Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuit Settlement | Speak with TOP Lawyer Now
For decades, Marine Corps servicemen and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxins in their waters. For decades more, after they were sickened by the contaminated water, they were denied the right to sue the United States Government that put their lives in danger. Thanks to a new law that Congress passed, these families will finally be able to get justice in the form of financial compensation for their injuries by way of a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit.
Anyone who lived, worked or was at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 for at least 30 days and suffered harm can file a lawsuit. Family members of victims who died decades ago can file a Camp Lejeune Water contamination lawsuits for harm caused to them by the toxic water.
Camp Lejeune FAQs
Here are some questions that Camp Lejeune attorneys Are being asked by prospective clients. Since the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a new law, people are now learning how it works and what they may be able to do to obtain financial compensation.
How do I prove that Camp Lejeune water caused my illness?
The Camp Lejeune Justice act contains a somewhat relaxed standard up causation that should make it easier for you to prove that the toxic Camp Lejeune water was to blame for your illness. According to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, you may be compensated if you can prove the following about your illness:
It was caused by exposure to the water;
- It was associated with exposure to the water;
- It was linked to exposure to the water; or
- The exposure to the water increased the likelihood of such harm
The new law specifically allows you to use studies to prove the connection between your illness and toxic Camp Lejeune water.
Where do I file a claim for financial compensation?
Like all other claims against the federal government, the law specifies that you must first go to the government. There is a claims process with the Department of Defense. The agency will first consider your claim and decide whether it has merit. If so, the agency will make you a settlement offer. If the agency denies your claim, or it will not offer you enough money, you do not have to simply take what they are offering (or not offering). If you do not achieve a satisfactory resolution with the agency, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit in federal court in North Carolina.
The government knew of the possibility of harm. Does this mean I can get punitive damages?
Unfortunately, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act specifically addresses punitive damages and says that you cannot obtain them as part of your claim. In all personal injury cases, when you are suing a government entity, you are not able to get punitive damages as part of your award. It does not matter how negligent the government was or how poorly it acted.
How long do I have to file a Camp Lejeune claim?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act created a new cause of action that allows you to sue the federal government for injuries that you suffered from Camp Lejeune water. The law placed a time limit on claims. Specifically, you have two years from the time that President Biden signed the bill into law to file a claim. This means that your legal right to obtain compensation goes away completely in August 2024. Once the cause of action expires, the previous rules that barred lawsuits go back into effect.
How much money has Congress allocated to pay Camp Lejeune claims?
Congress has not made a specific appropriation that places a limit on the total amount of money that it will pay to Camp Lejeune victims. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the total amount of Camp Lejeune compensation will exceed $6 billion. However, that is just a congressional estimate of the impact on the budget. The government will not run out of money, nor will it declare bankruptcy like other private plaintiffs may do to avoid a judgment.
Who pays the attorney’s fees if I win my case?
The attorney’s fees would come from the proceeds of your settlement or jury award. Federal law places a limit on the amount of fees that an attorney may charge in connection with the case. If the case does go to trial, the government is responsible for court costs. As with any personal injury case, you do not need to pay an attorney anything unless you win your case. An attorney would not request a retainer, nor would they send you hourly bills while the case is pending.
Will I still be able to get veterans benefits if I settle my claim?
Yes. There is a section in the law which specifically states that receiving compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice act will not impact your future veterans benefits. You would still be able to receive disability benefits and have medical care covered. Although the Veterans Administration has clearly mishandled claims pursuant to toxic Camp Lejeune water, the agency promises to improve its training and processes to better handle these claims in the future Previously, many claims were arbitrarily denied because the VA personnel handling them lacked the appropriate training.
Who is allowed to file Camp Lejeune claims?
The right to seek competition from the federal government is not just limited to veterans. In many cases, veterans’ families lived on base with them, and they were also injured. In addition, civilian employees who worked on base were also injured because they drank the same water. Anyone who was at Camp Lejeune for a 30-day period or more between the years 1953-1987 is allowed to file a claim provided they meet the criteria listed in the law.
Do I need an attorney to file a Camp Lejeune claim?
There’s nothing in the law that says You must have a lawyer, but it certainly helps. First, you need to go through a complex internal claims process with the federal agency. You cannot assume that the federal government will automatically compensate you for all the damages that you suffered. The government may try to save money by making you a low settlement offer. You have the same right to negotiate with the government as you do with any other defendant. If you need to file a lawsuit, you need to take your case to Federal Court. It is very difficult for the average person to represent themselves in federal court without specific training.
How is my Camp Lejeune financial compensation determined?
Like any personal injury case, your financial compensation depends on your own specific circumstances and injuries. Even though we can give rough estimates of how much you could potentially expect, you never know the exact amount of your settlement until you reach the agreement. In a Camp Lejeune settlement, you can expect the following items of compensation:
- Lost wages for time that you were unable to work
- Medical expenses to treat your condition
- Pain and suffering from the ordeal of your injury
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
Again, we do not know yet how the federal government intends to handle these cases. As of this point, initial claims are still being filed.
What if my loved one died from their illness years ago?
Your family can file a wrongful death claim to be compensated for their own losses. You do not need to worry about the statute of limitations keeping you from filing a claim. The new cause of action can cover deaths that occurred decades ago, for which you were previously not able to file a lawsuit. You may be able to recover both for your family’s own damages and for what your loved one endured between the time of their illness and death.
When should I contact a Camp Lejeune attorney?
Given the brief time period that you have to file a claim, you should contact an attorney immediately. Your case could take some time to resolve. Also, it may take your attorney time to gather the necessary documentation that they need to file your claim. You should not be complacent that you have until August 2024 to file your claim. You do not want your attorney to have to scramble at the last minute to compile the information needed for your claim. You can always speak with an attorney today to know that you have someone working on your case.
What steps can I take with regard to my Camp Lejeune claim?
The best thing that you can do is contact an experienced attorney to schedule an initial consultation. In addition, you should preserve any evidence that you have both relating to your illness and your potential damages. You should work closely with your attorney to help them file the strongest claim possible.
A New Law Allows Claims for Toxic Camp Lejeune Water
Camp Lejeune has been around since right before the start of World War Two. As the base expanded, the government built a network of water treatment plants on base. However, the government either did not choose locations for these plants properly or did not monitor them as they were contaminated by external sources. One of the treatment plants was contaminated by chemicals from an off-based dry cleaners that had poor waste disposal practices. The other was contaminated by leaking underground storage tanks and other toxins on base.
More than a Million People Were Exposed Over Three Decades
It was almost three decades before anyone even noticed that a large part of the base’s drinking water was contaminated. Finally, by 1980, the government realized that there was a problem. Shockingly, the government did not do anything for years after that discovery. It was not until 1987 that the government shut these treatment plants down for good. For seven years, the government knowingly exposed service members, their families and anyone else on base to grave danger.
The government did not even know the full extent of the danger for some time. However, the government may not have known because it did not want to know. Over a million people were exposed to these toxins over a 34-year period.
What Occurred at Camp Lejeune Marine Base?
From 1953 to 1988, marines and soldiers who lived at the Marine Base and their families were exposed to hazardous toxins in their bathing and drinking water. Two of the main water supply systems had severe problems that caused water contamination. A particular treatment plants was near a dry cleaner called ABC dry cleaning. This dry cleaner had abhorrent and reckless chemical disposal practices.
Over decades, tens of thousans of people who lived, worked or were stationed at Camp Lejeune In North Carolina were diagnosed with various cancer or medical conditions as a result of the toxic water. People did not learn of the hazardous and polluted water until well after they were harmed by the water.
Who can pursue a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit?
- A person including a veteran service member,
- military civilian workers and contractors
- people who worked at Camp Lejeune during the applicable time period
- family members of servicemember such as a child or spouse
- deceased person who meets the above qualifications
who lived or worked at the base for a duration of at least 30 days (need not be consecutive) and was exposed to the contaminated water from August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987.
Can a family / child/ spouse be compensated for their family member who died many years ago?
Yes. The legal representative of a victim who passed away but met the eligibility requirements while they were alive can file a lawsuit. Lawyers believe that the cause of death is not required to be related to the applicable illness which is linked to exposure to the toxic water.
North Carolina Law Prevented Lawsuits for the Toxic Water
For years, people who were sickened by the contaminated water were not able to sue because of a North Carolina law that limited the amount of time that they had to take legal action. There was a ten-year statute of limitations that the Supreme Court held preempted federal law.
The problem is that, by the time that people found out that their cancer may have been caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the time to file a lawsuit had passed. For years, families lived with the knowledge that they had been dealt a terrible hand from the combination of government carelessness and a harsh state law.
After a Long Struggle, Help Is on the Way
Things have changed for families. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is law and the law undoes decades of injustice that military families have faced. Not only do they have a right to veterans disability benefits for the health issues that they face, but they can also file a lawsuit against the United States government for exposing them to dangerous levels of contaminants in their drinking water. The specific provision in the law would allow for a two-year suspension of the statute of limitations to allow victims to file lawsuits. Therefore, you need to act quickly to get the financial compensation that you may deserve.
The Government May Owe Billions of Dollars
The government expects to pay out around 6.7 billion dollars in compensation for Camp Lejeune water illnesses. Initial estimates were that the Treasury Judgment Fund would pay out $6.7 billion in compensation. However, this is not a set amount of money that is available. If more people file claims, the government would need to pay out more money.
Claims Could Be Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
It is difficult to come up with a number of what these claims may be worth at the outset of the process. Cancer-related claims in mass torts may have payments well over 300,000. A wrongful death claim may pay millions. These lawsuits need to be filed in federal Court in North Carolina. The government may still try to defend the case in court once the lawsuit is filed. However, there is a strong chance that there will be a settlement, especially given the fact that Congress passed a law allowing victims to file lawsuits. You would still need to file your claim once there is a settlement. A claims administrator would probably determine how much you may be able to get in compensation if you are eligible.
There may be as many as 70,000 people who could file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit contamination claim. That represents the approximate number of people who have filed disability claims for toxin-related illnesses. Anyone who was on base for over 30 days between 1953 and 1987 who was injured by the contaminated lawsuit may file a lawsuit.
If you or a family member were sickened by toxic Camp Lejeune water, you should consult with a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit attorney to learn your legal rights. You have a limited amount of time to take legal action before North Carolina law would again bar your lawsuit. This is the time when your family can finally get justice for the government’s carelessness and recklessness in exposing you to such grave danger.