How long did I need to be at Camp Lejeune to File a Lawsuit?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed by the U.S. Senate on August 2, 2022. This legislation is part of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, or PACT Act, which was signed into law by President Biden on August 10, 2022. Under the PACT Act, victims who were injured, developed a serious medical condition, or died due to their exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune military base can file a lawsuit against the U.S. government. The damages that can be recovered include medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, cost of mental health counseling, and pain and suffering.
While this is exciting news for countless Camp Lejeune victims and their loved ones, many people have questions regarding their right to file an injury claim. This is understandable, as the PACT Act has specific rules and limits for who can seek damages and the process they will need to go through. In this article, we will focus on the duration of time you must have been at Camp Lejeune to qualify for a lawsuit. Additionally, we will cover related topics such as:
- If I worked at or visited Camp Lejeune but I didn’t live there, can I file a claim against the U.S. government?
- What steps do I need to take if I am eligible for a Camp Lejeune compensation claim?
- What is the average value for one of these cases?
- How long will it take to get paid on a Camp Lejeune injury claim?
We know that you are likely to have questions that are specific to your own circumstances. Our lawyers are here to advise you, so don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can inform you of your legal options and help you recover the funds you and your family are entitled to.
History of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune Military Base
For over 30 years, the water supply at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, NC contained high levels of dangerous chemicals that were released from several sources. Leaking fuel tanks on the base, improper disposing of industrial waste, and a dry cleaner leaking toxins into the well water were the main sources of contamination. As a result, residents, workers, and visitors at Camp Lejeune were harmed by the effects of toxic chemicals such as tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, benzene, and vinyl chloride.
These chemicals caused a variety of health complications for the victims, including death. Below is a list of the illnesses that are associated with contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs:
- 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
Were you at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 and suffered from / are currently suffering from one of these illnesses? Did you have a family member that passed away due to a health condition associated with their time at Camp Lejeune? If so, contact us right away to learn about your rights under the terms of the PACT Act.
How long do I need to be Living at Camp Lejeune to be able to participate in the Claims Process?
The required amount of time spent at Camp Lejeune to participate in the claims process is at least 30 days. Additionally, you must have been at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination, which was from August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987. Finally, you must not have been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military, as these individuals are unlikely to qualify for a claim.
If you were a military member, contractor, employee, or civilian who meets these qualifications, you may be able to sue the federal government for monetary compensation. One of our attorneys can advise you of your rights and file an injury claim for your economic and emotional damages.
What if I was a Visitor at Camp Lejeune and not a resident? Can I File a Claim?
Yes, you can file a claim even if you were not living at Camp Lejeune military base during the contamination period. 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. If you’re uncertain of your right to claim monetary damages, please take some time to speak with one of our attorneys. We can verify your eligibility and take immediate action to recover your payment.
Can I Pursue a Case if my Family Member has Died?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit if your family member died from health complications due to their exposure to contaminants in the water at Camp Lejeune. Your family member must have lived at, worked at, or visited Camp Lejeune military base for at least 30 days during the period of August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. They must have died from one of the health conditions identified by the VA, and they must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
The laws governing claims for surviving family members are complicated with these cases, and it’s in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney. Our lawyers are standing by to assist you, so please contact us as soon as possible.
How can I File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Before you can sue the federal government for the harm you suffered at Camp Lejeune, you will need to submit a claim to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Navy (JAG). Within 6 months, the agency will approve your request for damages and offer you a settlement. Or, they will deny your claim, which will allow you to proceed with a lawsuit. You can also file a lawsuit if it’s been 6 months and the agency has not responded to your claim for compensation.
Unlike the average personal injury case, all Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits must be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. There are many rules governing the filing process for these cases, which is why you should work with a law firm that’s experienced in civil lawsuits against a federal agency. The lawyers of DTLA have the skill and knowledge you need to succeed in a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Camp Lejeune Case?
Eligible claimants have two years from the date the PACT Act was signed in order to pursue a claim for compensation. That means those who are have been diagnosed with an illness such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, female infertility, etc., due to their stay at Camp Lejeune have a two-year window starting from August 10, 2022. But what if you were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during 1953 to 1987, but you have not been diagnosed with an illness yet? In that case, you have two years to file a claim starting from the date when you are officially diagnosed. If you are requesting damages on behalf of a deceased family member, you have two years from the date of signing (August 10, 2022) to file a lawsuit.
What is the Value of my Camp Lejeune Case?
In order to provide an approximate value for you case, we would need to get a sense of all the financial and emotional losses you have suffered from being exposed to toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune. However, it’s clear that there will be great variations in what victims will receive. Settlements on the lower end may be anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000, while higher settlements can easily exceed $1 million.
Higher case values are expected for claimants with severe health conditions like liver cancer, kidney cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. We also expect high settlements for wrongful death claims, since you are factoring in the totality of a family’s losses due to the victim’s premature death. It’s quite possible that these settlements will be in the range of $250,000 to $1 million or more.
How long does it take to Settle a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Case?
It’s estimated that over 1 million people were exposed to dangerous chemicals in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. That means the U.S. government may be dealing with hundreds of thousands of claims in the upcoming months. With that in mind, it’s likely that they will want to settled these cases as quickly as possible.
It’s always our goal here at DTLA to bring you your payment in the shortest amount of time. We anticipate that the majority of Camp Lejeune cases will be settled within 6 to 8 months of filing a claim. However, your case timeline is affected by many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the damages you are seeking, and the federal agency’s willingness to negotiate a fair settlement. As a result, some cases may take 2 or more years to settle.
Our Zero Fee Guarantee
At DTLA Law Group, we know the dilemma that many injury victims and their families face when they’re seeking justice for the harm they’ve suffered. They know that an experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney is critical to ensuring a successful outcome in their case. However, the cost of legal representation is not something most people can afford.
That’s why we are proud to offer the Zero fee guarantee, which makes all our services free to our clients. There is nothing for you to pay in order to hire one of our attorneys. All our fees are deferred until we recover your Camp Lejeune settlement, as our law firm works on contingency. In fact, the only way we get paid is if you get paid, so if we don’t win your case, you won’t be responsible for any of our expenses.
In short, there is no risk to you by giving us a call and finding out your rights as a Camp Lejeune water contamination victim. Contact our office and schedule a free case evaluation.