Camp Lejeune is home to a unique water pollution program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Camp Lejeune, a marine corps base, was established in North Carolina in 1942. Camp Lejeune’s drinking water had been tainted since the 1950s, and the worst-affected wells were shut down in 1985.
Drinking water at Camp Lejeune has been assessed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) since the late 1980s for potential health risks caused by hazardous substances. One million service members, civilians, and their families may have been exposed to the contaminated water. Compensation for injuries, lost wages, and emotional distress is available under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act for both individuals and businesses.
However, this does not make it simple to submit a claim for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. In reality, there are a number of steps that must be taken before your attorney may submit a claim to the VA on your behalf.
Read on for information on pursuing legal action about the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
Accumulate Your Medical Files
After receiving a diagnosis, compiling a full set of health records is important. In order to show that the poisonous water at Camp Lejeune is to blame for your health problems, this information is crucial. Since your diagnosis at Camp Lejeune will depend on a number of tests and visits to the doctor, it is important to keep track of both.
Requesting your medical history from other clinics or hospitals where you received care may also be necessary. You can typically accomplish this by asking them directly, but it is also worth checking websites to see if they are already accessible since this might save you time.
Talk to an Attorney About It
Seek the advice of legal counsel before filing a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit. A lawyer can tell you if your case has any chance of succeeding and, if it does, how much money you may potentially obtain as a settlement.
Have at least three lawyers give you their opinion before making a decision. Before moving further with the matter, you should consult with another attorney.
Ask about the lawyer’s success rate in similar matters and look into their prior work. Inquire as to how often they handle cases like this and what percentage of their time they devote to each.
If you end up needing legal representation, find out how much they charge for court appearances and alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and arbitration.
Apply for Veterans Affairs Benefits
You can apply for VA benefits if you are a veteran. When you submit your claim to the VA, they’ll evaluate it and let you know if you qualify for benefits.
If this is the case, the VA will give you a letter detailing the amount of money they will pay you each month or year, as well as any conditions you must meet to keep receiving those payments. The Veterans Administration may grant disability pay or other benefits if it can be proven that your condition was caused by exposure at Camp Lejeune.
Taking the Case to Federal Court
Veterans have the right to sue in federal court. Veteran service members who were served tainted water at Camp Lejeune have been notified by the Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Litigation Committee that they may be eligible to submit a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Individuals who have suffered losses due to government workers’ or contractors’ carelessness or wrongdoing can file suit against the government under the FTCA.
Since filing an administrative claim with the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is a prerequisite to launching a lawsuit against the federal government, your attorney will likely do so on your behalf if you retain one to do so.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has been studying the effects of drinking water containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on a large population that is not comprised of veterans since 1993. If you were not a member of the armed forces but were exposed to dangerous substances through the water system at Camp Lejeune, you can take legal action in a state court.
Filing a Claim with the VA
Your lawyer will submit the claim to the VA on your behalf once it is complete. The VA will evaluate your claim and notify you via mail of the determination of your eligibility for compensation. They will reimburse your attorney’s fees if they determine that your sickness was caused by tainted water at Camp Lejeune.
Between three and six months may pass. If they don’t agree, they’ll give you the reasoning behind it so you may take it to court. This letter should arrive within 6 months of submitting your claim to the VA.
Camp Lejeune hazardous water lawsuits, as you can see, may be time-consuming and difficult to initiate. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Department of Defense estimated that 750,000 people were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between the 1950s and the 1980s.
Plenty of individuals are waiting to file the claim, but they are confused by the procedure. In evaluating whether or not this is the best option for you or a loved one who has been harmed by the tainted water at Camp Lejeune, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind.