It was a historic day on August 10, 2022 when President Biden signed the PACT Act, or The Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, into law. A critical part of this legislation is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was passed on August 2, 2022. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows individuals that were injured by or suffered from an illness due to contaminated water at the military base to file a compensation claim against the U.S. government.
Lately, we’ve been getting a great number of questions regarding this new law. Here is one question we receive on a frequent basis:
“Do I have to be a former military member to be a part of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit?
The answer is no, you do not need to have been in the US Army, Navy, Marines, or Airforce to be a part of the Camp Lejeune water contamination claims process. However, we can understand why people are confused on this issue, as lawsuits against the military typically involve veterans, or their family members in the case of wrongful death claims. Thus, we believe that a more thorough explanation is needed to help you understand your rights if you’ve been harmed by toxic chemicals in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. We believe you will find this information useful, but we cannot address specific questions about your case without speaking to you in person. For a private consultation with one of our attorneys, contact our office at your earliest convenience.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune: A Brief History
From August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, the water supply at Camp Lejeune military base in Jacksonville, NC was contaminated by several toxic chemicals. These include Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene, benzene, and vinyl chloride, which came from a variety of sources on or near the base that were known to military officials. Instead of taking care of these issues, the U.S. military chose to hide the problem and turn their backs of those who became ill or died from the contaminated water supply.
Service members, contractors, civilians, and their family members suffered from serious health conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, female infertility, and many forms of cancer. As it’s been over 30 years since the period of contamination, many of these people passed away from the effects of their disease. With the signing of the PACT Act, these victims and their families can now participate in the Camp Lejeune water contamination recovery process and receive compensation for what they’ve suffered.
Can Non-Military Personnel File a Claim?
It’s clear that the majority of claimants will be former military members, but over one million people were exposed to dangerous chemicals while they were in Camp Lejeune. These individuals include contractors, non-military employees, civilians, and visitors who were at the base for at least 30 days during the contamination period. They too, as well as their loved ones, may be eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit against the federal government. Our lawyers are here for you if you need more information regarding your rights and legal options.
Do I Need to have Lived at Camp Lejeune to Qualify for a Lawsuit?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows anyone who lived or worked at the base from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, for at least 30 days, exposed to the contaminated water and suffered injuries, to file a claim against the U.S. government. That means you do not have to have lived at the Marine Corps base to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. You may also be able to file a claim if your deceased family member did not live at Camp Lejeune, but they were at the base during 1953 to 1987 for 30 days or more.
How long did I Need to be Living at / Visiting Camp Lejeune to Participate in the Claims Process?
According to the terms of the PACT Act, you or your loved one must have been living, working, or staying at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days during the years of 1953 to 1987. You must also prove that you were diagnosed with or suffered a health complication from being exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. These health conditions have been identified by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, which we will go over in the next section.
Are there any other Requirements to Join the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Aside from the time period and number of days that you must have been at Camp Lejeune, you will need to show that you suffered from one of the following medical conditions as identified by the VA:
- Aplastic anemia (and related syndromes)
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
However, those who were dishonorably discharged from the military, as well as their family members, will be ineligible for a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. To verify whether or not you qualify for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, please give us a call at our office.
What is the Recovery Process for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
The Camp Lejeune water contamination recovery process begins with a claim, which must be filed with the appropriate federal agency. The U.S. government will have 6 months to approve or deny your claim, or they may not respond at all. If your claim is denied or you don’t get a response within 6 months, you will need to file a lawsuit with U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to secure the funds you deserve. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough review of your case to determine the damages you can recover, which may include medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Then, we will uncover the needed evidence to support your claim and build a solid case to bring you the funds you’re entitled to.
How long do I have to File a Lawsuit?
If you have already suffered or been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, you have two years to file a lawsuit from August 10, 2022, which is the signing date of the PACT Act. If you were at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period but you have not been diagnosed with an illness yet, you have two years from the date of diagnosis. Those who are recovering compensation on behalf of a deceased victim also have two years from August 10, 2022 to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
It’s essential that you meet the statute of limitations for your case; otherwise, you will most likely lose the right to recover monetary damages. To get started on a claim, call us right away and schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.
Legal Representation for Camp Lejeune Injury Victims
Finally, those who were harmed by the toxic water supply at Camp Lejeune, as well as affected family members, will have their day in court. Unfortunately, the lawsuit process is undoubtedly complicated for cases against the federal government, especially when they go back so many years. The lawyers of DTLA have decades of experience in complex injury, wrongful death, and class action claims against public entities. We are confident in our ability to recover your damages from a Camp Lejeune water contamination injury claim.
One principle we’ve always stood by is the Zero fee guarantee, meaning you are not required to pay anything upfront to retain our services. In fact, you pay nothing at all until you receive your settlement, since we don’t paid unless you get paid. If we don’t win your case, we eat the costs and you won’t be responsible for any of our fees. To learn more about your rights and legal options from one of our attorneys, call us today and schedule a free case review.