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When Did The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Start?

Quick Answer

The Camp Lejeune lawsuit began with the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in 2022, allowing individuals who lived or worked at the military base between 1953 and 1987 to seek compensation for health issues caused by contaminated water. Eligible individuals must have been diagnosed with specific injuries or conditions, such as cancer or neurological disorders. The process for filing a claim involves providing supporting documents and can be done online, by mail, or with the assistance of a trained professional.

Introduction

Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, became the center of attention due to its water contamination issue. From the 1950s to the 1980s, individuals living or working at Camp Lejeune were potentially exposed to contaminated drinking water containing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and benzene.

The discovery of this contamination led to numerous lawsuits seeking justice for those affected by exposure. As many as one million military personnel and civilian staff members, along with their families who resided on base during that time period may have been put at risk.

Exposure to these toxic chemicals has resulted in serious health consequences for many victims. The potential side effects include various types of cancer such as kidney cancer, bladder cancer, liver cancer; blood disorders like leukemia; neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease; birth defects; reproductive issues like infertility and miscarriage among others.

To address these concerns and provide relief for those impacted by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, the Honoring our Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxics Act was passed into law. This act is also known as “the Camp LeJeune Justice Act” which allows Veterans, survivors, and family members who lived between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987 to file claims against government agencies responsible for harm caused by exposure to contaminated water at the camp. The PACT Act does not affect VA benefits related to Camp Lejeune, but it expands VA healthcare and benefits for Veterans who were served in burn pits and other toxic substances.

Those eligible can apply for compensation if they meet certain criteria set forth under this legislation. To qualify, victims must have been diagnosed with specific injuries after being exposed while residing or working at Camp Lejeune. These injuries include Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, various types of leukemia, liver cancer, and bladder cancer among others.

Alternatively, victims may also be eligible if they have been diagnosed with any other injury or serious medical condition not listed above. The law does not require legal representation for this matter and individuals can file claims on their own behalf.

It is important to note that the process for seeking compensation involves providing supporting documents such as military records showing service at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River (Marine Corps Air Station), and medical records confirming the disease or injury diagnosis. Those who meet these criteria are encouraged to apply for compensation through various channels including online, in person, by mail, or through trained professionals who are familiar with the process.

The lawsuits surrounding the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune aim to provide justice and financial relief for those affected by exposure. The potential health consequences resulting from contaminated drinking water highlight the urgency in addressing this issue promptly. To ensure fairness, the eligibility criteria set forth under the Camp LeJeune water contamination lawsuits must be met by those seeking compensation. This will help provide assistance and restitution for those that have endured serious health consequences as a result of their time at Camp Lejeune.

The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit and Eligibility for Compensation

The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue has led to numerous lawsuits seeking compensation for the individuals who were exposed to the contaminated drinking water. One significant development in these legal proceedings is the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, also known as the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

This act allows Veterans, survivors, and families who lived at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987,to file claims for appropriate relief due to harm caused by exposure to contaminated water. It expands VA health care and benefits specifically for Veterans exposed not only at Camp LeJeun but also those exposed burn pits or other toxic substances.

Eligibility for Compensation

To be eligible for disability compensation payments on a presumptive basis under this act,Veterans must have served at least30 daysatCampLeJeuneduringtheperiodmentionedaboveandhaveadiagnosisofoneormoreofthefollowingconditions:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • All types of leukemias including myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Kidney Disease (end-stage renal disease)
  • Scleroderma/systemic sclerosis
  • Birth defects related with heart/cardiac system
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Lung Cancer (if non-smoker)
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Steatosis)
  • Inability to conceive (Female infertility)
  • Cognitive/Neurobehavioral effects
  • Birth defects other than heart-related ones (e.g., eye defects, oral clefts, neural tube defects, etc.)
  • Female breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Rectal/Colorectal Cancer
  • Brain Tumor/Cancer
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Sarcoma (Soft Tissue Cancers)
  • Aplastic anemia

Alternatively, if a Veteran has been diagnosed with any other injury or serious medical condition not listed above after exposure at Camp Lejeune, they may still be eligible for compensation.

Filing a Claim for Compensation

To apply for compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, Veterans must provide supporting documents such as military records showing their service at Camp LeJeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River and medical records confirming the diagnosis of one of the covered conditions.

VA Benefits and Health Care for Camp Lejeune Exposures

In addition to disability compensation, Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria can also enroll in VA health care services. The expanded benefits cover various health conditions related to exposure at Camp Lejeune. These include bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, Hepatic Steatosis, kidney cancers (renal toxicity), leukemias, lung cancers, miscarriage, Multiple Myeloma (myelodysplastic syndromes), neurobehavioral effects, NHL (non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas), scleroderma/systemic sclerosis, and more. If individuals have other healthcare needs that are not on this list, the copay requirement might apply.

Family Members and Eligibility for Benefits

Family members who lived at Camp LeJeune during the qualifying period may also be eligible for benefits related to certain conditions if they meet specific requirements. They must be or have been a family member of a Veteran who served at Camp LeJeune or MCAS New River, lived at Camp LeJeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and apply for and be approved for benefits under current law.

To apply as a family member, Veterans must fill out the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Application and provide evidence such as documents proving their relationship to the Veteran, living at Camp LeJeune or MCAS New River during the qualifying period, and medical records showing the diagnosis of a covered health condition.

Seeking Relief under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides an avenue for individuals who lived or worked at Camp LeJeune during the specified timeframe or whose mothers were exposed while pregnant with them to seek relief through administrative claims filed with the Department of Navy. If these claims are denied or take longer than 6 months, the affected individuals can file lawsuits in Eastern District Court North Carolina. A settlement or award under this act does not affect VA disability payments or eligibility for VA health care services. However, in cases where individuals already receive benefits related to exposure at Camp LeJeune, a court award may be offset by any related disability payment provided by the VA. If someone chooses the elective option claim process, this offset does not apply.

Working with Veterans Service Officers and Reporting Fraud

It is important to note that it isn’t necessary to hire a lawyer or to file lawsuits to receive VA benefits related to Camp LeJeune. Individuals can work with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who has experience in filing claims to help them through this process. The VA does not have any connection to commercials or law firms claiming to help individuals get Camp LeJeune benefits. The VA creates public service announcements about VA benefits that are available free of charge. It will never try to sell a product or any service or ask for payment from veterans seeking assistance. To report suspected fraud regarding Camp LeJeune benefits, individuals can contact the VA by phone or email.

Filing a Claim for Compensation

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with any of the qualifying injuries after exposure at Camp Lejeune, it is important to know how to file a claim for compensation. There are several methods available for filing a claim, including online, mail, in person, or with the help of a trained professional.

Online Filing

To begin the process online, visit the official website dedicated to assisting individuals affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The website provides detailed instructions on how to complete and submit an application electronically. Make sure that when filling out the form online you clearly state which presumptive condition(s) apply based on your diagnosis.

Mail Filing

Alternatively, if you prefer traditional methods of communication or do not have access to reliable internet service, you can also file your claim through mail by sending all necessary documents and forms directly via postal services. The mailing address will be provided on their official website along with specific guidelines regarding what information needs to be included in order to ensure proper processing.

In-Person Filing

For those who would rather handle this matter face-to-face, you may choose the in-person submission option. You should contact relevant authorities such as VA offices near where they reside to inquire about appointment availability prior to visiting them. It’s always recommended to contact these agencies beforehand so that there won’t be unnecessary delays due to unavailability during busy periods.

When filing a claim, it is crucially important to provide supporting documentation alongside completed applications. This includes military records showing proof of service at either Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, and medical records confirming the diagnosis of one or more presumptive conditions related to Camp Lejeune water contamination. These documentations play a vital role in establishing eligibility and strengthening your case for compensation. Therefore, gather all relevant documents beforehand to be prepared when filing a claim.

Family members who lived at Camp Lejeune may also file claims if they meet certain requirements. If you are a family member of a Veteran who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, lived there for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you may be eligible for compensation as well. To file a claim as a family member, it is necessary to fill out the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Application and provide supporting evidence such as documents proving your relationship to the Veteran and documents proving your residence at the base. Additionally, a medical record showing the diagnosis of a covered health condition is required to support your claim.

By following these steps and providing all required documentation, you can initiate the process of filing a claim for compensation related to Camp Lejeune water contamination. Whether filing online, making use of mail services, or opting for in-person submission, the goal remains the same: seeking justice and receiving appropriate relief for those affected by this unfortunate incident.

VA Benefits and Health Care for Camp Lejeune Exposures

Individuals who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may be eligible for certain benefits and health care services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA recognizes that those affected by the water contamination deserve support, and they have established programs to provide assistance. Here is an overview of the available benefits:

1. Covered Health Conditions:

The VA has identified specific health conditions related to exposure at Camp Lejeune that are covered under their program. These include bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease), kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, neurobehavioral effects, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal toxicity, and scleroderma.

2. Copay Requirement:

It is important to note that while many health conditions related to Camp Lejeune exposures are covered without copays or cost-sharing requirements, individuals with other healthcare needs not on this list may require them to pay a copay fee.

3. Eligibility Requirements for Family Members:

Family members who lived at Camp Lejeune during the qualifying period may also be eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to exposure if they meet specific criteria set forth by law. To apply as a family member, you must fill out a “Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Application” form, which can be found online on the official website. The application should be accompanied by documents proving your relationship to the veteran, documents showing proof of residence between August 1953 and December 1987, and medical records supporting the diagnosis.

These benefits aim to assist both veterans and their families in receiving necessary medical care associated with exposure-related illnesses from living or working on base during these years. If you believe you qualify based upon the above-mentioned eligibility requirements, it would be advisable to contact your primary care provider and file a claim with the VA. The VA reviews disability compensation claims on a case-by-case basis, so it is important to provide all necessary documentation when applying.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken steps to ensure that those affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination receive appropriate support and medical care. It’s essential for eligible individuals or their family members to explore these benefits as they may help alleviate some financial burdens associated with treatment expenses related to exposure at Camp Lejeune.

Seeking Relief under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act

If you or a loved one were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and have suffered health consequences as a result, seeking relief under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 may be an option for you. This act allows individuals who lived, worked, or were otherwise exposed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987 to file for appropriate relief.

Filing an Administrative Claim

The first step in seeking relief is filing an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy. This claim should outline your exposure history and provide supporting documents such as military records showing service at Camp Lejeune or medical records demonstrating diagnosis of a covered condition related to exposure. It’s important to note that this process can take time – if your claim is denied or takes longer than six months without resolution, you do have another option available.

Filing a Lawsuit

In cases where claims are denied by the Department of Defense (DoD) or exceed six months without resolution, the next course of action would be filing a lawsuit in Eastern District Court North Carolina. This legal route provides individuals with recourse if their initial administrative claims are not successful within reasonable timeframes. It’s essential to consult with experienced attorneys specializing in these types of lawsuits before proceeding down this path. Their expertise will help navigate through complex legal processes while ensuring all necessary documentation has been gathered properly.

Impact on VA Benefits

It’s worth noting that receiving settlement awards from the Camp Lejeune Justice Act does not affect VA disability payments or eligibility for VA healthcare. If you are already receiving benefits related to your time at Camp Lejeune, i.e., disability compensation or medical care, a court award under this act may result in offsetting those benefits. However, it’s exceptional that if individuals choose elective option claim process, this offset does not apply. In other words, receiving settlement awards from the court does not impact your current VA benefits.

It is important to understand that seeking relief under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act may be a complex and lengthy process. It’s recommended to consult with legal professionals who specialize in these types of cases, as they can provide guidance on navigating through the administrative claim or lawsuit filing processes. They will also ensure that all necessary documentation has been gathered properly for your case.

Remember, if you already receive VA benefits related to exposure at Camp Lejeune, it’s crucial to consider consulting with accredited agents such as Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) or other outside groups familiar with the benefit process before pursuing a lawsuit. This will help determine if you are eligible for medical care and other benefits through the VA without going through the court system. The VA does not have any connection to commercials or law firms claiming to help individuals get Camp Lejeune benefits, and they encourage you to report any suspected fraudulent activity directly to them by phone or email.

Working with Veterans Service Officers and Reporting Fraud

If you are a veteran or family member seeking assistance in filing a claim for VA benefits related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination, working with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) can be beneficial. VSOs are trained professionals who provide free guidance and support throughout the claims process.

These officers have extensive knowledge of VA programs and services, including those specifically designed for individuals affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination. They can help ensure that your claim is properly filed, complete with all necessary supporting documents.

It’s important to note that while there may be commercials or law firms claiming to assist individuals in obtaining Camp Lejeune benefits, it is advisable to exercise caution when engaging their services. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not endorse any specific commercial entities or law firms offering such assistance.

The VA takes fraud very seriously and actively works towards preventing fraudulent activities targeting veterans seeking compensation for exposure at Camp Lejeune. To protect yourself from potential scams or fraudulent practices:

1. Be wary of unsolicited offers:

Avoid responding to unsolicited calls, emails, letters, or advertisements promising quick results regarding your eligibility for compensation.

2. Seek information directly from trusted sources:

Rely on official channels like public service announcements issued by the VA rather than third-party organizations making dubious claims.

3. Report suspected fraud promptly:

If you come across suspicious activity related to Camp Lejeune lawsuits, report it immediately using appropriate channels provided by the VA. This helps safeguard other vulnerable individuals against falling victim as well.

Remember that legitimate avenues exist through which eligible parties can seek rightful compensation without resorting to potentially misleading tactics employed by some unscrupulous actors within this space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

Answer:
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, also known as the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022, was passed to provide relief for individuals who were exposed to contaminated water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31,1987. This law allows Veterans, survivors, and families affected by exposure to file claims for appropriate compensation.

Question 2: Who is eligible for compensation under the Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Answer:
To be eligible for compensation under the Camp Lejeune lawsuit, individuals must have lived or worked at Camp LeJeune during the specified period mentioned above. They must also meet certain criteria set by law which include being diagnosed with one of several specific injuries or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, leukemias (all types), liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, etc. Alternatively, they can qualify if they are diagnosed with another injury not listed but related after exposure at Camp Lejeune, such as any type of serious medical condition, cancer, or injury that has been caused due to contamination in drinking water.

References

  1. https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/
  2. https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2022/08/18/dont-expect-quick-payouts-from-camp-lejeune-water-lawsuits/
  3. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/