A diagnosis of mesothelioma is an irrevocably life-changing event-one that alters not only your day-to-day experiences but the entire scope of your future as well. Receiving such news frequently produces an initial state of shock that some patients describe as an out-of-body experience or the feeling of being frozen. This very common reaction is identified as the initial stage of the grieving process. It is a normal and even healthy response to emotional trauma and can serve a psychologically protective role, giving your brain and body time to absorb and process a difficult reality.
A big part of processing this new reality is learning how to adapt and move forward. For victims of mesothelioma, the adjustment timeframe allotted is generally quite limited; but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of it. Many mesothelioma victims find that knowledge is one of the most empowering tools available to them. By learning what to expect and how to best manage your disease, you can begin to move forward in living with mesothelioma.
This six-part series is dedicated to educating victims of mesothelioma about their disease and its relationship to asbestos, as well as their legal rights and various options for fair compensation. Additional Information and counsel is available at no cost by contacting the national trial attorneys of Shrader Law and Associates, LLP.
Disability Compensation and Medical Care through the VA
After having served during an identified period of military asbestos usage and being diagnosed with mesothelioma, veterans automatically quality for benefits through the Department of Veteran Affairs (commonly called the VA). Both disability compensation and medical care services—including mesothelioma treatment are available. To enroll in any benefit program, a claim must be filed with the VA, which has local offices around the country.
There are two benefit programs that pay a set amount of compensation on a monthly basis. Disability Compensation is available to veterans who have been injured in the line of duty, including those exposed to asbestos. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is available to spouses and other surviving dependents of any veteran who died from an illness or injury obtained during his or her period of military service.
To get fully covered medical care and treatment for mesothelioma, veterans with verified disability status can go to any VA hospital in the U.S. These facilities are staffed by some of the world’s most respected cancer specialists and offer comprehensive treatment programs, as well as palliative care.
Cash Settlements and Awards through Legal Action
Another route to receiving compensation is through the civil court system, which handles thousands of personal injury cases related to asbestos exposure each year. Once conclusively diagnosed with mesothelioma, veterans can file a mesothelioma lawsuit through a private attorney of their choosing.
The majority of valid asbestos injury claims settle out of court with an agreement between the two parties. The average settlement is around a million dollar but can also be less or considerably more, depending largely on the facts surrounding the case. Claims that make it all the way to trial are ruled on by a judge or jury after evidence is presented by both sides. Winning plaintiffs typically walk away with an average of two million dollars or more in compensatory damages awarded to them.