn more about VA benefits, eligibility and how to apply through a VA-accredited claims agent.
Claims agents are trained to help veterans navigate the VA claims process. They help veterans fill out the right forms for the different benefits they qualify for, and ensure the forms are filled out correctly and submitted properly for quick approval.
A claims agent can also advise if you need to submit supplemental documents such as medical records to support your claim. If your claim is denied, a claims agent can help you appeal the decision.
Can You Still Receive VA Benefits if You File a Lawsuit?
Yes, you can still receive VA benefits if you file a lawsuit or trust fund claim. The compensation and benefits offered through the VA are unrelated to your right to pursue legal compensation for mesothelioma.
Additionally, the compensation you receive through the VA will not impact the amount of compensation you may receive through a lawsuit or trust fund claim.
Why Should Veterans with Mesothelioma Seek Compensation?
Mesothelioma compensation can lessen the financial hardship families face with a mesothelioma diagnosis. It provides money to cover expenses related to the diagnosis, including medical costs, travel expenses and funeral expenses.
Cancer treatment is expensive. Even veterans with VA health care may encounter big medical bills if they seek care outside of the VA system. Compensation helps veterans afford cancer care not covered by the VA.
In addition to legal options and VA benefits, veterans may qualify for travel grants, treatment grants, Social Security disability compensation and long-term disability insurance.
Are All Veterans Eligible for Compensation?
Eligibility for VA benefits varies by the type of benefit. For example, a VA pension is only available to wartime veterans reporting a certain income level. Aid and attendance benefits are only available to veterans who are housebound, bedridden or disabled to a degree that they need assistance from someone else.
Veterans with mesothelioma who are eligible for VA benefits qualify for 100% disability compensation because mesothelioma is incurable and considered completely disabling by the VA.
Every branch of the military is eligible for VA benefits, except for the Merchant Marine. Even though they served a similar role to Navy veterans, the only merchant mariners who qualify for VA benefits are those who served in World War II.
Veterans should speak with an accredited claims agent to better understand the individual eligibility criteria for different types of VA benefits.
How Can a Mesothelioma Lawyer Help Veterans?
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer is the best professional veterans with mesothelioma can turn to for legal advice. These lawyers are experts at asbestos litigation and securing mesothelioma compensation for their clients.
Mesothelioma lawyers will guide you through each step of the legal process. They will review your case and recommend the best legal options, which may include trust fund claims or a lawsuit. Attorneys will also handle every aspect of the legal process from start to finish.
When looking for a good attorney, be sure to take time to research the firm and learn about its history of success. The top mesothelioma law firms offer free consultations so you can get to know the firm, learn how they communicate and ask important questions about the legal process.