• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Camp Lejeune Water contamination JAG claims top 5,000

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Sep 14, 2022

Just one month after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act went into effect and legal recourse was opened for veterans, approximately 5,000 claims have been filed with the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps for health problems resulting from contaminated water at the Marine Corps base in North Carolina. .

Administrative claims made possible by recent legislation have been filed with the JAG Corps of the Department of the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia. Claims are the required first step before a civil action Camp Lejeune Trial can be deposited against the federal government.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is part of a much larger $300 billion plan Honor the PACT law from 2022, the most comprehensive toxic exposure legislation ever passed for U.S. military veterans and their families.

Until the legislation was passed, the federal government had immunity protections that barred any civil lawsuits from proceeding at Camp Lejeune, preventing those injured from seeking compensation. The law also overturns a longstanding North Carolina state law that prohibited filing claims after 10 years, preventing many injured parties from seeking compensation.

It is expected to spark a flood of lawsuits, potentially becoming one of the biggest individual tort lawsuits in US history.

An estimated one million people – from 1953 to 1987 – were potentially exposed in the Camp Lejeune area to the worst contamination of a public water system in American history.

“The system is going to be filled with claims,” New York City attorney Daniel Wasserberg told Consumer Notice. “This is historic legislation that seeks to correct mistakes made in the past.”

Diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness after exposure to water at Camp Lejeune?

You may be eligible for compensation.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Doesn’t Impact VA Benefits

Litigants have up to two years to file claims based on health issues arising from the Camp Lejeune water contamination. Anyone who worked, resided, or was otherwise exposed, including in utero exposure, for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, is eligible.

It includes active duty personnel, members of the National Guard, Army Reserve, family members and local citizens.

Prior to the bill’s passage, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost $7 billion to compensate those injured at Camp Lejeune, although several experienced attorneys are predicting a significantly higher number.

According to the JAG, the filing of a complaint will not have an impact Veterans Administration Disability Benefits that many Camp Lejeune already receive.

Camp Lejeune Disability Claims Mishandled by VA

One of the reasons for the early spike in legal filings and the avalanche of claims expected in the coming months was the VA’s mishandling of past claims.

According to a recent report from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, nearly 40 percent of recent Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune disability claims were incorrectly processed.

From 2017 to 2021, the VA mishandled more than 21,000 disability claims involving water contamination, according to the report, which was first made public Aug. 25.

Data from the Veterans Benefits Administration shows that 57,500 disability compensation claims related to Camp Lejeune were filed during that four-year period, and 71% of them were denied.

Mistakes made by the VA increased attention to the long-awaited Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Under this new legislation, individuals will be subject to a reduced burden of proof that they have been harmed in any way, making it easier for them to prove that their medical condition or injury was related to the toxic water in which they lived.

Camp Lejeune water contamination has caused multiple health issues

The Centers for Disease Control have linked contaminants found at Camp Lejeune to bladder cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, adult leukemia and Parkinson’s disease, among other health problems. .

Contaminants found included chemicals such as benzenevinyl chloride, tetrachlorethylene and trichlorethyleneamong others.

Initial applications filed with the Office of the Judge Advocate General must include:

  • Dates of residence or employment at Camp Lejeune
  • Toxic Water Exposure Details
  • Dates of diagnosis, with health condition or illness
  • Medical treatment and outcome
  • Impact on life, including mental and economic conditions
  • A request for financial compensation

Once the complaint has been filed, JAG will have six months to accept or refuse the complaint. Only then can a federal lawsuit be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.