Camp Lejeune is a military base in North Carolina that experienced water contamination, causing adverse health conditions for people living there between August 1st, 1953, and December 31st, 1987. Camp Lejeune’s toxic water victims have suffered health conditions, such as prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer, that caused effects on their health, physical functioning, and quality of life.
For a long time, Camp Lejeune toxic water victims could not pursue compensation for their damages through personal injury litigation because of a North Carolina statute of limitations rule that barred lawsuits ten years after the initial incident.
However, this all changed after President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law in August 2022. This new law allowed Camp Lejeune toxic water victims to file administrative claims to recover compensation for their damages.
Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune Caused Severe Health Problems
Those living at Camp Lejeune between August 1st, 1953, and December 31st, 1987, were exposed to toxic water that could cause significant health problems. The North Carolina military base’s water supply became contaminated by carcinogens because of chemical spills, improper disposal of chemicals, and leaks from underground storage tanks.
For decades after Camp Lejeune’s water treatment facilities were contaminated, marines and their families used contaminated water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. All the while, they had no idea they were exposing themselves to significant health risks.
In the decades following the contamination and exposure to toxic water, people stationed, living, or in utero at Camp Lejeune have suffered adverse health conditions that dramatically altered their lives.
The following are some health conditions caused by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water:
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Brain cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Choanal atresia
- Renal toxicity
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Victims Were Unable to File Lawsuits Due to North Carolina Law
After figuring out about the water contamination at Camp Lejeune causing health conditions, victims sought compensation for damages through personal injury lawsuits. However, North Carolina’s statute of repose prevented this from happening. This law in North Carolina prevents victims from filing personal injury lawsuits if ten years have passed since they suffered their severe injury.
In the case of Camp Lejeune victims, many did not realize water contamination occurred at the military base until after ten years had passed. Camp Lejeune victims attempted to file lawsuits to pursue compensation for damages. Despite presenting clear evidence of government negligence, all cases were denied due to North Carolina’s statute of repose.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Allowed Victims to Pursue Compensation for Damages
The issue blocking Camp Lejeune’s toxic water victims from pursuing compensation for damages was mitigated with the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. President Biden signed this bill into law in August 2022 and allowed those affected by toxic water damages to pursue compensation for damages.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act lifts the restrictions of North Carolina’s statute of repose and gives Camp Lejeune victims an opportunity to recover fair compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Only certain parties qualify under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to pursue compensatory damages. The following are the criteria for filing a Camp Lejeune toxic water claim:
- The victim must have lived, served, or been in utero at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days
- Were at Camp Lejeune between August 31st, 1953, and December 31st, 1987
- Suffered a severe medical condition from the contaminated water
What is the Process for Pursuing Compensation for Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Damages?
To begin the process of pursuing compensation for Camp Lejeune damages, victims must file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy. The Navy has a six-month administrative period to approve or deny your claim, with the potential for negotiating a settlement.
During this period, the Navy may request that you provide evidence to establish the damages you suffered from Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. If you cannot reach a settlement with the Navy in the six-month administrative period, you could file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit to hold the government accountable for their negligence that led to exposure to toxic water.
Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Victims Struggling to Recover Compensation
Despite the Camp Lejeune Justice Act allowing Camp Lejeune victims to pursue compensation, no one who has filed an administrative claim has received a settlement to pay for their damages. The Department of the Navy has yet to offer a settlement to any Camp Lejeune toxic water victim.
However, those who filed administrative claims immediately after the signing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act have gone through the six-month administrative period. This means they could file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for damages. Currently, over 100 Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been filed.
With Camp Lejeune lawsuits likely to be filed as other administrative periods elapse, we could see consolidation and settlements before the August 2024 deadline to recover compensation.
How Can a Camp Lejeune Lawyer Help With the Process of Recovering Compensatory Damages?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you through the complicated process of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. The process involves the administrative period and filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit afterward. A personal injury lawyer will know how to file paperwork, when to file it, and how to handle other integral steps along the way.
Camp Lejeune’s toxic water victims have yet to recover compensation for their damages. This can be frustrating for those waiting decades to receive compensatory damages for how their adverse health conditions have caused them to suffer. Having a trusted, experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner can help with the process, as they can handle it effectively and ease your frustrations.
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
At The Russo Firm, our personal injury lawyers can help you file your administrative Camp Lejeune claim to begin the process of pursuing compensatory damages.
We understand how Camp Lejeune’s damages, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, can affect your health, finances, and quality of life. Our personal injury lawyers wish to help you recover compensation to pay for these damages and make your life easier.
We can use our vast experience in personal injury law to advise you through the process to put you in the best position to recover fair compensatory damages. Contact us for a free Camp Lejeune consultation at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.