In the past, several water sources at the Camp Lejeune military base were contaminated. Some individuals exposed to this contaminated water later developed cancer, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious health conditions.
In August 2022, President Biden and Congress passed a new law that allows individuals, including civilians, to pursue compensation for health conditions linked to Camp Lejeune water exposure. Individuals may file a personal injury claim for themselves or a wrongful death claim for a deceased family member.
Learn more about the eligibility requirements for these claims and how the government is being held culpable for Camp Lejeune.
An overview of Camp Lejeune water contamination claims.
Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base on North Carolina’s coast just south of Jacksonville. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), several contaminants were present in the base’s drinking water from the 1950s through the 1980s. Research has shown that exposure to these contaminants may cause serious health conditions.
President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, 2022. A section of this law—the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022—allows eligible individuals to pursue reimbursement for health conditions or fatalities caused by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
You may qualify for a Camp Lejeune settlement if you:
- Had exposure to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and
- You developed one or more of these medical conditions
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Cardiac defect
- Childhood leukemia
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Other Kidney diseases
- Systematic sclerosis/scleroderma
- Other health conditions, if you can prove that Camp Lejeune water caused that condition
A health professional must diagnose your condition to qualify. You may pursue a personal injury case for yourself or a wrongful death claim for a deceased family member.
Camp Lejeune is not a class action lawsuit.
There is a misconception that there is a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit because of the number of potential plaintiffs. While a class action lawsuit does involve multiple plaintiffs, a designated lead plaintiff represents the rest of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit don’t get to choose the law firm that represents them or make important decisions about how the case plays out.
Class action lawsuits make sense when multiple plaintiffs sue the defendant for a relatively small amount of money. It makes sense for a law firm to group these cases, as individually pursuing each claim is not financially feasible.
Many of these claims have the potential to be high value and complex. As such, there is no Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit. That means eligible individuals who want to pursue compensation must file their own claim.
Camp Lejeune Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit Lawyer Near Me 833-552-7274
7 Important Facts About the Camp Lejeune PACT Act claims
You won’t automatically receive compensation.
Camp Lejeune claims under the PACT Act of 2022 are not a benefit you will automatically receive from the government. You must file a Camp Lejeune claim with The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
You can file a personal injury claim for yourself or a wrongful death claim for a family member.
The law generally allows the surviving spouse, lineal descendants (children and grandchildren), or parents to pursue a wrongful death claim. In some circumstances, an appointed representative may file a wrongful death claim. Consult a lawyer if you have questions about your eligibility to pursue a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit.
Compensation under the PACT Act is separate from VA benefits.
Compensation under the PACT Act is not limited to veterans and their family members. Any individual exposed to Camp Lejeune water and later developed a qualifying medical condition can pursue a claim.
Some service members and their families may qualify for both types of compensation – a settlement and VA benefits. Let your attorney know if you’ve received VA benefits when pursuing a Camp Lejeune claim.
You have a limited time to pursue a Camp Lejeune payout.
The PACT Act grants eligible individuals until August 10, 2024, to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. Victims only have this one opportunity to pursue a settlement for damages.
Payouts are not guaranteed.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is not a guaranteed government program. Rather, the act opens a window of time for eligible individuals to pursue a claim in civil court. Ordinarily, the deadline to file these claims would have already passed under the law.
There is no guarantee that you will receive the amount you request, and the court may deny claims. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a viable claim and negotiate an adequate settlement.
You can choose your own Camp Lejeune lawyer.
The benefit of Camp Lejeune not being a class action lawsuit is that you can pursue your claim on your terms. You choose the law firm you want to handle your claim and receive individualized attention. You will also have a say in whether you accept an offer or pursue a trial.
Pursuing adequate compensation without a lawyer will be difficult for most individuals.
There is more to filing a Camp Lejeune claim than filling out a simple form. Many individuals aren’t aware of how much money they may be entitled to recover. It takes legal experience and knowledge to accurately assess personal injury and wrongful death damages.
For a free legal consultation with a camp lejeune class action lawsuit lawyer serving Camp Lejeune, call 833-552-7274
How to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit
You must act quickly if you know or suspect you may be eligible for a Camp Lejeune settlement. You only have until August 10, 2024, to file a claim. Below are the steps you can take to start the process.
Step 1: Determine your eligibility for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit
There are two requirements that you must meet to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim:
- You were exposed to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. That would include in utero exposure to a fetus if the mother had water exposure while pregnant.
- You developed a medical condition caused by this exposure. The PACT Act intends to allow individuals to pursue compensation for their damages. You can’t pursue a claim if exposure to Camp Lejeune water didn’t cause a health condition.
Step 2: Start gathering documentation
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimates that 1 million civilians, service members, and their families qualify for a Camp Lejeune settlement. The potentially large number of claims may burden agencies and hospitals that need to retrieve documentation. You may experience delays acquiring records to back up your claim, so don’t wait to request documentation.
You can prove you lived, worked, or otherwise had exposure to Camp Lejeune water via:
- Military records
- Employment paperwork
- Pay stubs
- Tax forms and transcripts
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- School records
- Hospital records
- Medical records
Adults with in utero or childhood exposure may face barriers to accessing proof of residency. The Veterans Administration allows the next of kin, including spouses and children, to request records for deceased service members.
Step 3: Contact a Camp Lejeune lawyer ASAP
You do not need to have all your paperwork before contacting a lawyer. Some records will prove challenging to obtain, particularly if you file a wrongful death case. A lawyer may be able to help you overcome legal barriers to accessing the information you need.
Water contaminants found at Camp Lejeune
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that some drinking water sources at Camp Lejeune contained:
- Vinyl chloride
Medical research links these four contaminants to several cancers and other serious illnesses. The sources of these contaminants were an off-base dry cleaning company, underground storage tanks, and waste disposal sites. The base shut down affected wells in the 1980s to stop contamination.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 vs. Veterans Administration (VA) benefits
The potential compensation available under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is not the same as benefits paid out by the VA. You could qualify for one type of compensation but not the other. Some individuals may be eligible for both.
VA disability benefits for Camp Lejeune
The VA pays out disability benefits to active service members, reservists, and veterans who did not have a dishonorable discharge. The Veterans Administration sets the requirements for VA Camp Lejeune water contamination eligibility. Some service members’ family members may also qualify for certain benefits.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
The compensation paid out under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is not a military benefit. Any eligible individual may pursue compensation for their damages.
An attorney can advise which sources of compensation you can pursue and help file a claim for VA benefits or personal injury claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
How to choose a Camp Lejeune attorney to handle your claim
Countless law firms are advertising their services for Camp Lejeune claims. Some may be more qualified than others to help you pursue this essential compensation.
It’s wise to seek out an established personal injury law firm. You want to hire a lawyer that has a history of negotiating settlements and taking cases to trial.
You don’t want a settlement mill that processes Camp Lejeune claims as quickly as possible. These firms may have no intention of pursuing maximum compensation on your behalf. They want to make a fast dollar and move on to the next case.
The cost of hiring a Camp Lejeune attorney
Any Camp Lejeune claims filed under the PACT Act are personal injury or wrongful death claims. It is standard practice for lawyers to handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, the law firm collects their fees after they secure a settlement on your behalf. The attorney fees are agreed upon before signing a service contract and are usually a percentage of your settlement. You don’t owe attorney fees if you don’t win a settlement. However, you may still be responsible for court costs and other nominal expenses.
In addition, many personal injury law firms offer a free consultation or case review. It shouldn’t cost you anything to find out if you have a valid Camp Lejeune claim.
Before hiring an attorney, ensure you understand the attorney’s payment schedule and what fees you may owe if you lose your case.
Mistakes to avoid when making a Camp Lejeune claim
It’s easy to make mistakes when pursuing a legal claim. An experienced Camp Lejeune attorney can help you avoid these common errors.
Don’t assume the claims process will be easy
Anyone can access the Camp Lejeune claim form online. Don’t be fooled by this simple-looking, one-page fillable document. More documentation and proof are needed to support your claim and ensure a fair chance at compensation. A lawyer can help you create a compelling claim with the necessary evidence to increase your chance of success.
Don’t guess about information
It’s wise to exhaust every possible resource when you build your claim. An attorney may have avenues to access documentation that you cannot. Do not guess or speculate on information. Errors and omissions may delay the process and hurt your chances at maximum compensation.
Don’t wait to take action
Your Camp Lejeune claim needs attention now. The August 10, 2024, deadline is not your last day to contact a lawyer but your last day to file your claim with the court. Collecting the necessary evidence and compiling a claim takes time, and the deadline will pass quickly.
Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts
Many people want to know the average Camp Lejeune settlement amount. However, accurate averages are difficult to calculate and not that helpful. Some cases may settle for undisclosed amounts. Out-of-court settlements may not be known to the public.
Settlement amounts will vary based on each individual’s damages. The value of your claim may be higher or lower than the average. What’s critical is that you have an attorney who will maximize your compensation for your injuries.
Deadline to file Camp Lejeune claims
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 does impose a deadline to file water contamination claims. You only have until August 10, 2024, to file your personal injury or wrongful death claim.
The court will likely refuse to hear your case if you file after the deadline.
Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit FAQs?
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about class action lawsuits, the PACT Act, and Camp Lejeune water contamination claims. Learn why there isn’t a class action lawsuit against Camp Lejeune and how you can file a claim.
What is a class action lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a legal case held in civil court. Class action lawsuits involve multiple plaintiffs who suffered similar damages and are now suing one defendant. A designated lead plaintiff represents the other plaintiffs. Courts can hear class action lawsuits at the state or federal level.
Why isn’t Camp Lejeune a class action lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits can make sense when several plaintiffs sue for similar, relatively small monetary amounts. Grouping these claims in one class action lawsuit allows the plaintiffs a chance to receive compensation when separate cases would not make financial sense for a law firm to pursue.
Many Camp Lejeune water contamination claims will likely have a high monetary value to pursue individually. Health conditions such as leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple myeloma are expensive to treat and cause significant losses.
What is the PACT Act? How does it affect Camp Lejeune claims?
PACT is short for “Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics.” The act’s full name is “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022” or simply “Honoring our PACT Act of 2022.”
According to The White House, “The PACT Act is the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans in more than 30 years.” The act makes it easier for service members to receive benefits and compensation for service-related conditions that can take years to develop.
A part of the PACT Act allows individuals exposed to Camp Lejeune contaminated water to pursue compensation for their damages.
Is the PACT Act different from Camp Lejeune VA benefits?
Yes. The PACT Act and Camp Lejeune VA benefits are separate programs with different eligibility requirements. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles VA claims, while the Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps handles PACT Act claims.
The PACT Act has broader eligibility requirements, allowing more individuals to pursue compensation. Consult an attorney to discuss your eligibility for one or both types of claims.
Camp Lejeune VA benefit eligibility
The VA pays out Camp Lejeune benefits to eligible active service members, reservists, veterans who did not receive a dishonorable discharge, and their family members.
These individuals must have:
- Lived at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River
- For at least 30 cumulative days between August 1953 and December 1987, and
- Developed one or more of the VA’s presumptive health conditions for Camp Lejeune claims
Some individuals may only qualify for reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during a specific time frame.
Camp Lejeune PACT Act eligibility
The PACT Act allows eligible individuals to file a personal injury claim with JAG.
You can pursue compensation if:
- You resided, worked, or otherwise had exposure (including in utero exposure) to Camp Lejeune water
- For at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and
- Developed certain qualifying health conditions
You may also file a wrongful death claim if you are the surviving family member of someone who could have filed a PACT Act claim had they lived. The law generally allows spouses, children, parents, or appointed representatives to pursue wrongful death claims.
Those eligible have until August 10, 2024, to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Can I file a Camp Lejeune PACT Act claim if I had a dishonorable discharge from the military?
The PACT Act states that an individual “who resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed” to Camp Lejeune contaminated water may be eligible for compensation. A PACT Act personal injury claim is separate from any benefits paid out by the VA.
A former service member may qualify for a PACT Act settlement but not VA benefits. You should consult a Camp Lejeune attorney if you have questions about your eligibility to file a PACT Act claim.
Do I have to prove that I drank Camp Lejeune water?
The PACT Act compensates individuals who consumed or had exposure to Camp Lejeune water. The act assumes anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, had exposure to the base camp’s water.
I lived at Camp Lejeune as a child when my mom/dad served in the military. Am I eligible to file a Camp Lejeune claim?
Children of service members can file a Camp Lejeune claim if they meet the PACT Act’s requirements.
- They had exposure to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and
- Developed a qualifying medical condition
“Exposure” includes in utero exposure, meaning your mother was pregnant with you when she lived or worked at Camp Lejeune.
What is the average Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement?
At this time, it’s too soon to determine an average settlement amount.
Camp Lejeune water contamination payouts will vary based on:
- The severity of the individual’s related health condition
- Overall damages
- Whether the claim is for personal injury or wrongful death
Nobody can determine an accurate average, as some claims could settle for undisclosed amounts.
It’s normal to be curious about average settlement amounts, but this figure may not accurately indicate how much you qualify to recover. Many individual factors go into calculating an appropriate settlement amount. You or your loved one could receive more or less than the average Camp Lejeune payout.
Why do I need a lawyer for a Camp Lejeune claim?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 claim form looks deceptively easy.
However, it leaves plenty of room for errors and omissions.
- Issues like guessing at information, typos, and a lack of supporting documentation can hinder your claim.
- You may undervalue the damages associated with your health condition. The same is true for wrongful death claims. Camp Lejeune lawyers can work with economic and medical experts to accurately assess your current and future damages.
- A trial may be the only way to maximize your compensation. You’ll need a lawyer to represent you in court.
Filling out the one-page form is only one of many steps in pursuing a Camp Lejeune settlement. Missing or incorrect information will slow the claims process or risk receiving your compensation.
What contaminants were in Camp Lejeune’s water?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), some drinking sources at Camp Lejeune contained trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and benzene. The origins of these contaminants were an off-base dry cleaning company, underground storage tanks, and waste disposal sites.
My deceased family member worked at Camp Lejeune. Can I file a wrongful death claim?
You may file a wrongful death claim if your family member:
- Lived, worked, or was other exposed to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, and
- They would have been eligible to pursue a personal injury claim had they lived.
The law typically allows the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, or appointed representative to file a wrongful death claim. Family members can face many roadblocks when attempting to access the deceased’s employment, service, or medical records. A lawyer may be able to help gain access to the information you need to file and support a wrongful death claim.
When will I receive my Camp Lejeune settlement?
President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, 2022. At the time of this writing, it’s too early to determine how long Camp Lejeune cases will take to settle. Claims could take a long time to process due to the number of potential cases and the severe nature of eligible health conditions.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina will handle all Camp Lejeune claims filed under the PACT Act. The court’s schedule may dictate how quickly Camp Lejeune claims are processed.
How many Camp Lejeune water contamination claims are there?
Individuals have until August 10, 2024, to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. It’s too soon to know how many people will file claims by the deadline.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimates that 1 million civilians, service members, and their families had exposure to Camp Lejeune water between August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987. More people may pursue claims as public awareness about the PACT Act spreads.
What medical conditions qualify for a Camp Lejeune settlement?
You may qualify for compensation if you’ve had:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Cardiac defect
- Childhood leukemia
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Other kidney diseases
- Systematic sclerosis/scleroderma
Other conditions may qualify if you can link exposure to Camp Lejeune water caused the illness or injury, so don’t prematurely dismiss your eligibility without speaking to a lawyer.
What documentation do I need to file a Camp Lejeune claim?
You’ll need to prove two things when you file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim.
- You had exposure to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. Proving that you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune may be difficult for some individuals. Military service records, utility bills, bank statements, pay stubs, school records, tax statements, medical records, marriage certificates, and birth certificates can serve as evidence. A lawyer may be able to help you identify what documents you need and help you obtain them.
- You developed a qualifying health condition due to Camp Lejeune water exposure.You’ll need to show documentation of a diagnosis. Medical records and insurance documents may support your claim. If your condition is not one of the qualifying conditions listed under the PACT Act, you’ll need to prove that exposure to Camp Lejeune water contamination caused that condition.
Do I have to go to court to win a Camp Lejeune settlement?
One advantage of not trying Camp Lejeune cases in a class action lawsuit is that each plaintiff has a say in how their individual case plays out. Some claims will successfully settle out of court, while others may go to trial. A trial may be the best course of action if the offered settlement is not enough to cover your damages.
You should be aware that many law firms across the country are taking on Camp Lejeune claims right now. Some of these firms are so-called “settlement mills” that have no intention of taking any claim to trial, even when it’s in a client’s best interest. These lawyers process a high volume of cases as quickly as possible. Most are not trial attorneys who have experience going to court.
How do I choose the right Camp Lejeune lawyer for my case?
These days, you might hear or see a Camp Lejeune lawyer ad every time you turn on the radio or TV. Your area likely has dozens of firms who want to take on your case, but are they qualified?
Here are some questions to consider.
- Does the lawyer have a track record of taking cases to trial, or is the firm a settlement mill?
- Does the law firm offer a free consultation or case evaluation? It shouldn’t cost you anything to find out if you have a valid Camp Lejeune claim.
- Can the firm connect you with a doctor if you can’t afford medical treatment for your Camp Lejeune-related condition? Well-established personal injury law firms can refer you to doctors who collect payment after your case settles.
- Does the lawyer work on a contingency fee basis? This payment structure allows you to file a claim without paying upfront attorney fees. You won’t owe any attorney fees if the attorney doesn’t win your case.
Don’t miss the deadline to pursue compensation. Contact a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney to learn if you qualify and start your claim to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Have questions? Learn more about Camp Lejeune claims and your eligibility
Contact a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney to discuss your eligibility and get help with your claim. The compensation for your injuries is too important not to give it the full attention it deserves. Let a legal professional guide you through the claim process and ensure you get the compensation you deserve for the harm you’ve endured.