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Veterans and Mesothelioma

Veterans exposed to asbestos during active-duty military service and who developed mesothelioma may be entitled to financial compensation. Since 1995, Bergman Oslund Udo Little has specialized in asbestos exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits. The firm has deep experience counseling veterans about their rights and pursuing the various benefits available to them.

Asbestos exposure has long been an issue in the U.S. military, but it was particularly prevalent for those who served before the 1980s. Military bases and naval yards were high on the list of job sites with asbestos exposure risks. Active-duty members’ transportation and lodging also teemed with the harmful substance.  

Asbestos exposure can cause breathing issues or cancer. The effects of exposure take decades to set in. That means veterans far removed from service are discovering they have developed asbestos-related health issues, the most common of which is mesothelioma.  

If you’re a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation or medical care. Filing a claim to receive what you’re owed may seem daunting, but a compassionate attorney at Bergman Oslund Udo Little can walk you through each step.  

This firm stands with veterans who developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposures while bravely defending their country, as well as their family members who were impacted by “take-home” asbestos exposure. Bergman Oslund Udo Little is passionate about fighting for the rights of veterans with mesothelioma in Washington and Oregon. The firm’s attorneys will help ensure veterans with mesothelioma get the compensation and benefits they deserve.

Asbestos Exposure in the Military

Since the 1970s, the military’s asbestos use has largely declined. However, some parts of ships, vehicles, and living quarters still contain the mineral, and it isn’t unusual for military personnel to serve in countries where asbestos is still prominent. Veterans’ exposure was inevitable, even if it wasn’t enough to cause mesothelioma. 

Naval veterans typically had more exposure to asbestos than members of other branches, especially aviation fire control technicians, machinist mates, boilermakers, or boiler technicians. However, other military personnel aren’t exempt from asbestos exposure. 

Coast Guard vessels, the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks, jeeps, trucks, tanks, aircraft, and government or administration buildings built before 1980 are among the most common places for military asbestos exposure. 

Military barracks built before 2000 might also contain asbestos in the flooring, drywall, and electrical wiring.

Mesothelioma and Veterans

Asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma. It’s the deadly disease’s only known cause. So, if you encountered asbestos during military service and have received a mesothelioma diagnosis since, there’s more than likely a connection. Since mesothelioma is latent, it might take up to 60 years before your body shows symptoms.


Per the American Lung Association, mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on the affected area. For example, pleural mesothelioma—that is, mesothelioma affecting the lungs—causes shortness of breath, chest or lower back pain, persistent dry coughs, and problems swallowing. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdomen, causes symptoms such as abdominal swelling and pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and small intestine blockages.  

However, the most common signs of mesothelioma—regardless of the affected area—are fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, and, as a result of the latter, weight loss.


The American Lung Association explains that a mesothelioma diagnosis begins with an account of your medical and job histories. Then, your health care provider will conduct a physical exam to check for lumps before moving on to the next step, usually a chest X-ray or CT scan.  

Following the X-ray or scan, the doctor will drain any fluid with ultrasound-guided needle aspiration. Next, you’ll have a biopsy. The tissue gathered here will determine if you have mesothelioma and, if you do, what kind. Finally, your health care provider will order a PET scan to see how far the disease has spread in your body and where it is.


There are several treatment and management options for mesothelioma patients, including: 

  • Surgery 
  • Radiation 
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Experimental treatments 
  • Alternative medicines 

Which treatment course is best depends on the patient, their type and stage of mesothelioma, and their preferences. Bergman Oslund Udo Little offers an online Mesothelioma Guide.

VA Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provides benefits, including compensation and health care, to military veterans who contracted mesothelioma from asbestos exposure during service.  

You must have served on active duty to qualify for VA benefits. Active duty service veterans served in the following branches: 

  • Army 
  • Navy 
  • Air Force 
  • Marine Corps 
  • Coast Guard 
  • Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
  • Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Services 
  • National Guard and Reserve 

If you served before 1980, there is no minimum active duty period. However, anyone who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 consecutive months or completed their active duty period. If you received a dishonorable discharge, you forfeit eligibility.  

When you file a claim, you’ll also need to provide a few pieces of evidence: 

  • Medical records that state your health condition 
  • Service records explaining your job and specialty  
  • A statement from a doctor confirming a connection between your health condition and exposure to asbestos during your active duty period 

You will likely qualify for benefits if you meet these eligibility requirements and have the proper documentation to accompany your claim. However, it’s advisable to have legal counsel walk through the process with you. We have veterans on our staff who can let you in on the intricacies of the sometimes complex VA claims process, help you make deadlines, and meet all requirements to get you the benefits you deserve.  

In addition to VA benefits, veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma may pursue claims against parties outside the military responsible for their asbestos exposure, such as manufacturers of products containing asbestos. Our firm can also help you determine who is responsible for your exposure and file a lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claim. We handle a lot of veterans’ asbestos litigation in our area, and our attorneys are prominent advocates for the veterans they represent.

Legal Help for Veterans With Mesothelioma and Their Families

The Bergman Oslund Udo Little team is highly familiar with the ins and outs of asbestos and mesothelioma cases. They have helped many veterans and their families in the Washington and Oregon areas obtain justice.  

One man, diagnosed with the illness at 79, hired a Bergman Oslund Udo Little asbestos lawyer in Washington. His asbestos exposure occurred while serving as an electrician in the U.S. Navy and at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. With our firm’s help, he received $8.3 million.  

He’s just one example of our legal team’s expertise in handling veterans’ mesothelioma claims well. We helped a 79-year-old veteran and his wife get $10 million from World War II-era take-home exposures, and a U.S. Navy veteran exposed to asbestos as a boiler operator in the 1970s at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard receive $2.8 million.  

Bergman Oslund Udo Little is passionate about and skilled in getting veteran mesothelioma victims deserved justice and welcomes the opportunity to serve the Northwest. These experts carefully listen to the details of your case and advise you based on your and your family’s best options. If you are a veteran seeking an asbestos lawyer in Oregon or Washington, contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free consultation.

Contact The Firm

Representing asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the Northwest.

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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