When will the Camp Lejeune lawsuit be settled? Many folks that have been affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have been wondering when this lawsuit will be settled and when their claims will be resolved. In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into various aspects of this complex legal battle, providing crucial information for those seeking justice for their injuries or lost loved ones.
We'll explore the background of the contamination issue at Camp Lejeune and its associated health risks. We'll also discuss recent federal legislation that supports victims' rights to pursue civil lawsuits against the U.S. government.
Additionally, we'll talk about the administrative claim process in detail, as well as what the folks evaluating these claims will be looking for.
By understanding each aspect related to your question: "When will the Camp Lejeune lawsuit be settled?," you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions regarding your legal options and potential compensation.
The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Background
For decades, thousands of veterans and their families have been affected by the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the base's water was contaminated with several chemicals linked to various cancers and chronic diseases, making it a serious health hazard for those living or working on base during this time.
Contaminated Water Sources at Camp Lejeune
The groundwater supplies were contaminated with industrial solvents from leaking tanks and waste disposal sites, leading to a heightened mortality risk for those living or working on base. Some of the most dangerous contaminants found in Camp Lejeune's drinking water were trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), both known carcinogens.
Health Risks Associated with Exposure
Veterans who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during these years face an increased risk of developing serious health problems such as leukemia, kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, Parkinson's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, scleroderma, and other conditions. Additionally, family members who resided on base may also be at risk for adverse health effects due to exposure to contaminated water.
In response to growing concerns about the long-term consequences of exposure to toxic substances at military installations like Camp Lejeune, Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 as part of the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, which grants victims access to healthcare benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the right to file civil lawsuits against the U.S. government for compensation. Tens of thousands of veterans and their families are now pursuing justice through legal action in the wake of Congress passing legislation granting them access to healthcare benefits and compensation rights.
For those affected by Camp Lejeune's contaminated water, understanding the background of this complex lawsuit is crucial in determining potential avenues for financial recovery and medical support. In addition, it highlights the importance of selecting a lawyer with knowledge in environmental law and toxic torts to help navigate these challenging cases.
At Spetsas Buist PLLC, we have a team of experienced lawyers who handle Camp Lejeune lawsuits, and one of our lawyers, Charles Buist, is licensed to practice law in the Eastern District of North Carolina, which is the venue for Camp Lejeune claims. Thus, unlike some law firms out there, we can handle a Camp Lejeune case without pulling in local counsel in North Carolina. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the legal complexities involved in these cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Federal Legislation Supporting Victims' Rights
In recent years, Congress has taken significant steps to address the plight of Camp Lejeune victims by passing new federal laws that grant them the right to file civil lawsuits against the U.S. government for compensation. The Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 is an example of one such legislation that has provided a legal avenue for those affected by toxic water contamination at the Marine Corps Base. However, more recently, Congress passed the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, which included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 at Title VIII, Section 804 of the Honoring our PACT Act, and this gave veterans and their families the right to seek compensation for injuries suffered as a result of exposure to the contaminants found in the water at Camp Lejeune.
Although the Act provides folks with an avenue for recovery, potential settlements in these cases could range greatly between claimants, depending on individual circumstances such as the severity of illness and duration of exposure. Overall, this financial relief can be crucial in helping victims cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages incurred due to their health issues caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
New Laws Allowing Civil Lawsuits Against U.S. Government
The passage of the Honoring our PACT Act marked a turning point in recognizing the rights of veterans and their families who have suffered from illnesses linked to toxic exposure while stationed at Camp Lejeune. Prior to this legislation, sovereign immunity often protected the government from being held accountable for negligence or wrongdoing related to environmental hazards on military bases.
Now, with these legal provisions in place, thousands of former service members are able to seek justice through filing claims and pursuing civil litigation against responsible parties within the U.S. government.
Building a Successful Claim or Lawsuit
To pursue a successful claim or lawsuit related to injuries sustained due to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune, individuals must provide documentation proving time spent at Camp Lejeune or a relationship with an affected person who served at Camp Lejeune or was employed at Camp Lejeune during the time of contamination, as well as other evidence supporting elements needed for success in court. In this section, we will discuss the necessary documentation requirements and key elements required for successful litigation.
Necessary Documentation Requirements
- Military service records: Proof that you are an affected service member or proof of your connection to an affected service member is crucial. Thus, folks should seek to obtain copies of military service records that show they were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the relevant period.
- Employment records: Proof of your connection to Camp Lejeune for work is critical to showing that you were at Camp Lejeune during the relevant period if you were not serving in the Armed Forces.
- Medical records: Gather all medical documents relating to your illness or injury, including diagnosis, treatment plans, and any correspondence between healthcare providers discussing potential links between your condition and exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune.
- Evidence of residence on base: Provide proof that you lived on base during the time when water contamination occurred. This can include housing assignments, utility bills, or other official documents showing residency within Camp Lejeune's boundaries.
Key Elements Required for Successful Litigation
Piggybacking on the Section above, let's talk about the critical factors necessary for a successful resolution of a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim:
- Standing: You must establish that you have standing to bring a claim. Here, you may need things like birth certificates, military records, employment records, and other documentation that shows you or your loved one spent time at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
- Causation: This element is all about cause and effect. In other words, you must establish a link between exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and specific health problems suffered by you or an affected family member. Here, we're talking about medical records, diagnostic materials, and expert opinions.
- Damages: Here, we're talking about coming up with a value of a claim by providing evidence demonstrating how these health issues have negatively impacted both physical well-being and financial stability, including medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
To maximize your chances of success, seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer with knowledge in environmental law and toxic torts.
The Administrative Claim Process
Prior to being taken up in court, all claims must pass through a mandatory administrative claims process for assessment and review. This mandatory waiting period allows time for proper evaluation and review of each case by relevant authorities. The JAG Office has recently provided us with some information about how this process will be moved along. And, from what we can see, a big part of this process will be substantiation requests. So, let's talk some time to talk about these substantiation requests.
The substantiation requests will be a lot like the discovery phase of a lawsuit, where the other side asks for information and documents. The substantiation request will likely involve establishing three main things: (1) standing, (2) causation, and (3) damages. So, let's talk about each of these in turn.
Standing essentially means that you have a right to bring a claim. It's the part of the process where the claimant or litigant shows that they have the right to have a claim adjudicated or to have a court rule upon the merits of the particular claims for which the person is seeking judicial relief. Here, they’re looking for things like birth certificates, military records (service members), employment records (those who were exposed to the contaminants while working at Camp Lejeune), and death certificates for claims based on wrongful death.
Now that we’ve talked about standing, let’s go over causation. Here, we're talking about cause and effect. This is where we’re establishing the link between the condition or illness suffered and the contaminants found in the water at Camp Lejeune. Evidence that could satisfy this element will likely involve things like medical records and medical expert opinions. Here, they’re trying to confirm that a person is suffering from a condition and that the condition they’re suffering from is a result of exposure to the contaminants found in the water at Camp Lejeune.
After standing and causation have been established, now we need to talk about damages. "Damages" is another way of saying losses suffered as a result of the condition. Here, we'll be looking at things like medical bills, lost wages, and noneconomic losses like pain and suffering to try and come up with a value or an amount of money that a claim is worth.
In addition to the standing, causation, and damages, another critical component of a Camp Lejeune claim will be the benefits a person has already received for the condition that person is filing a claim for. Here, we're looking at Federal benefits already received. That's because, the way the law is written, an award made under the Honoring Our PACT Act will be offset by any Federal benefits received from the VA, medicare, or medicaid. Thus, the folks evaluating these claims will be coming up with a value of the Federal benefits already received will help determine the proper offset amount.
FAQs in Relation to When Will the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Be Settled?
What is the timeline for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
The timeline for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit varies depending on individual cases and factors such as claim complexity, documentation requirements, and legal proceedings. There is no definitive end date for all lawsuits related to this issue. However, victims must file an administrative claim to get the process started.
How much will each person get from the Camp Lejeune settlement?
Settlement amounts in the Camp Lejeune case depend on various factors like severity of injuries or illnesses, medical expenses incurred, lost wages, pain and suffering experienced by victims. As a result, there is no fixed amount that every claimant will receive; it differs based on individual circumstances.
How far back does the Camp Lejeune lawsuit go?
The Camp Lejeune lawsuit covers individuals who were exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base (MCB) between August 1st 1957 and December 31st 1987.
How much money was set aside for the Camp Lejeune settlement?
It's estimated that over $6 billion will be paid out as a result of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits.
What are the attorney fees for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit?
The attorney fees for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit will depend on the firm you're working with. We’ve been up front since we started taking on Camp Lejeune cases that we’re willing to take presumptive condition claims for a contingency fee of 20% pre-suit and 25% if the case proceeds to litigation, plus the case costs and costs of litigation, provided that we have enough capacity to take on another case.
What if you can't take my case?
If we don’t have the time to give you the attention and care that we feel our clients deserve or if we don't feel like we're the best firm to help you, we can likely refer you to someone that will review your claim and, if they can take it, do it for the same deal: 20% / 25% plus costs. However, we can't guarantee that we can get a firm to take your case for that fee. Either way, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’re in this business to help folks, and we'll do everything we can to help you.
Contact Us for Your FREE Legal Consultation with a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney
At our law firm, lawyers do the consultations, not intake specialists or customer service representatives. Also, our legal consultations for all cases, including the Camp Lejeune lawsuits, are free. All you have to do is contact us on our website or call us at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free consultation with a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney.
Once you schedule your consultation, Mr. Buist or Mr. Spetsas will call you at the number you provide and at the time you select. We look forward to talking with you and helping you with your claim.
DISCLAIMER: Fee agreements include a percentage fee to the law firm, as well as any case costs. The percentage fee to the firm is often referred to as "attorney fees" or the "attorney's fee." Case costs, on the other hand, include things like the costs associated with filing a lawsuit, hiring experts, mailing, printing, retrieving documents, and any other costs associated with filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.