Navy veterans represent a disproportionate number of mesothelioma diagnoses. This tragedy is attributable to the Navy’s rampant usage of asbestos up through the 1970’s, the leading cause of this form of cancer.
Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer that is both rare and extremely difficult to treat. Although the Navy has set up a process for obtaining healthcare and disability compensation through the Veterans Administration (VA), the possible compensation from this claims process is insufficient for many navy veteran mesothelioma sufferers and their families.
Mesothelioma victims are increasingly exploring the option of filing lawsuits against military subcontractors in order to supplement the compensation provided by the VA. Navy veterans and their families have filed successful lawsuits against companies such as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 3M, Burnham Commercial Boilers, Crane Co., John Crane Inc. and many other materials and manufacturing companies for failing to warn or take appropriate precautions while provisioning navy personnel with asbestos-containing parts and materials.
In many cases, the results of lawsuits that are settled out of court and don’t make it to trial are not made public. However, publicized data suggests that navy veteran mesothelioma victims and their families are frequently awarded compensation in the millions of dollars in lawsuits against government subcontractors.
Some recent mesothelioma settlements involving navy veterans include:
- $71 million to a former navy machinist and his wife
- $20 million to the family of a former navy shipfitter and pipefitter
- $17 million to the family of a former navy civilian employee shipyard machinist
- $11.5 million to the widow of a former navy machinist
- $1.42 million to the widow a navy veteran for wrongful death
Settlement Funds and Trust Funds
Oftentimes, companies that have a record of exposing employees and others to asbestos set up settlement funds and trust funds exclusively devoted to compensating victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
- Settlement Funds: Companies that are still in operation will often have a settlement fund set up to compensate alleged victims of asbestos exposure. The administrators of these funds will work directly with your attorney to negotiate an appropriate amount of compensation, therefore avoiding the time and expense of taking the lawsuit to court.
- Asbestos Trust Funds: When the full scope of the damage wrought by asbestos exposure began coming to light in the 1970’s, many companies that exposed employees to asbestos were forced to file bankruptcy as a result of the deluge of lawsuits filed against them. As part of the terms of bankruptcy, trust funds were established to compensate victims that might come forward in the future, long after the company itself had been dissolved. There is currently more than $30 billion in asbestos trust funds in the United States, each with company- and bankruptcy-specific processes for filing claims.
Similarly to claims filed with the VA, trust funds typically require medical evidence and occupational history linking your disease to the company’s activities. Most funds have established expedited processes for standard claims, providing set amounts of compensation depending on the situation of the claimant and the determined liability of the company. Extenuating circumstances or extraordinary claims may require a more involved and lengthier process.
Consult a Navy Mesothelioma Attorney
If you are a navy veteran and victim of mesothelioma, but are unsure whether or what type of compensation you qualify for, consult with an experienced attorney. A qualified mesothelioma attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action based on your individual situation, and assist you through the process of filing a successful claim or lawsuit.