The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, signed by President Biden in August 2022 as part of the Honoring Our PACT Act, gives victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune the right to seek compensation from the federal government for the harm they've suffered. It does not affect a Veteran's right to VA disability benefits but may open up an additional avenue for compensation for the harm caused by exposure to contaminated drinking water.
What Is the Significance of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act applies to anyone who lived, served, or worked at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 for longer than 30 days. This includes Veterans and civilian employees, as well as their spouses and children. Those who suffered birth defects related to in-utero exposure to contaminated drinking water are also eligible for compensation.
If an eligible person passed away as a result of health problems related to water contamination, their family members can seek compensation on their behalf. The personal representative of the decedent's estate must be the one to file the wrongful death claim. However, settlement proceeds from the claim will be disbursed among the heirs.
The law allows affected individuals to file civil lawsuits against the federal government and precludes the government from asserting the immunity that otherwise would be available in response to litigation. It also overrides the statute of repose under North Carolina law that would normally preclude the filing of tort claims after 10 years. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina is the exclusive venue for actions related to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The United States Navy reported that over 5,000 water contamination claims were filed in the first month after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed. Many believe this will become one of the largest mass litigations in U.S. history.
How Are Camp Lejeune Toxic Exposure Lawsuits Related to VA Disability Claims?
Because Camp Lejeune toxic exposure lawsuits are civil claims, they are not part of the VA disability benefits process. A Veteran who is suffering from Parkinson's disease, adult leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or another illness linked to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can receive VA disability benefits in addition to any compensation that is available as part of a toxic exposure lawsuit.
A VA disability claim provides access to monthly cash compensation based on your disability rating. Your disability rating is determined based on the severity of your condition and expressed as a percentage from 0% to 100%.
A Camp Lejeune toxic exposure lawsuit can provide one-time compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and associated out-of-pocket costs related to the health effects of contaminated drinking water. It is difficult to predict how large of a settlement any one individual will receive, however. There is a cap on the funds the government will be distributing for eligible Camp Lejeune toxic exposure claims.
What Steps Should You Take to Protect Your Right to Compensation?
The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, has been advocating for military Veterans for more than 20 years. Our firm can assist you in filing for VA disability benefits in addition to handling your Camp Lejeune toxic exposure lawsuit.
Hiring a Veterans benefits lawyer to handle your toxic exposure lawsuit is preferable to working with a personal injury attorney because affected Veterans must first file an administrative claim with the government. To maximize your compensation, you want to work with a Veterans benefits lawyer who understands how to file a winning administrative claim and calculate damages to last the rest of your life.
The Navy has a form on its website that it is asking water contamination victims to complete. However, you should not submit this form without first speaking to an experienced VA benefits attorney. Call (877) 629-1712 or use our online contact form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your Camp Lejeune claim.