Veterans with Asbestosis
One of the great tragedies of military service in past years has been the many veterans with asbestosis. In fact, up to 40% of those who have served in the military, especially those serving from World War II through the Vietnam War, have developed some form of asbestosis or mesothelioma as a result of exposure while serving in the military.
Veterans with asbestosis have limited resources for being compensated for their illness because it is against the law to sue the federal government or the military for injuries or illnesses sustained in the line of duty. Their only recourse is to sue the suppliers, manufacturers or distributors of the asbestos containing materials. Unfortunately, most of these companies are now out of business, leaving veterans who have contracted asbestosis or mesothelioma basically high and dry, with no way to pay their mounting medical bills or provide for their families.
Asbestos Compensation Act May be the Answer
One solution that has been proposed for veterans with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-linked illnesses is the Asbestos Compensation Act. This proposed legislation has been stalled in the nations capital for years as the merits and disadvantages are debated and lobbyists tear it apart and reconstruct it. This Act proposes setting up a special Victims Compensation Fund from which compensation would be paid to those suffering from any asbestos-related disease. Many veterans with asbestosis see this as the only way they will ever get any compensation. Those opposing the bill however, say that it puts unreasonable caps on compensation for many patients and lets the asbestos companies paying into it off the hook with minimal payments.
Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars support the Asbestos Compensation Fund as the best hope for veterans who suffer from asbestosis. On the other hand, some veterans groups oppose the bill because it will be too little, too late. There are also many restrictions on which veterans will meet the criteria for asbestosis compensation. Anyone serving fewer than five or ten cumulative years wont get compensation and will lose the right to take legal action. The prohibitive definitions of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other illnesses may also eliminate compensation for many veterans.
With so many different viewpoints to consider, getting legal help from an attorney who specializes in military asbestos exposure is your best bet. An attorney can guide you through your current options and help you understand just what is in the best interests of veterans with asbestosis.
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