Answered: 5 Frequently Asked Questions About the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
For decades, people based at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina were exposed to toxic water supplies.
Toxins like industrial solvents and benzene leaked into the water supply from 1953 to 1987. This led to serious health issues for veterans, family members, and civilian workers. Many later developed cancers and other conditions. After years of legal battles, a historic compensation program was finalized thanks to the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
If you or someone you know has been connected to the Camp Lejeune incident, obtaining information about the ongoing lawsuit settlement is crucial. This blog will answer frequently asked questions about the Camp Lejeune lawsuit settlement and who may be eligible.
#1. What Is the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit About?
The lawsuit is about toxic chemicals that entered tap water systems at Camp Lejeune for over 30 years.
One major source was leaking underground water holding tanks. Many developed illnesses like leukemia, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and more are believed to be linked to contaminated water. As a result, veterans and family members sued the federal government for failing to protect them.
After a long fight, legal action made progress in 2022, when President Biden delivered the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This law provides a window of compensation for the million people harmed by the tainted water of Camp Lejeune.
#2. Who Qualifies for Filing a Lawsuit?
If you were based at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, then you, your family members, and even the children you were pregnant with at the time, qualify to file a lawsuit.
The law expanded the list of covered conditions to over 19 cancers and other illnesses tied to chemical exposure. Those eligible to file claims include veterans, civilian workers, and family members of employees or service members.
Compensation was not previously available to many family members, but the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 opens up claims to a broader group. So far, the government has offered 23 settlements, out of which 6 have been accepted. The accepted offers combine up to a total of $1.45 million.
Yet, over 147,000 claims are awaiting compensation. Moreover, Bloomberg reports that over 85% of the claimants aren’t eligible for the initial resolution payouts handed out by the government.
#3. How Much Compensation Could I Receive if My Claim Is Approved?
Settlement amounts could range from $1,500 up to $2 million, depending on your condition.
For example, a leukemia diagnosis could qualify for a maximum award of $2 million. Awards for renal toxicity and other conditions are lower based on severity. Under the new law, the maximum family member reward increased from $100,000 to $550,000. The compensation is divided into three tiers based on the types of disorders and the duration of stay on the Camp Lejeune base.
Your settlement also factors in your expenses, health status, and lost wages. If you’ve experienced a wrongful death, you can receive an extra $100,000. Reach out to a qualified Camp Lejeune lawyer, as it’ll help you maximize your compensation.
#4. What Is the Procedure for Filing a Camp Lejeune Claim?
TorHoerman Law advises, first, to gather all relevant medical records, evidence of living or working at Camp Lejeune, and other documents that support your case.
Then, consider hiring a qualified lawyer to improve your odds of success and ensure proper filing. Choose an attorney experienced with Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Next, complete the claim form and submit it before the two-year application window under the Act expires on August 10, 2024.
The VA is currently establishing specifics around required evidence and how claims will be processed, so applicants should check for updates.
#5. When Will the Claims Be Settled?
With the Act only passing in 2022, the VA is still developing policies and procedures for evaluating claims and dispensing settlements.
Payouts will likely begin in late 2024 or 2025 based on the timeline in the legislation. Applicants who submit claims within the two-year window after policies are finalized will receive priority processing.
Given the complexity, it may take up to 18 months to receive compensation, even once the VA starts approvals. Sign up for updates to know when claims are being accepted.
In conclusion, the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit represents a significant step toward justice for those affected by decades of exposure to toxic chemicals.
With the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, there is finally a path forward for receiving compensation for the resulting health effects. If you or a loved one may have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, be sure to learn more about eligibility and act soon to file a claim within the application window. As the process unfolds, it’s crucial to gather necessary documents, seek legal assistance, and stay informed about the evolving policies.
This is your path to reclaiming your health, easing financial burdens, and finding a measure of justice. Take that step – because even in the face of injustice, hope lives on.