Q: Are veterans covered for deployment-related burn pit exposure injuries?
California veteran’s disability and benefits attorneys followed with interest a landmark court ruling that changes the way victims of burn pit-related medical problems may be compensated for their deployment-related injuries and treatment costs.
At military bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, open-air burn pits release thick black smoke filled with “thousands of chemicals” into the air – – by-products of incinerated trash that included plastics and other waste.
Reportedly, thousands of service members and civilians working on bases in those territories have suffered lung diseases allegedly connected to inhaling the burn pit toxins they were exposed to while deployed or working. In fact, there are approximately 64,000 active and retired service members on the Veterans Administration’s burn pit registry.
As a result of the recent ruling, those veterans as well as injured civilian workers are expected to finally get the treatment they need and deserve. Some of the symptoms and conditions allegedly caused from burn pit exposure include but are not limited to lung inflammation, pain and wheezing, fibrosis, lightheadedness, respiratory problems, blood disorders, and cancer.
Although the landmark ruling involved a civilian contractor rather than a service member, it’s expected that the ruling will support similar claims of service members and that “the same common sense is applied to our military war heroes in their widows”.
Notably, the ruling declared the woman’s employer and insurance carrier to be “liable for all past present and future reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to claimant’s…deployment-related long disease “. Over the objections of the employer and insurance carrier, the court found the victim only needed to show that the working conditions “could conceivably cause the harm alleged”, not that they actually caused it. And it ruled she met that burden of proof.
Sadly, many veterans are unaware of the wide variety of benefits available to them and their families related to their military service. They are also unaware that a skilled veteran’s disability and benefits attorney can help them appeal a denial of benefits.
If you have questions about applying for veterans benefits or need assistance appealing a denial, the experts at Peňa & Bromberg can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Fresno, we provide comprehensive legal services to disabled veterans and their families in Central Valley, California and throughout the United States.