A Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Claim allows exposed veterans, family members, and civilian employees to finally seek compensation for serious illnesses suffered from toxic water exposure. Passed as part of the Honoring Our PACT Act and signed into law by President Biden, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has opened a 2-year window for eligible individuals to file lawsuits against the federal government if they suffered harm connected to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
If you are entitled to financial compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, you will need to file your claim correctly to recover the compensation you deserve. If the government denies your claim, you might not get a second chance.
So how do you file a Camp Lejeune toxic water claim? Here’s what you need to know:
5 Steps to Recover Compensation for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Military veterans, civilian employees, and family members who are entitled to financial compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act must take several steps to assert their legal rights. While the new law allows these individuals to recover damages from the federal government, filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim is separate from filing a claim for VA disability or other government benefits.
Here, there are special procedures claimants must follow. Understanding the process is important, as mistakes along the way could lead to a denial of compensation.
With this in mind, the steps involved in filing a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination include:
1. Confirm Your Eligibility
The first step when seeking financial compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is to confirm your eligibility. There are three main eligibility requirements under the law:
- Exposure – To be eligible for compensation, claimants must have been exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- Harm – Claimants must have suffered a health condition linked to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Camp Lejeune’s water during the time period above. Conditions linked to these VOCs include Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver and kidney issues, congenital cardiac defects, and multiple other forms of cancer.
- Causation – The law requires claimants to present evidence that is “sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists” or “sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.” In other words, simply being exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water isn’t enough. Claimants must also be able to show that their exposure caused (or at least could have caused) their harm.
If you satisfy all three of these requirements and properly file your claim in time, you should be able to recover compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
2. Gather All Necessary Documentation
Individuals seeking compensation via a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination will need documentation of their eligibility. This includes documentation of their time at Camp Lejeune, as well as documentation of an illness associated with the contaminated water.
Along with documentation of eligibility, claimants will also need documentation suggesting how much they are entitled to recover. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act entitles eligible claimants to “appropriate relief for harm that was caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.” While it is not yet clear what exactly “appropriate relief” will amount to, claimants should be prepared to prove their right to recovery of:
- Medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Other economic and non-economic losses
- Wrongful death damages
Generally speaking, the more documentation you have, the better. If you aren’t sure what records you need to prove your rights under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a knowledgeable lawyer can help.
3. Hire a Lawyer to Prepare Your Claim
Due to the challenges and time constraints involved in filing a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination, we recommend that all claimants hire a North Carolina lawyer to represent them. Our firm is representing veterans, contractors, and family members in Camp Lejeune water contamination cases at no cost unless we secure compensation for you or your family members.
4. Go Through the Administrative Process
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, claimants are required to exhaust their administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit. We anticipate that most successful claims will be resolved through this administrative process, although time will tell how serious the Department of Navy is about settling claims at this stage.
5. Take Your Claim to Court in North Carolina If Necessary
If you do not receive a fair offer through the administrative process, your attorney will need to file a lawsuit and take your claim to trial. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act states that all lawsuits must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This federal court is located in downtown Raleigh, just a short drive from our firm’s offices.
Filing a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Claim
Over the course of more than 30 years, people who were stationed, worked, and/or lived at Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxic water. This has resulted in a generational wave of serious illnesses, many of them fatal.
Tragically, the individuals affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune have had little in the way of legal recourse. Some individuals who got sick did not live to see this new path to justice.
If you or a member of your family previously worked and/or lived at Camp Lejeune and you became sick or lost a loved one, the Whitley Law Firm is ready to help. Our lawyers have been closely watching the developments that led to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, and we are ready to fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.
Please call (919) 785-5000 today for a FREE case review. Our attorneys have offices in Raleigh, Kinston, and New Bern, North Carolina, and we are handling claims for Camp Lejeune water contamination from clients nationwide.