Help for Veterans, Family Members, and Civilians Who Spent Time at Camp Lejeune
The recent passage of the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act,” or PACT Act, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
The military has known for decades that drinking water at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina was contaminated with powerful chemicals between 1953 and 1987. If you or your loved one spent a total of 30 days or more during these years at Camp Lejeune, were stationed at one of these locations, and were diagnosed with a qualifying illness, you or your family might be eligible for compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. The Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C., discuss this in today’s blog.
Eligibility for compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
According to the Act:
An individual, including a veteran (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code), or the legal representative of such an individual, who resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) for not less than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that was supplied by, or on behalf of, the United States may bring an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to obtain appropriate relief for harm that was caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
The Act covers not just veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, but also family members who might have lived there, and civilian employees and contractors who might have worked there during the specified period. This also includes claims by the survivors of exposed individuals who have died from any of the diseases listed below.
The following diseases diagnosed in anyone who spent at least 30 days stationed or living or working at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 are legally PRESUMED by the new law to have been caused by the camp’s contaminated water:
- Aplastic anemia
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female Infertility
- Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
Normally, proving that diseases like these were caused by a particular toxic exposure is an expensive and risky legal battle. Because these diagnoses are legally presumed to have been caused by the camp’s drinking water, most of the risk and expense won’t apply in these cases.
The procedure is that formal claims must be filed with the federal government. Almost all such claims will probably initially be denied while a small group of cases are tried. These “bellwether” trials will be used to establish ranges of value for each kind of case. Then we will be able to negotiate settlements in those ranges in the majority of cases. Some clients may choose not to accept settlement in the range and those cases may also go to trial.
There is a long list of other illnesses which have not been presumptively proven, but which may later be proven to result from exposure to the Camp Lejeune water from 1953 to 1987. We are closely watching the evolving science and will blog again if additional diseases are added to the presumptive list.
If you or a loved one who has passed away were stationed at Camp Lejeune or lived or worked there between August 1953 and December 1987 for 30 cumulative days, were not dishonorably discharged, and were diagnosed with one of the previously mentioned illnesses, call the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C., at 602-833-0012, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Phoenix and Tempe to better serve our clients.
Partner Frank Verderame is a seasoned trial attorney, who has dedicated his life to helping victims of serious injuries. He is a Board Certified Specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation, and has been an active part of legal communities and organizations since he started his practice, back in 1983.
Read more about Frank Verderame