It's a confusing time for those injured by their exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Law firms across the country have flooded practically every website, television station, and radio station with advertisements instructing those injured to contact their firm to pursue compensation against the government.
You're being blanketed with ads because Congress recently passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 to assist the nearly 900,000 people exposed to contaminated water between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. This act allows those injured by exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against the United States government.
Unfortunately, none of the attorney ads answer common questions the victim might have, which is what I will do in this article. Now don't get me wrong, if you think you have a claim, I would certainly like you to call and talk to me, but first I think it's more important that whatever you decide to do, you understand what rights the Camp Lejeune Justice Act gives you.
I'll answer the following common questions that victims may have:
- What does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 do for victims?
- Who is eligible to file a lawsuit?
- What medical conditions resulted from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?
- What compensation is available to victims?
Question 1: Were You at Camp Lejeune Between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 provides the ability for those who spent 30 days or more at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987 to sue the government to recover compensation for any medical condition they may have developed as a result of that exposure.
Congress passed his law due to the discovery, in the early 1980s, that 2 of the base's 8 water wells were contaminated with:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- and other unsafe chemicals
For the purposes of the Act, any person, regardless of whether or not they were in the military or the purpose of their time at Camp Lejeune qualifies. This includes not only members of the armed services, but also military spouses, contractors, and children who were at Camp Lejeune during this time period.
Simply put, if you were at the base for more than 30 days during the time covered by the Act, you may have a claim against the government for a host of medical conditions that you may have developed as a result of exposure to toxins in the water.
Question 2: Have You Developed Cancer?
The toxins found in Camp Lejeune's drinking water are documented to increase cancer risk. The United State Government already recognizes a link between the chemicals found in Camp Lejeune's water and certain types of cancer.
Cancers of particular concern are:
- Bladder Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Cancer is one of the conditions that allows those who were at Camp Lejeune during the covered time period to initiate a claim against the government. It's important to note that this list is only of cancers that Veterans Administration already pays out benefits to treat in connection with Camp Lejeune. If you have a different type of cancer due to exposure to the contaminated drinking water, the act does not prevent you from bringing a claim.
Question 3: Do You Have Any of the Other Conditions Caused by Exposure to Camp Lejeune Water?
In addition to various cancers, the government also recognizes a connection between other medical conditions and exposure to the chemicals that were found in Camp Lejeune's drinking water. These include:
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal Toxicity
If you have developed any of these conditions after exposure at Camp Lejeune, you may be able to pursue a claim against the U.S. government.
Question 4: Is Your Condition Tied to Your Time at Camp Lejeune?
In addition to requiring that victims have a minimum of 30 days exposure, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act also requires that victims prove that either the exposure caused their medical condition or that it's more likely than not that exposure caused the malady. This raises the question, how do victims prove a link between their exposure and their condition?
The short answer is that a qualified doctor must make that determination. At my firm, we take care of finding the appropriate doctor at no up-front cost to victims.
Question 5: Will Obtaining Compensation Impact Benefits I'm Already Receiving?
At the current time, some of the people injured by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune already receive some assistance from the government. These benefits could be from the Veterans Administration, Medicare, or Medicaid. Pursuing a lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 does not impact these benefits.
Instead, the government may apply any benefits paid towards an award given by a jury. This simply means the government subtracts the costs it already incurred treating victims from any money the victim may receive.
It is my belief that in many instances the compensation available under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 will exceed the benefits that victims already receive. In the unlikely event that they do not, my firm only charges clients in the event that there is a recovery, which means that victims have nothing to lose by pursuing their case against the government.
Question 6: What Compensation Is Available to Victims?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 permits victims to pursue regular damages against the United States Government. This means that victims can obtain compensation for:
- Past and future medical treatment
- Lost income
- Emotional distress
- Lost of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Claims for punitive damages or damages designed to punish the government for its behavior are prohibited by the Act.
Putting it All Together
Perhaps the biggest source of confusion that many victims have comes from the attorney ads on the air. Many of these ads promise compensation to victims if they just call the attorney. This may leave some people to believe that the government set up a compensation fund that merely pays victims for filling out a few forms.
This is absolutely not the case. In order to obtain compensation, victims must pursue and win a lawsuit against the government. The money budgeted by Congress in the "compensation fund" is not something someone applies for. It's money set aside because the government fully expects to lose many of these lawsuits.
If you've developed a medical condition because you were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have. You can reach me at (855) 916-4624. If during the course of that conversation, we agree that you have a case that you wish to pursue, then the attorneys at my firm and I will use our experience and resources in these matters to fully develop your case and hold the government accountable for its wrongdoing.