What Claims Are Being Made?
Camp Lejeune, the US Marine Corps base established near Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1942, has been in the news lately based on potential toxin exposure to over a million military and civilian staff since 1953.
In 1982, the Marine Corps identified two of the eight water treatment plants on the base as being contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. The systems were shut down in early 1985, but the damage had already been done.
From August 1953 through the end of December 1987, people living or working in Camp Lejeune were exposed to this contaminated water, many on a daily basis.
What injuries are associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination?
With the chemicals identified in the water at Camp Lejeune, the US Department of Veterans Affairs has listed several diseases that they identify has having a presumptive connection to the contamination. A “presumptive” connection means that the VA presumes that the contamination caused one of the listed diseases.
These diseases include:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
In addition to these, military members and their families may also suffer from the following potentially compensable diseases:
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Lung cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal toxicity
H.R.3967 – Honoring Our PACT Act
The Honoring Our PACT Act protects veterans and their families by addressing health care, the presumptive connection to diseases, resources, and other items for military members, veterans and their families affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune and other potential toxic exposures.
Introduced by Rep. Mark Takano of California in June 2021, the bill was passed by the House and Senate in early to mid 2022, and President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, 2022.
Section 804 of the PACT Act specifically addresses the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, and provides for compensation of damages from the government for anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and later suffered an illness linked to the contamination. For that reason, the bill has been referred to as the “Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021”.
Who is covered by The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 covers individuals, including veterans and family members, who resided, worked, or were otherwise exposed (including exposure prior to birth) for not less than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, to water at Camp Lejeune.
What do I have to prove to be covered by The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 requires that the individual filing a claim has the burden of proving their disease or injury was caused by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.
Specifically, the law requires that the person produce evidence showing that the relationship between exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune and their harm is sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists or sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.
When do I have to file a claim under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 requires a claim to be filed within two years after the enactment of the Act. That means the two-year window to file claims runs from August 10th, 2022 to August 9, 2024.
Procedure for filing a claim under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 requires the claimant first to provide the federal government the opportunity to settle the lawsuit before it is filed. The process is like many other injury lawsuits against the U.S. government.
The Act says that a person may not file a lawsuit before complying with Section 2675 of Title 28, United States Code.
The Act does not specify a way to place the government on notice, but the government does provide a standard form that can be used for this purpose, found here.
For personal injury or wrongful death claims, you must demand a certain dollar figure. Asking for an approximate amount is not acceptable.
After completing the form, the claimant must send it, and all documentation to the Department of the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General directed to its “Tort Claims Unit Norfolk” located at 9620 Maryland Ave., Suite 205, Norfolk, VA 23511-2949. Due to the number of potential claims, the U.S. is requesting the forms be sent via email to CLclaims@us.navy.mil.
All claims are then thoroughly investigated. The more information you can provide your form, the faster the government can complete its investigation. By federal law, the government has to act on the claim six months from the date the claim is presented correctly. At that time, the claimant is notified if their claim will be settled or denied.
What If My Claim Is Denied?
If your claim is denied, the next step is filing a lawsuit. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 requires all cases to be filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
How is my lawyer paid from The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Typically, claims of this type are paid on a contingency basis – that means that we don’t get paid unless you win. Contingency fees are capped by the government at lower than standard rates, though. The government fee cap rule requires that your lawyer’s contingency be no more than twenty-five percent (25%) if a lawsuit is filed or twenty percent (20%) if your claim is administratively resolved.
Paynter Law Is Now Accepting Camp Lejeune claims
Paynter Law is now accepting Camp Lejeune claims to fight for justice for our military members and their families. Due to the amount of claims being filed, our firm is accepting claims on a limited basis and that meet certain criteria.
To request a free case evaluation, contact us today!