Military veterans and their family members who were stationed at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 are reported to have been exposed to deadly water contaminants found in the water supplied to the camp from a neighboring well. Many of these veterans and their family members ended up developing deadly diseases associated with the contamination.
Close to one million sailors, Marines, civilian employees, and their family members who lived in the camp during the reported Camp Lejeune contamination date drank, cooked, and bathed with the contaminated water unknowingly. Unfortunately, most of these victims have already died or became severely ill. For many years, those victims couldn’t file a lawsuit against Veteran Affairs (VA) because the law didn’t support their claims.
Fortunately, the legal environment has changed and a new law named “The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022” is expected to come into place soon, allowing the victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination to file lawsuits and recover damages. Currently, this bill is being considered by the U.S. Senate after it lacked enough support from members on July, 27th 2022 when it was brought to a vote.
In June, the bill had received bipartisan support in the Senate, garnering eighty-four votes from across the divide–but the House of Representatives amended it, forcing a second vote in the Senate. After the second vote, twenty-eight senators who had previously voted for the bill rejected it, causing it to fall short of the sixty votes required for it to pass. Most of the senators who reversed their decision cited budgetary problems introduced through the amendments, claiming that they’ve greatly increased spending on other domestic programs unrelated to the health care issues that veterans are experiencing.
Despite this setback, the victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination can still file a lawsuit against the VA and recover damages. If you’re a victim of this tragedy, you should find a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer, such as those at Strom Law, to help you file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Of course, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Camp Lejeune water contamination eligibility–only victims who lived in the camp for at least thirty days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987 are eligible for compensation.
How to File a Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
First, you need to find a good personal injury attorney to represent you. The chance of filing a successful claim is higher when you’re working with an experienced attorney who has handled similar lawsuits before, because they understand all possible hurdles you’re likely to encounter during the proceedings. Because of this, they’ll help you avoid these issues by filing a watertight claim.
Your attorney will also let you know if you’re eligible for compensation. You’re only eligible to file a claim if you or your loved one lived in the camp within the given time period; you must also show that you have suffered harm after being exposed to the contaminated water. You must have evidence showing that you’ve been diagnosed with one or several of these conditions:
- Liver cancer
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
You must also have left the service honorably to qualify. The process of filing a lawsuit is different from filing a claim against the VA–currently, veterans who have already gone to the VA for benefits can’t file a lawsuit against the VA, but under the new law, even veterans who have already received benefits from the VA will be eligible to file claims for Camp Lejeune water contamination.
To file the claim, your attorney will draft a complaint, documenting the details of the harm you suffered during your stay in the camp, how it has affected your life, and why you blame the contaminated water for the harm. They’ll then file the complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to mark the official start of the lawsuit.