This month we will cover two sides of mesothelioma: the legal elements and the medical elements. Each side of this disease can be heavily daunting. One side of the coin gives you a diagnosis that in a large majority of the cases is fatal within 2 years. There are many obstacles to cover to prolong life and protect and preserve the quality of life that remains. The other side of the coin represents the law and the illegal exposure to asbestos that was the cause of your deadly illness. Most will want to legally pursue options to hold the parties of this exposure responsible and go after monetary compensation.
Your first inclination about asbestos-related illness will come from a medical diagnosis. Most people are devastated and do not know exactly where to begin. Finding a medical professional or specialist near you will be your first priority. Your next priority will be understanding the legal implications of the negligence of others afflicting you with a deadly disease and you will want to take legal recourse.
Both sides of this coin represent a battle – each with specific steps and understandings you must comprehend and master in order to win the war. This months’ blogs will help to empower you with information to cover both fronts.
The Navy and mesothelioma have a soiled history. Statistically, veterans account for 30% of all mesothelioma patients but only 8% of the entire population. These numbers were made true by the fact that there was widespread asbestos use between the 1930s and 1970s which exposed veterans to great amounts of materials containing asbestos.
Essentially, all branches of the military had some asbestos exposure. The Navy and mesothelioma by far have the most affected personnel. Veterans who have been affected are entitled to compensation and benefits. Because asbestos was used in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications, it was discovered by the military as a miracle product for resisting heat and fire. Since its founding, the Navy has considered fire at sea as one of the greatest risks to its servicemen. Reducing the possibility of as much fire damage as possible was top priority. This concern resulted in the use of asbestos in almost every aspect of the construction of the fleet as asbestos was an inexpensive and effective way to overcome this threat.
While mesothelioma is rare, the use of asbestos containing materials in the military was not. The military used asbestos in a variety of applications from World War II until the Vietnam War. From insulation in the walls in sleeping quarters of vessels and the mess halls to boiler rooms and hallways, asbestos was used heavily in vessels of the navy and mesothelioma is the result of this heavy use. Many veterans suffer from pleural, pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma and because of the latency period, upon diagnoses they usually only have up to 1 year left to live.
Although the military phased out the use of asbestos by the 1970s, numerous veterans had already suffered through dangerous levels of exposure.