Articles Posted in Camp Lejeune Water

Camp Lejeune water studyThe Camp Lejeune “Elective Option” has been open for a while now and allows eligible individuals affected by contaminated water from Camp Lejeune to seek monetary compensation for their injuries. The goal of this administrative process is to make it faster and easier to receive monetary compensation and avoid going to court.

A potential problem with the Elective Option is that it’s only available to those with officially recognized medical conditions. Another issue is that it has predetermined monetary payouts for certain injuries. This means it can result in certain people receiving less compensation than if they sued in court.

However, the window for filing suit will close soon. Most individuals have until August 2024 to start the administrative claims process. Luckily, a new scientific study was released that may make it easier for those harmed by Camp Lejeune contaminated water to obtain damages for their injuries.

Let’s jump back into our discussion of the Elective Option in the Camp Lejeune toxic water litigation. In this Part 2 we will discuss qualifying injuries, proven exposure to toxic water, and the settlement possibilities within the Elective Option:

How Do I Prove I Have a Qualifying Injury?

You’ll need to provide medical documents indicating you were diagnosed and/or treated for a qualifying injury. These must be original or certified copies. If it’s impossible to provide either, you’ll need to sign a sworn statement explaining why you can’t provide an original or certified copy along with an uncertified copy.

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water CasesThe Camp Lejeune toxic water litigation continues to chug along in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, with no major developments. This isn’t too surprising given how it’s still early in the overall litigation. However, there’s been a major development in the administrative claims process.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of the Navy have announced something called an “Elective Option.” On paper at least, this is designed to help speed up the time it takes for claimants to receive compensation, as well as ease the burden of proving claims.

This may seem like welcome news, because as of the time of this writing, there are almost 100,000 administrative claims filed with the Navy. But a claimant should be vigilant and make sure the compensation offer under this option is reasonable and fair.

Camp Lejeune contaminated waterIn a previous blog post, I mentioned how the Camp Lejeune litigation was starting to pick up. Specifically, the court scheduled a status conference to discuss pre-trial matters like protecting evidence and identifying witnesses. Even though we’re still in the early stages of litigation, a few things have happened since then that I’d like to discuss.

An Overview of the Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

The water at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune) is safe to drink and use. But it wasn’t always this way, especially during the decades before 1987. During that time, the water at Camp Lejeune contained various chemicals which could result in serious health problems.

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Hearing April 5, 2023Litigation relating to personal injuries from the Camp Lejeune water contamination is beginning to ramp up. In fact, a status conference hearing has been scheduled for April 5, 2023 in one of the cases. But before we discuss what will happen during that conference, let’s take a quick look at how we got here.

Before the Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

If you’ve been keeping up with the Camp Lejeune water contamination news stories, you’ll recall that President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) into law in August of last year. The law states that eligible individuals may sue the federal government to recover damages due to exposure to contaminated water from Camp Lejeune.

Camp Lejeune Water ContaminationIt’s been a few months since President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) into law. I’ve written several posts discussing this new law, but none of those posts have gone into detail about how and why the drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune caused so much harm to so many individuals for so long. Camp Lejeune water contamination, sadly, occurred for decades, and it’s important to understand how it happened and how it hurt people. In this blog post, we’ll examine:

  • How the water got contaminated
  • What chemicals or toxins contaminated the water

Camp Lejeune toxic water litigationIn today’s blog post, we’re going to go dig a little deeper into Camp Lejeune claims arising from the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA). I’ve written about this remarkable legislation on several occasions, from when it was just a bill to after it got signed into law by President Biden in August 2022.

If you read those blog posts, you’ll recall that before you can file a lawsuit to recover damages for your exposure to the contaminated water, you have to first file an administrative claim with the appropriate federal agency as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2675. Only if this administrative claim gets denied can you sue the federal government. Read on to learn more about this requirement and what it entails.

Where Do I File This Administrative Claim?

Camp Lejeune Marine Base NCToday we’re going to discuss the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. Great people have been trying to get this legislation passed for many years, and the new law is going to offer a pathway to financial compensation for those people who were exposed to toxic water on the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. Many of those people developed serious health problems, including certain cancers. We’re going to get into the details of this legislation, but first I wanted to tell you about my personal connection to Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, and to Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is where the base is located.

Back before I went to law school I was an English instructor at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville. For a few years down there I taught US Marines, their spouses, children, and I even taught several classes directly on the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune. And so this legislation is very important to me both as a lawyer but also as a person who had a pretty close connection to Camp Lejeune. I guess I would say that there are virtually no other attorneys handling these Camp Lejeune cases that can say they worked on the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base as I did. I am very familiar with Camp Lejeune. I’m very familiar with that area. I wanted to share that personal experience, but let’s dive into this Camp Lejeune Water Act that recently passed.

I think it might be important to read certain parts of the bill, which was signed by President Joe Biden earlier this month in August 2022. It’s a straightforward bill, and the language is just astonishing. It starts with this:

Marine Corps Camp Lejeune Toxic WaterIt’s been known for a while now that many members of our armed forces and their families were exposed to toxic chemicals from the drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune). Right now, getting compensation for injuries that resulted from the toxic water exposure is limited.

However, a new law will hopefully change that. The purpose of this blog post is to answer some questions you might have about your rights concerning health issues stemming from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

1. What Chemicals Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune?

U.S. MarinesMarine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune) is an important military base and training facility for the U.S. Marine Corps. Located on the coast of North Carolina, many Marines and their families have spent extended time at this base. In fact, before law school I was an English instructor at Coastal Carolina Community College, located just a few miles away from Camp Lejeune. I taught hundreds of students who were active-duty Marines or Marine-dependents, and many of them lived or worked on the base.

However, from at least August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987, many of the base residents were likely exposed to toxic chemicals from the drinking water. And this exposure has potentially led to a variety of serious medical issues, including death.

But for the time being, taking legal action for injuries relating to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune has been impossible. But the likely enactment of a new federal law should change that.

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