In recent years, thousands of veterans and family members have filed lawsuits against the government and former Marine Corps leaders over Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water.
According to Bloomberg Law News, 500,000 veterans and their relatives who lived at Camp Lejeune between 1950 and 1980 could be eligible to file a complaint because Congress has authorized a payout of more than USD 6 billion.
These suits seek compensation for health issues related to long-term exposure to toxic chemicals at the base. If you’re thinking about filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, this article will answer some questions you may have about the process.
Who Qualifies for a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
The following individuals are qualified to file a claim:
- Veterans who served on the base between January 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, are eligible to file claims.
- Family members of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune during this period and have since passed away may also file for damages related to their loved one’s exposure to toxins at the base. These family members include spouses, children over 18 years old (or under 18 with disabilities), parents/grandparents/siblings of deceased veterans, stepchildren/stepbrothers/stepsisters of deceased veterans (as well as their spouses), parents/grandparents/siblings of living veterans if you were married when your spouse was diagnosed with any condition associated with toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune or if you had a child together after learning about their medical problems stemming from toxic exposure while stationed there.
The Steps Involved in Filing a Claim
There are several steps involved in the process of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. First, you must determine whether or not your loved one was exposed to contaminated water during his or her time at Camp Lejeune. You can do this by reviewing their military service records and medical records, among other things.
Then you’ll need to file an official claim with the VA once your loved one has passed away.
Once your claim is filed, it will be assigned an ID number and undergo an initial review by another department within the VA bureaucracy before being sent back to South Carolina for further examination by attorneys who specialize in representing veterans’ families like yours.
After all this happens, only then, you’ll finally get some answers about whether or not what happened at Camp Lejeune qualifies as negligence on behalf of those responsible for maintaining its water system. If so, how much compensation should be awarded per person affected? How many people were affected overall? The list goes on.
How Much Does It Cost to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
The cost of filing a claim depends on the case. The average cost of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit can vary based on how complex your case is and how many people are involved.
If you’re just looking for compensation for personal injury or property damage caused by contaminated water at the base, then it’s likely going to be less than if you want compensation for medical expenses related to exposure (which may involve years of treatment).
The Legal Examiner suggests that you can take advantage of the free consultation offered by personal injury attorneys in the case. The law firm, in this case, should not charge any fees upfront. Make sure the contract is clear on the charges to be collected later on.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations is the period in which you must file your claim. The statute of limitations for filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit depends on what type of claim you have and when it occurred.
According to Reuters, The Camp Lejeune Justice Act has opened a two-year period for military personnel and their family members to file claims due to exposure to chemicals at Camp Lejeune. It’s open to Marines, their family members, and contractors who worked there.
Can Family Members of Camp Lejeune Veterans File a Lawsuit?
Family members of veterans who have died from exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune can file a lawsuit.
If you are a family member of a veteran who has been diagnosed with one of the diseases listed in the settlement agreement, then yes, you can file a lawsuit against the defendants.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you are a family member of a veteran who served at Camp Lejeune, and you believe that their illness or death is directly related to their time there, then you need to understand the pros and cons of hiring an attorney.
- Pros: Hiring an attorney can help ensure that all of your legal rights are protected during this process. They will also have access to resources that may be unavailable to laypeople, like other cases similar to yours, and expert witnesses who can testify on behalf of your claim.
An experienced lawyer will know how best to navigate the complex legal system surrounding federal benefits claims by veterans and military personnel.
- Cons: Depending on how much money they charge per hour (and this varies widely), hiring an attorney could cost thousands of dollars in legal fees before any compensation has been paid out in damages. A cost many people cannot afford without financial assistance from Veterans Affairs or other sources, such as charities set up specifically for these purposes.
If you or a family member have been affected by Camp Lejeune contamination, it’s important to seek legal help. There are many resources available to veterans and their families who were harmed by this tragedy, including free legal assistance.