Asbestos in Naval Vessels: a Closer Look
For many years, shipbuilders laced Navy ships with asbestos, and sailors wore practically no protective equipment. In the 1940s, Steve McQueen’s commanding officer supposedly forced the future actor to scrape asbestos off pipes. The Navy doubled down on asbestos use after a 1967 fire aboard the USS Forrestal killed over 100 people. Extensive use of this fireproofing material continued until 1980.
Sailors understood and accepted most of the risks associated with their jobs. But they did not understand or accept the risk of asbestos exposure. For many years, the Navy, like many other employers, downplayed or dismissed the risk of asbestos exposure. The Navy equipped these people to fight battles during their service periods. An asbestos exposure lawyer gives them the equipment they need, mostly financial resources, to face the rest of their lives.Asbestos Exposure Illnesses
Mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural thickening are the most common asbestos-exposure illnesses. Asbestos is so highly toxic that a single, microscopic fiber could cause one of these diseases.
All cancer is painful, and mesothelioma is especially painful, both physically and mentally. Most pleural mesothelioma victims are in their 70s. They were looking forward to a quiet retired life with their loved ones when they received devastating medical news.
A cancer diagnosis is bad enough. A mesothelioma diagnosis is much worse. Mesothelioma tumors are aggressive and grow fast, once victims have symptoms, their illnesses may already be in Stage II or even Stage III. At that point, very few treatment options are available.
Pleural thickening is related to pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers inflame the pleural lung lining. The pressure basically squeezes the lungs smaller and smaller.
Asbestosis is a lung disease that, like mesothelioma, has a very long latency period. Additionally, initial symptoms, such as shortness of breath after periods of exertion, are vague. Many victims, and their doctors dismiss such symptoms as “getting older.”
Because of the lack of treatment, asbestos fibers continue to burn airways inside the lungs. The resulting scar tissue often blocks their airways, most of which are much smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen.
Treatment is available for advanced asbestosis cases, but it is risky, and there is no guarantee of success. A radical lung transplant might or might not work.Legal Options for Victims
Compensation is available for service-related asbestos exposure through the VA disability system. An asbestos exposure lawyer can typically obtain monthly cash and medical benefits in the form of free treatment at any VA medical center.
Service records sometimes establish a service-related connection. Navy vessels and bases are known asbestos hotspots. If necessary, buddy statements that describe the victim’s daily activities supplement service records.
The standard C&P (compensation and pension) medical examination often does not provide adequate information about the victim’s damages. Asbestos-exposure illnesses are difficult to diagnose and often overlap.
So, an asbestos exposure lawyer typically orders an IME (independent medical exam). These doctors, who usually charge nothing upfront, have special expertise in this field.
In some states, injured veterans may file civil claims against asbestos miners or providers. Additional compensation, such as money for noneconomic losses (e.g., emotional distress) and punitive damages, are available in these cases.Reach Out to a Dedicated Attorney
Mesothelioma victims need and deserve significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.