Veterans & Mesothelioma

Over 30% of all mesothelioma patients were veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. As a veteran-founded law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy exists to help veterans with mesothelioma pursue legal compensation as well as benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos in the U.S. military and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for compensation. Call (800) 326-8900 now to see if you qualify.

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Asbestos Exposure by Military Branch

From the 1930s to the late 1970s, asbestos was used extensively in military vehicles, equipment and buildings. No matter the branch of the military you served in, you may have been at risk of asbestos exposure.

U.S. Army Veterans

In the 20th century, the U.S. Army used asbestos to ensure the durability of its jeeps, trucks and tanks. At the time, it was believed that asbestos could safely insulate these vehicles and reduce friction in brakes.

However, as asbestos-based products broke down over time, they released microscopic fibers into the air. U.S. Army mechanics who handled these auto parts could inhale the fibers and eventually develop asbestos-related illnesses.

Dangerous asbestos products used in U.S. Army vehicles included:

  • Brake pads
  • Clutches
  • Gaskets
  • Resins

The U.S. Army also used asbestos-containing construction materials like cement sheet and insulation to build bases and barracks. This put engineers, carpenters and others who worked on these buildings in danger of exposure.

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U.S. Navy Veterans

Asbestos exposure aboard U.S. Navy ships was almost impossible to avoid. As a result, U.S. Navy veterans have the highest risk of mesothelioma today.

Asbestos products were used on almost all U.S. Navy ships until the early 1980s. The heat-resistant and durable properties of asbestos made it a key building material for U.S. Navy ships to reduce the risks of fires.

Asbestos-containing products on U.S. Navy ships included:

  • Adhesives
  • Fireproof doors
  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Packing material
  • Ropes

From the engine room and boiler room to the machinery spaces, every part of the ship may have exposed U.S. Navy service members to asbestos.

Additionally, these ships were often cramped and poorly ventilated, allowing stray asbestos fibers to linger in the air and eventually be inhaled by U.S. Navy personnel.

U.S. Navy shipyard workers ran a higher risk of mesothelioma as well, since they installed, repaired and removed asbestos-containing products from ships.

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U.S. Air Force Veterans

Asbestos was widely used in U.S. Air Force planes because of its heat-resistant properties. However, it put thousands of U.S. Air Force at risk of developing mesothelioma and other deadly diseases decades later.

U.S. Air Force planes contained the following asbestos products:

  • Brakes
  • Cockpit heating systems
  • Gaskets
  • Heat shields for engines
  • Jet exhaust and wiring insulation

U.S. Air Force aviation mechanics and jet engine inspectors could inhale asbestos fibers as they worked on engines, motor parts and other products.

Asbestos was also used in the construction of many U.S. Air Force bases and barracks. U.S. Air Force plumbers, pipefitters and carpenters all may have been exposed to asbestos while they worked on these buildings.

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U.S. Coast Guard Veterans

Like the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard relied on fire-resistant asbestos to build its ships.

Because the threat of fire aboard seagoing vessels was of great concern, the heat resistant and durable properties of asbestos made it a top-choice building material for most U.S. Coast Guard vessels.

Asbestos-based products often used on U.S. Coast Guard ships included:

  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Pumps
  • Ropes
  • Turbines to pipes
  • Valves

The U.S. Coast Guard also used asbestos to build its bases, vehicles and planes.

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U.S. Marine Corps Veterans

Former members of the U.S. Marine Corps who served on naval vessels or in shipyards were at an especially high risk of asbestos exposure.

Beloved actor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Steve McQueen developed mesothelioma in the late 1970s after working in a shipyard decades earlier.

Asbestos products such as pumps, valves, boiler insulation, ropes and fireproofing materials were used throughout the ships, providing numerous opportunities for U.S. Marines to be exposed to the toxin.

The U.S. Marine Corps also relied on asbestos to build its bases, which put mechanics, construction workers and engineers at high risk.

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Veterans & Asbestos Exposure Risks

Secondhand Asbestos Exposure

Service members’ loved ones or family members may have unknowingly inhaled asbestos fibers through secondhand exposure.

Modern-Day Military Asbestos Exposure

Active-duty service members deployed overseas may still be at risk of exposure, as older buildings in these areas often have asbestos.

Asbestos Exposure After the Military

Veterans who used asbestos products in their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) often held a similar job after their service.

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Support for Mesothelioma Veterans

Finding medical support and care is crucial after a mesothelioma diagnosis. Our medical department, led by Registered Nurse Amy Fair, can help connect mesothelioma patients to the best treatment options available.

Our medical team can provide more information about:

  • Mesothelioma treatments like surgery
  • Hospitals that treat mesothelioma patients
  • Top mesothelioma doctors

Amy and the team are also available to answer questions as a patient seeks treatment. Contact our team now to learn more.

“When I began work at the firm, I quickly realized how very rare and complex mesothelioma is, not only for the patient, but for their entire family. Answering patient questions, explaining options and sometimes just listening to a patient and their loved one is the number one reason why I’m here.”
– Amy Fair, Registered Nurse with Simmons Hanly Conroy

Veterans Compensation for Mesothelioma

If you are a veteran battling mesothelioma, our experienced mesothelioma lawyers can help you uncover how you were exposed to asbestos and who should be held accountable.

We hope you will give us the opportunity to file a mesothelioma claim on your behalf, so you can get the financial compensation you deserve.

Mesothelioma compensation can be used to pay for:

  • Treatments and hospital visits
  • Medications
  • Travel costs for treatment
  • Non-treatment expenses (like mortgages, groceries, and other bills)
  • Much-deserved vacations
  • Whatever the client wishes

At Simmons Hanly Conroy, our mesothelioma lawyers and staff members treat clients as people first. When you work with us, you connect with a team that cares about your well-being and happiness.

“My grandmother died of mesothelioma, so I understand what it does to a family, how it affects a family.”
– John Simmons, Chairman & Founder of Simmons Hanly Conroy

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

A mesothelioma lawsuit seeks compensation from manufacturers of asbestos products. These corporations knew that asbestos could cause deadly illnesses but concealed the facts for decades.

Simmons Hanly Conroy is one of the top mesothelioma law firms handling asbestos exposure lawsuits today. The firm has recovered over $9.6 billion for mesothelioma clients since 1999 — including the highest mesothelioma verdict in history.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Asbestos Trust Funds

Some manufacturers of asbestos products declared bankruptcy to avoid mesothelioma lawsuits. Since bankrupt asbestos companies can’t be sued, these companies were forced to set aside money in trust funds to pay those with asbestos-related diseases.

Over $30 billion is estimated to be available in asbestos trust funds as of 2024. Our attorneys can file asbestos trust fund claims to help patients access a portion of this money.

Asbestos Trust Fund List

"I served in the Navy for 20 years. I always knew that there was asbestos. What convinced me about a lawsuit was that I wasn't suing the government, I wasn't suing the U.S. Navy. I was suing the manufacturer because they knew many years prior what it would do to the human being. If I hear of anybody that's been diagnosed, I'm going to direct them to Simmons."

– Walter Twidwell, Firm Client & U.S. Navy Veteran with Mesothelioma

Our Past Mesothelioma Settlements for Veterans

At Simmons Hanly Conroy, we’ve secured more than $9.6 billion for thousands of clients with mesothelioma and their families, including the following mesothelioma settlements and verdicts for veterans.

$4.14 Million

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U.S. Air Force Veteran & Welder

  • $4.3 million to the family of a 52-year-old U.S. Marine who died of mesothelioma
  • $1.38 million to a U.S. Army veteran in New Jersey who died from peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $1.4 million in settlements awarded to a U.S. Navy veteran from California
  • $3 million to a 69-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who also worked as a telephone technician
  • $1.56 million to an 83-year-old U.S. Army veteran in Pennsylvania who died of mesothelioma
  • $3.4 million to a U.S. Navy veteran in Illinois who served on the USS General Hershey
  • $1.28 million in settlements to a U.S. Navy veteran in New York affected by pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.1 million in settlements to a general laborer and U.S. Navy veteran from New York
  • $1.88 million to a 70-year-old U.S. Army veteran in New York who died of peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $2.5 million in mesothelioma settlements to a 60-year-old U.S. Navy veteran in New York
  • $1.76 million for a U.S. Army veteran and longshoreman in Texas who died of mesothelioma

$40 Million

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U.S. Navy Veteran & Boiler Tender

  • $3.2 million in settlements to a U.S. Army veteran and maintenance worker in Texas
  • $2.9 million for a U.S. Army veteran and pipefitter from Colorado with mesothelioma
  • $1.3 million secured for a U.S. Army veteran and laborer from Texas with pleural mesothelioma
  • $4.3 million in settlements to a Florida man who was a U.S. Army veteran and boilermaker
  • $2.25 million in mesothelioma settlements to a U.S. Army veteran and roofer in Washington
  • $1.37 million in settlements awarded to a U.S. Marine veteran and salesman from Florida
  • $1.46 million to a 59-year-old Florida man who was a U.S. Army veteran and shipfitter
  • $1 million to a U.S. Marine veteran and union laborer in Florida who died of mesothelioma
  • $1.3 million to a U.S. Army veteran who suffered from pleural mesothelioma in Pennsylvania
  • $1.5 million for a mesothelioma patient in Pennsylvania who was a U.S. Army veteran and tailor
  • $2.9 million secured for a U.S. Air Force veteran from South Carolina with mesothelioma

$3.5 Million

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U.S. Air Force Veteran

  • $3.9 million collected for a U.S. Army veteran and painter in Maryland with mesothelioma
  • $2 million for a U.S. Army veteran and truck driver in Washington with mesothelioma
  • $1.27 million for a U.S. Army veteran and machinist in Washington with pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.3 million for the family of a U.S. Army veteran and laborer in Washington with pleural mesothelioma
  • $2.4 million in settlements collected for the California heirs of a U.S. Army veteran
  • $2.92 million secured for a U.S. Air Force veteran in Wisconsin with mesothelioma
  • $1.9 million in settlements granted to a U.S. Air Force veteran and pipefitter
  • $1.18 million in settlements to a U.S. Army veteran and mechanic in Washington
  • $1.8 million to the family of a U.S. Army veteran in Illinois with pleural mesothelioma
  • $1 million to a U.S. Army veteran and electrician with pleural mesothelioma in Texas
  • $1.66 million to a U.S. Army veteran and boilermaker

Learn more about our results and asbestos job sites in your area by selecting your state below.

Mesothelioma VA Benefits

Mesothelioma veterans can also access medical and financial benefits through the VA.

  • VA Disability Compensation: Veterans with mesothelioma who qualify for disability compensation receive over $3,700 each month from the VA.
  • VA Health Care: The VA Health Care system employs top mesothelioma specialists like Dr. Robert Cameron.
  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC): Family members can access VA DIC if they lose a loved one due to mesothelioma.
  • VA Pension: This benefit provides monthly payments to veterans who are disabled and/or over the age of 65.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Veterans can access SMC if they have severe disabilities or require more round-the-clock care.

Simmons Hanly Conroy has VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyers on staff to help veterans prepare their VA claims and access the benefits they are entitled to. Call (800) 326-8900 now to get started.

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Simmons Hanly Conroy: Veteran-Founded Mesothelioma Law Firm

The Simmons Hanly Conroy team deeply understands the sacrifices made by veterans and their families. Chairman and founder John Simmons is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, serving two tours as a combat engineer.

“Our law firm has represented over 3,000 veterans, and we’ve employed staff who have served across all of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
– John Simmons, Chairman & U.S. Army Veteran

Our mesothelioma attorneys have dedicated their careers to helping veterans and civilians with mesothelioma access the compensation they’re rightfully owed.

It costs nothing upfront to work with our team — we only get paid if you do. Most of our clients start to receive compensation in 3 months or less.

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Simmons Hanly Conroy Gives Back to Veterans’ Organizations

We are thankful for the sacrifices veterans made while defending our country, whether they died in the line of duty or now suffer from mesothelioma.

The Simmons Hanly Conroy team is honored to represent some of these veterans as they take legal action — but our support for military veterans goes far beyond the courtroom.

Our attorneys and staff members frequently donate their time and money to veterans’ organizations at the local and national levels.

Simmons Hanly Conroy has contributed to: 

  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Joshua Chamberlain Society in St. Louis
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Stand Down, St. Louis
  • Madison County Veterans’ Treatment Court

Veterans who work with Simmons Hanly Conroy can expect the highest-quality legal services available. Get a free legal consultation or call (800) 326-8900 to learn more.

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Mesothelioma & Veterans FAQs

Why do veterans get mesothelioma?

Veterans get mesothelioma because every branch of the military used asbestos in numerous applications from the 1930s to the late 1970s. Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma.

As a result, veterans make up nearly 33% of all mesothelioma diagnoses today.

Is mesothelioma a VA disability?

Yes. Because this cancer is so aggressive, mesothelioma has a 100% disability rating. As a result, veterans with mesothelioma qualify for over $3,700 per month in VA disability.

Contact Simmons Hanly Conroy now for a free legal consultation to learn more about your options and get started.

How do you prove asbestos exposure in the military?

When you work with Simmons Hanly Conroy, we’ll gather the evidence to prove your asbestos exposure history. We maintain a database of known asbestos products, their manufacturers and work sites where they were used.

“Finding an important piece of evidence, the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack,’ takes time, patience and planning,” Ryan Kiwala said, describing how he helps gather evidence for asbestos cases.

“I might have to look through 10,000 pages to find one document or review hours of depositions for an admission from a defendant’s employee — but it’s always gratifying when you find it.”

Simmons Support Team
Reviewed by:John Simmons

Chairman of Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Reviewer

John Simmons is a founder and Chairman of Simmons Hanly Conroy. After serving in the U.S. Army, he went on to earn his Doctor of Law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law. He has helped recover some of the biggest verdicts and settlements in asbestos litigation history and is rated as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

View Sources
  1. Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. "The King of Cool" - Steve McQueen's Story. Retrieved from https://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/newsroom/blogs/the-king-of-cool-steves-story/. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  2. The New York Times. "Military Families Say Base Housing Is Plagued by Mold and Neglect." Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/military-base-housing-mold.html. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "2022 VA DIC rates for spouses and dependents." Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/survivor-dic-rates/. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "2022 Veterans disability compensation rates." Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "2022 VA special monthly compensation rates." Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/special-monthly-compensation-rates/. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  6. 1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “2024 Veterans disability compensation rates.” Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/. Accessed on December 5, 2023.
  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "Eligibility for Veterans Pension." Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  8. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "Types of Compensation." Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-compensation.asp. Accessed on August 1, 2023.
  9. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "Veterans asbestos exposure." Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/. Accessed on August 1, 2023.