Let Us Help You File Your Camp Lejeune Compensation Claim
After decades of suffering from a variety of life-threatening illnesses, veterans will finally see some relief and justice with the passage of “The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act,” also called the PACT Act. Signed by President Biden on August 10, this legislation provides help to veterans who have developed sicknesses and cancers as a result of toxic exposures.
Included in the PACT Act is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, aimed to compensate veterans and their families exposed to contaminated water on the North Carolina military base over the course of three decades. For the first time, these affected individuals can file for compensation for their injuries and illnesses. However, the deadline for a claim is two years, which means you must act fast. The Maryland injury attorneys at Plaxen Adler Muncy can help you get started on filing your claim – efficiently, properly, and on time. Get in touch with us today.
First, a short history lesson about Camp Lejeune and what happened there, and then we’ll explain how our Maryland lawyers can help.
What was in the water at Camp Lejeune?
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered that between 1953 and 1987 the drinking water at Camp Lejeune contained high levels of toxic substances, later identified as benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene (TCE), and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). These toxins entered the water, which residents used to drink, bathe and cook, from a variety of different sources, including runoff from an off-site dry cleaning business and leaking storage tanks.
Over the course of these three decades, it’s estimated that nearly a million military personnel – as well their families and civilian workers – were exposed to toxic, not to mention illegal, levels of these substances over extended periods of time. Some of the contaminant levels were hundreds of times higher than the levels permitted by federal safety standards. This exposure raised the risk of servicepeople and their families developing serious health conditions, including cancers, birth defects, and miscarriages.
What illnesses did the contaminated water cause?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) discusses the health effects linked with the chemicals found in the water at Camp Lejeune. VetsHQ reports that Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune had a:
- 35% higher risk of developing kidney cancer
- 42% higher risk of developing liver cancer
- 47% higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- 50% higher risk of developing ALS
- 68% higher risk of developing multiple myeloma
For years, veterans have experienced setback after setback attempting to seek compensation for the harm caused by the Camp Lejeune water contamination. A North Carolina law placing a 10-year statute of limitations on these types of claims made it extremely difficult for veterans to secure benefits for their illnesses. Family members or civilians were barred altogether.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act changes all that.
What does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act do?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act lays out three important provisions for veterans, their families, and civilians affected by toxic water exposure:
- Removes the barrier for older claims. As we mentioned earlier, the North Carolina statute of repose for claims is 10 years, which effectively barred most veterans from filing a claim. The Act removes this obstacle, allowing anyone affected to file a claim, no matter when they suffered toxic exposure.
- Allows anyone exposed to make a claim. Up until now, compensation was only available through the VA and only available to veterans – not dependents or family members. However, the Act allows affected family members (even those exposed in utero) and civilians to file a claim for compensation as well.
- Creates presumption of illness. “Presumption” means that a person does not have to prove that exposure to toxic water directly led to the development of their condition. This removes a massive barrier to filing a claim. Now, if you have a certain illness and were exposed to certain toxins (like the water at Camp Lejeune or burn pits in Iraq), the VA will automatically presume you developed that condition as a result of the exposure.
What conditions and illnesses are covered by the Act?
The VA lists 15 conditions presumed to be linked to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune:
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If you have one of these conditions and served or lived at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible to file a claim.
Am I eligible to file a claim for Camp Lejeune toxic water injuries?
Per 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.
To sum up, you must have been exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune for “not less than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987.” This includes individuals in utero.
Can your Maryland attorneys help me file my Camp Lejeune claim?
Yes, we can. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, we know how to file claims against the government and the VA. We also know that one mistake can move your claim from the top of the pile to the bottom. With nearly a million people eligible to make a claim, it’s crucial you get it right the first time.
Our attorneys can help you streamline the process. Here’s what you’ll need to get your Camp Lejeune compensation claim started properly:
- Proof of your military service, or proof of your dependent relationship. Dependents can use their birth certificate or marriage license to show their relationship to the veteran.
- Proof of residence/occupational status. You’ll need to show that you worked and/or lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
- Your medical records. Include the date of the discovery of your condition or illness, the timeline of your treatments, and all the expenses related to your illness.
At Plaxen Adler Muncy, we support the service men and women who have served our country. It’s time we stepped up and helped. With the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, veterans can now file for compensation for the illnesses and conditions they’ve suffered from exposure to contaminated water. Our Maryland attorneys are ready to guide you through the process. To learn more, call us at 410-730-7737 or complete our contact form. We have offices throughout the state of Maryland. Initial consultations are free.