How much is my grandfather entitled to if exposed to radiation on a Naval Ship during an operation? 16 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My Grandfather served on the U.S.S Salamonie in late August to early September of 1958. He was part of Task Force 88 in an operation called Argus. Over so many years, he's had a lot of health issues dealing with stomach pains, breathing, coughing (sometimes coughing up blood), nausea, confusion about certain things, and the list goes on. He's been to plenty of doctors that's diagnosed him with everything. He recently went to a VA doctor and the doctor told him these are signs of over exposure to radiation and signs of cancer. The doctor explained to him how he and 4,500 other people were exposed to this during the specific operation of Argus. The cancer he might have is lung cancer (possibly mesothelioma). The doctor also said exposure could mutate the genes which could be the reason why his children are the way they are. My mom has Crohn's Disease and liver issues. Both of my uncles are sterile and can't have children, and my aunt has brain and nerve problems. I, myself, have IBS and breathing issues, my middle brother has heart problems and brain abnormalities, and my youngest brother has IBS. I'm scared to death if worse comes to worse and he has cancer and it be mesothelioma. I know that's a harsh thing to go through and it terrifies me for him. I know there's an act called the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which rewards these veteran's with $75,000. But honestly, this is a slap in the face after all he's been through and what he will go through. His doctor bills will exceed that lousy number and his pain and suffering isn't comparable. And as for my mom, my uncles, my aunt, and possibly me and my brothers, how is that fair to us? I guess what I'm asking is if all this is true, and he has all these problems due to over exposure of radiation during Operation Argus, and his kids and grandkids ended up with all their health issues because of it, do we HAVE to take the $75,000, or can we do something else to get what my grandfather deserves if he's experienced more problems?

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Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Do you have medical records confirming all the family involvement and also a clear diagnosis of your grandfather.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 6/23/2011
Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law
Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law | Daniel Hoarfrost
I'm not familiar with these types of claims and I'm not able to give you an answer.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/11/2013
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
If the Act exists, then the best thing to do is read it fully and comprehend it. Then look up the Act on a search engine and see if any attorneys handle this specific type of action against the government. There should be a few. It is my understanding that nobody can sue the government without its approval. That's why the Congress passes legislation to allow for law suits of this nature. I also remember that GIs, meaning soldiers and sailors do not have many rights to sue if any and that is why there was such legislation as you refer to in your question. Whether it's a slap in the face or not is a value judgment I cannot make. Remember, perhaps a huge number of GIs were affected. Anyway, find an attorney who is willing to take such a case on for your grandfather and your entire family. It certainly sounds like you've been through a lot already.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/22/2011
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
What you are asking about involves a very specialized field called "Mass Tort Litigation". I do not practice in that area and am unfamiliar with the law you have referenced. I suggest that you find out the name of that law and then trying doing internet searches on that and see if any law firms come up.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/4/2013
Richard E. Lewis, P.S.
Richard E. Lewis, P.S. | Richard Eugene Lewis
My understanding is that service related claims are limited to the Radiation Act. I thought the act provided 150,000 rather than 75,000, but I might be mistaken. I am uncertain how the children can claim they were affected. By that I mean, how were they exposed? It is nearly impossible to prevail on secondary exposure claims.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/22/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    If there is asbestos exposure as suggested here, the compensation may be greater than the 75k for exposure to radiation. Without a little research, the best answer is that the exposure to radiation is probably covered by the statute and the recovery is limited to the award provided by the law. Call our office to investigate the radiation and asbestos exposure. It is important to call soon as there may be deadlines to file.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    At the outset please accept my sympathy for all that your grandfather and your family have gone through and please also pass on my thanks to your grandfather for his service to our country. The legal side of this actually is worse than you believe. There is a doctrine in the law called the Feres Doctrine which was established by the case of Feres vs. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court. That doctrine holds that the government is immune from suit by any member of the armed forces for injuries (or death) received while on active duty. There is no way around this immunity. The only avenue for compensation would be if the government establishes a fund to compensate injured veterans for a specific situation. One that immediately comes to mind is the Agent Orange Compensation Fund which was set up to pay military members who were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I understand that a similar fund was established to compensate soldiers in Desert Storm who were believed to have been exposed to some form of chemical agent while they were there. While I am unfamiliar with the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act that would be consistent with the way the government operates in such situations. I am afraid that whatever the government has established as compensation would be the limit of what would be recoverable. The only way to increase the amount of compensation for this specific type of claim, in my view, would be to get Congress to increase it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    I suggest that you contact your local congressman's or senator's office for assistance. Someone from that office could direct you to the appropriate federal agency or office to possibly address your concerns about your grandfather. Also, your grandfather should obtain and consult with an attorney who specializes in the area of and legally handles similar medical issues involving your grandfather.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    You may have a claim. The facts & evidence needs to be carefully reviewed. You should know, and this is a good thing, that the attorney fee is typically limited under federal law in these type of claims. Consult /w an attorney for further information.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Consult with an attorney who has handled these cases.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    Make an appointment and speak with an attorney who specializes in these types of claims. Most attorneys will give you a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law | Ron Graham
    So this incident happened over 50 years ago and you want to know if you can collect? I do not know anything about this act but if it lets you collect after 50 years then take the compensation.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    I would have to get all of his medical records and do some research. You need to call personal injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    This is a highly specialized area of law of which I have only general knowledge. I could find nothing in the RECA that says it is an exclusive remedy, which means you could sue the government instead. However, there may be statute of limitations problems or problems proving that your medical problems were caused by the exposure. Under the RECA, you do not have to prove causation, you need only prove that you worked in an exposed area a certain number of years and that you have a disease that is covered by the law. If you can find an attorney who works specifically on these cases, the attorney should be able to discuss whether other viable cases of action or claims exist.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/21/2011
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