Were you or a loved one based at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987?
If so, you might receive compensation for the damages to your health by exposure to toxic drinking water.
For over three decades, Camp Lejeune’s drinking water was infected with poisonous chemicals, exposing hundreds of thousands of people to serious health risks. In 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed, allowing victims to seek legal compensation.
If you or a loved one are experiencing health issues due to toxic water consumption, you are at the right place. This blog will help you start with what you need to know before filing a lawsuit.
Before proceeding with a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you must determine your eligibility.
Eligibility criteria are vital to ensure that your case holds merit and can progress through the legal system. To be eligible for filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria:
- Prove your exposure: You must have lived, worked, or been present at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987.
- Document your health issues: Present the original medical documentation to support your presumptive illness diagnosis claim.
- File a lawsuit within the statute of limitations: Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, the affected people have the right to compensation for their injuries.
The law provides a two-year window (starting from August 10, 2022) to file lawsuits from the date of enactment.
The Legal Process of Filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
The process of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit is as follows:
- Prove you were at Camp Lejeune: Provide evidence that you lived, worked, or were present at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- Show your illness history: Present original medical records to support your claim that you have been diagnosed with a presumptive illness caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
- File a VA claim: File a disability claim with Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a connection between your health issues and the contaminated water.
- Await VA’s decision: Up until July 2022, a VA claim, on average, took 125.3 days to process. (this was before President Biden presented the Honoring Our PACT Act).
- Hire a lawyer: If your VA claim is denied or you are unsatisfied with the compensation offered, hire a lawyer experienced in Camp Lejeune water contamination cases.
- File your lawsuit: Your lawyer will file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, gathering medical history and other evidence required to build a strong case. If the settlement amount offered does not meet expectations, your legal team may decide to bring your case to court.
Compensation and Settlements
Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination may receive compensation for their injuries, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
As of November 2023, a payout has yet to be initiated per the PACT Act 2022. Only disability benefit compensation is provided through the VA.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts can go up to $6.7 billion in compensation. Individual payouts can start from $100,000 and can go as high as $500,000 or even more, as per the Elective Option.
But there’s a catch.
The payout amount will depend on two major factors: The petitioner’s medical condition and the duration of their exposure to the toxic water.
As of now, only Tier 1 and Tier 2 diseases are eligible for the Elective Option.
People diagnosed with Tier 1 health issues, such as kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and bladder cancer, can receive compensation between $150,000 and $450,000.
Whereas people diagnosed with Tier 2 medical conditions, such as multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, systemic sclerosis, and systemic scleroderma, can receive compensation between $100,000 and $400,000.
The compensation offered to a petitioner will also depend on the duration of exposure to the toxic waters.
For example, if you were stationed at Camp Lejeune for less than 30 days, you will receive the lowest settlement amount in the Tier that includes your illness.
Petitioners who were exposed for between 30 days and five years would receive the median compensation. And finally, petitioners with more than five years of exposure would receive the highest settlement amount.
If a petitioner passes away due to one of the eligible medical conditions, the Elective Option provides an additional $100,000 in wrongful death compensation.
Calculating the settlement amount and evaluating your options can often be confusing and overwhelming. Hence, TorHoerman Law recommends consulting an experienced Camp Lejeune lawyer to get what’s best for your family.
Pursuing legal action over toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune requires detailed evidence, navigating complex guidelines, and determination.
But holding the wrongdoers accountable can help veterans, civilian workers, and families achieve long-awaited justice.
Contact a top Camp Lejeune lawyer to understand your options and prepare the strongest possible claim. With the right legal team, you can stand up and fight for your rights.