A new law is finally allowing you a chance to really pursue financial compensation from the U.S. government if you or a member of your immediate family experienced health issues as a result of the poisonous water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
What Is the Justice Act of Camp Lejeune?
The Honoring Our PACT Act contains a law called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. It is the part of the new law that gives former Camp Lejeune residents the chance to file a lawsuit to recover damages for the harm caused by the toxic water contamination.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act effectively removes the government’s prior immunity from lawsuits brought on behalf of service members who suffered injuries while on duty.
How Can I Make a Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
To build your case for filing a claim under the new law, you will need to employ an attorney.
You (or a family member) must have experienced some sort of physical harm as a result of the base’s contaminated water between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 while residing, working, or being otherwise present at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days. You are also qualified if your mother was a resident or employee of the base when you were growing inside her.
Once you have legal representation, your attorney will draft a complaint on your behalf. The diagnosis, the claimant’s experience, and the reasons Camp Lejeune’s water is to blame are all covered in length in this document.
Your lawyer may need information from you to put together the complaint, including how long you spent at the site, how you were exposed (by bathing or drinking), your military and employment history, and medical records pertaining to any conditions or illnesses brought on by the polluted water. The formal litigation process would then begin when your attorney filed this paperwork with the Eastern District of North Carolina’s federal court.
Remember that submitting a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs differs from filing a lawsuit.
However, it is thought that claimants might need to complete some sort of administrative action first, which their lawyer might help them with, before bringing a lawsuit.
If I’m not a veteran, what happens? I was injured. Can I still file a lawsuit?
You could wish to look online for a lawyer with experience in managing wrongful death, mass tort, or personal injury cases or ask friends and family for recommendations if they know of one.
Do I Need an Attorney?
The hiring of an experienced attorney is strongly advised for those considering making claims against the government. Remember that you won’t only be submitting a claim form or VA benefits application; you’ll also be launching a lawsuit in federal court. A lawsuit must be filed, which is a difficult procedure. Your attorney can assist in building a compelling argument that establishes your injury and convincingly connects it to the water contamination.
How Did the Water at Camp Lejeune Become Contaminated?
The waste management procedures of an outside dry-cleaning business, as well as leaky underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, and industrial area spills, were to blame for the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
Two of the base’s eight water distribution systems were found to be tainted with volatile organic compounds in 1982 by the Marine Corps.
PCE, a solvent used in dry cleaning, was the main source of contamination in the Tarawa Terrace water supply system. The groundwater that was drawn up by supply wells on the base was poisoned as a result of spills and inappropriate disposal of the chemical by ABC One-Hour Cleaners. This water distribution plant supplied Camp LeJeune’s Tarawa Terrace family housing and Knox trailer park, among other areas.
TCE was the main water contaminant at the Hadnot Point water treatment plant; however, PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride were also found in the water. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Hadnot Point water supply system was contaminated from a number of sources, including leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal facilities, and industrial area spills. Up until June 1972, Hadnot Point supplied the Mainside barracks, the Hospital Point family housing, as well as the family housing at Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor.
The ATSDR claims that between 1972 and 1985, tainted water from the Hadnot Point plant was occasionally added to Holcomb Boulevard’s drinking water supply. After March 1987, Holcomb Boulevard provided service to the families living at Tarawa Terrace, Watkins Village, Paradise Point, Midway Park, and Berkeley Manor.
According to the ATSDR, Camp Lejeune’s other five water delivery systems were not polluted.