The Camp Lejeune water contamination is a notorious and tragic event that has affected countless military personnel and their families. From 1953 to 1987, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base, was contaminated with hazardous chemicals, including benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), and perchloroethylene (PCE). As a result, many people developed serious illnesses and cancers, leading to a wave of lawsuits and legal actions.
If you or a loved one was stationed or lived at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit. This blog provides an overview of who is eligible to file a claim for compensation in the Camp Lejeune lawsuit. For more detailed information about eligibility, contact our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination attorneys online or at 302.655.2599.
What is the Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
Camp Lejeune is a U.S. Marine Corps base located in North Carolina. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the base's water supply was contaminated with harmful chemicals such as benzene, vinyl chloride, and trichloroethylene. As a result, people who lived or worked on the base during that time were exposed to toxins linked to severe health issues ranging from birth defects to cancer.
In 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, providing veterans and their families with healthcare benefits. In 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 made it possible for eligible individuals to file a lawsuit against the United States government for compensation for damages suffered as a result of the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Who can file a claim in the Camp Lejeune Contamination Litigation?
The Camp Lejeune litigation law focuses on getting compensation for anyone who suffered illness or injury as a result of the water contamination at the base. Many people lived and worked on the Camp Lejeune base, and it is not necessary to be an active or former service member to be eligible to file a claim. The litigation is also open to non-military such as civilians who worked on the base, military families who lived on the base, and the surviving family members of veterans who were stationed at the base.
However, there are certain criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to file a claim in the Camp Lejeune lawsuit:
The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination is stated to have occurred from 1953 to 1987. If you or your deceased family member were stationed at, lived on, or worked as a civilian at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, you may be eligible for legal action.
To be eligible to recover monetary benefits under the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination law, you must demonstrate that you or your deceased family member was exposed to the contaminated water while at Camp Lejeune. This exposure must be linked to the illnesses or conditions that you are experiencing.
Illness or injury
You must be able to show that you or your deceased family member have/had a documented illness or injury related to the chemicals in the contaminated water. This can include cancers, neurological conditions, and other serious health issues.
Eligibility for benefits under the Camp Lejeune law can be complicated and may vary depending on individual circumstances. Some individuals may need to provide additional information and documentation to participate in legal action. To determine whether or not you are eligible, it is helpful to consult with an attorney who has experience in these types of cases, such as the attorneys at Morris James, to ensure that you do not lose out on your legal right to compensation.
Do I need a lawyer for a Camp Lejeune claim?
Some victims of Camp Lejeune think that filing a claim in the Camp Lejeune litigation is similar to filing one of the many government forms that they have submitted over the years. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
While it is true that the first step of the process is the filing of an administrative claim, if that claim does not successfully resolve the matter, a lawsuit must be filed in Federal Court.
Early indications are that the federal government did not have a process in place to handle these claims.
As a result, the filing of formal lawsuits will be required.
It is essential that you have sound legal advice from the very start of the process so that you avoid unintentionally making a mistake that affects your right to compensation.
An attorney can advise you on your eligibility to file a Camp Lejeune claim:
- prepare and submit the documentation for you
- respond to questions and requests for more information
- ensure that your claim is properly valued so that you do not accept an unreasonable offer of compensation.
Your attorney should keep you informed throughout the process and answer any questions you may have.
Many people worry about the cost of an attorney, however, in litigation, unrepresented plaintiffs risk receiving lower amounts of compensation than plaintiffs who are represented by an attorney.
This is for many reasons –
- attorneys know the law and the systems and use that knowledge to win cases
- attorneys know what should be included in compensation and how it should be valued whereas unrepresented plaintiffs often do not realize how their compensation should be calculated
- attorneys are trained advocates who use their skills to fight for their clients in negotiations or at trial.
If you are concerned about attorneys’ fees, talk to your attorney (before hiring them) about their fee policies. Many attorneys offer a one-time free consultation and/or contingency-based fees, which means you do not pay unless you win.
Camp Lejeune attorneys at Morris James can help
The Camp Lejeune litigation is a way for those affected by the base's contaminated water to get compensation and justice. Veterans, their families, and the civilians who worked at Camp Lejeune deserve nothing less.
At Morris James, our attorneys have been standing up for victims since we opened our doors in 1932. If you have questions about water contamination at Camp Lejeune, you may find answers in our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit FAQs, or you contact us online or call us at 302.655.2599 to speak to one of our experienced attorneys. Attorneys Keith Donovan or Matt Fogg will be happy to answer all of your questions.