Expediting the process of retrieving military records

By Treven Pyles

Posted on July 05th, 2022

Due to the common misconception that the toxic exposure claim process is a convoluted one, numerous victims are often discouraged in seeking reparations for their suffering. It is therefore essential to highlight the aspects that require minimal involvement from the injured party's side and the ways they can be expedited.

Veterans and their family members stationed on contaminated bases who have been exposed to chemical, physical, or environmental hazards while on active duty and developed subsequent health issues may be eligible to file a toxic exposure claim and recover financial compensation. Asbestos, AFFF, mustard gas, and other such unexpected toxic agents present on military bases may have contributed to the development of cancer and non-cancerous diseases, including but not limited to:

  • leukemia
  • aplastic anemia
  • myelodysplastic syndromes
  • bladder cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • liver cancer
  • multiple myeloma
  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease
  • testicular cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • lymphoma
  • high cholesterol
  • congenital disabilities
  • thyroid disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • lung cancer
  • asbestosis
  • bronchial cancer
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • esophageal cancer
  • emphysema
  • gastrointestinal cancer
  • asthma
  • colorectal cancer
  • lung scarring
  • histoplasmosis
  • lung nodules
  • reproductive disorders
  • tuberculosis
  • pleural effusion

In order to apply for compensation from the liable companies that manufactured the dangerous substances, as well as to file a claim with The Department of Veterans Affairs for disability reparations, veterans only need to provide their attorney with:

  • medical records confirming a current, accurate diagnosis
  • a solid causal link between their diagnosed disability and the toxic agent behind the illness
  • military records containing information about a veteran's unit and location of service, all relevant details to a toxic exposure claim

Retrieving military records

Veterans who decide to file a toxic exposure claim must obtain their military records that also provide a connection between the contaminated site and their active duty when they were exposed to harmful agents. If the injured party is impaired and cannot carry out the process, a family member can also take care of the required paperwork, a step that typically takes less than an hour to accomplish.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has joined forces with The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to digitalize all paper-based military personnel documents. Military personnel who have served in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard can access military service records provided by NARA. Requests for these records are typically answered up to four days and can be ordered from the facility which holds the documents, as follows:

  • The National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. - holds records that are related to military service members who served as early as 1775 in the Federal interest and during wartime. Military records can be ordered online from this facility or through Form 86.
  • The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri - holds files that are related to later military service. Numerous records were destroyed by the fire in 1973. Files that are not transferred to NPRC and are retained in electronic format by the respective branch of service are those of Air Force members discharged/retired after Sep 30, 2004, Navy members discharged/retired after Dec 31, 1994, and Marine Corps members discharged/retired after Dec 31, 1999. Records from this facility can be ordered online by veterans or immediate family members of deceased veterans through eVetRecs or by the use of paper form SF-180 mailed or faxed to the facility. For all others who wish to obtain the files, Standard Form 180 applies.

Once you order the military records provided by NARA, we will review them and subsequently inform you if your legal claim can be pursued and contact you to further discuss eligibility. We can file separate claims for family members who developed eligible diseases as a result of their stay at any of the contaminated military bases.

Working with a specialized attorney is vital for any toxic exposure case, as they have the expertise and resources to guide victims at every step of the legal process and help them maximize the amount of compensation for their suffering.

Quality legal assistance for victims of toxic exposure on military bases

Filing a claim cannot remove the emotional and physical pain caused by diagnosed diseases resulting from exposure to toxic agents, but it can help relieve the financial burden deriving from medical expenses and lost wages. The main area of practice at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. is toxic exposure and our skilled legal team has nearly three decades of experience in helping victims achieve the most favorable outcome for their cases.

We will handle the legal proceedings on your behalf, gathering solid evidence to support your claim and expedite it so that you can benefit from the reparation payment within the shortest possible period and continue to focus on your treatment.

We operate on a contingency fee basis, so working with our experienced legal team is free of charge unless we recover compensation for your case. Please feel free to contact our law firm, and we will provide any additional information.