For a long time, veterans and military personnel were exposed to volatile organic compounds like benzene and trichloroethylene which leached into the water at the Marine Corps base. The consistent consumption of this water led to major health conditions and deaths among these personnel.
Unfortunately, many of the victims who drank this contaminated water had no recourse. Some even took on untold debts seeking medical treatments for their conditions. Many couldn’t even afford the treatments for the diseases, and as a result, they lost their lives to these illnesses.
However, now that President Biden has signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA) into law, residents of Fort Walton Beach in Florida who once lived at the camp and fell ill due to exposure to the toxic water may be able to seek benefits and compensation.
Who Can File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
Not every military personnel who was at the base can file or join the lawsuit. Those who qualify are veterans who fell ill as a result of drinking and using the contaminated water for a minimum of 30 days at Camp Lejeune between the years 1953 and 1987. Specifically, the eligibility requirements are as follows:
- You lived at the camp for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987
- You served your country and were honorably discharged
- You belong to the group of servicemen including guardsmen, reservists, and veterans
- You developed severe health conditions like adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal toxicity, lung cancer, infertility, and kidney cancer among others
Those are the basic eligibility requirements. But there are victims who have developed other non-cancerous health conditions from drinking the same water. These health conditions include scleroderma, cardiac problems, brain deformities, fatty liver disease, Lou Gerhig’s disease, and hepatic steatosis. Women were found to suffer higher rates of infertility and miscarriages from contact with the water.
Also, a CDC report has also shown that children who were born at the camp or drank the water there were more likely to develop major health issues like childhood leukemia, birth defects such as spinal bifida, and adult leukemia later in their lives. So, if you were at the Marine Corps base after 1987, you may not qualify for any benefits, even if you may have health conditions similar to those listed above. If you’re not sure about your eligibility, the best thing to do would be to consult with our Fort Walton Beach Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyers.
We’ll examine your case and see if you meet the eligibility requirements necessary to obtain some or all of the benefits that may be available to the victims of this mishap.
How Much Money Will Camp Lejeune Victims Get?
Although the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has been signed into law, there’s no set amount that victims can receive. Every case is different, so compensation will be on a case-by-case basis. However, based on similar class action lawsuits in the past, eligible victims may receive anywhere from $150,000 up to $750,000. These numbers may be specific to cancer patients who developed the condition because of their exposure to contaminated water.
However, people who developed neurological ailments like Parkinson’s may receive up to $500,000 as a settlement, if not more. It’s also possible that victims may receive higher or lower compensation amounts. However, because legal proceedings haven’t yet begun, it’s difficult to provide you with specific figures.
But with the $6.7 billion allocation from the federal government earmarked for the settlement of the lawsuit, victims can expect to receive handsome settlements to help with their treatments and improve their quality of life. Also, please note that the payments will depend on the ability of claimants to provide the following:
- A detailed breakdown of damages and losses
- The severity of the illness caused by drinking the contaminated water
- The number of claimants –fewer claimants mean higher payout, although the payouts may be subject to limits (this may be established when the legal proceedings kick off)
- The ability of your Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer in Fort Walton Beach
Camp Lejeune Claims Process in Fort Walton Beach
The process of filing your claims and receiving compensation is pretty straightforward.
- Retrieve evidence and proof that you were at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- Retrieve and collate proof that your illness was caused by your ingestion or exposure to the contaminated water at the marine base (receipts, bills, invoices, diagnosis of one or more of the previously listed conditions).
- File a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can file the claim by yourself, request the aid of a Veterans Service officer, or visit a Veterans Affairs regional office near or around Fort Walton Beach, FL.
- Wait for the approval or denial of your claim. As of September 2022, you can expect a decision in about 107 days. Click here for a more up-to-date timeframe.
- If your disability claim is denied, it’s time to talk to our Fort Walton Beach Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer about your case. A Fort Walton Beach Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorney will review your case for eligibility. If you pass the eligibility criteria, we’ll then file the lawsuit for you.
Please note that there is a two-year deadline for filing the lawsuit. This is two years from the date President Biden signed the PACT Act in August 2022. Technically, all lawsuits have to be filed by June 2024, so, you don’t have much time. If you haven’t started the process yet, now is the time to do that.
Also, relatives of honorably discharged veterans who have died from the illnesses caused by their exposure to the water at the camp can also receive benefits from the Camp Lejeune lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved ones. There’s a process that they have to follow to join the class action and receive their benefits. Please speak to our Camp Lejeune lawyer in Florida about that.
Are Sick Relatives of Veterans Also Eligible for the Benefits?
Yes, they are. The CJLA also extends to them, so they or their surviving loved ones may be able to receive benefits if they are eligible. However, please note that there are specific ailments that the relatives must have before they can qualify. These include:
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Female infertility
- Esophageal cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal toxicity
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
As with the veterans, relatives must have resided on base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and qualify to receive VA benefits.
Like the veterans’ process, they’ll also have to file the disability claim, show valid proof that they’re related to the veteran who was on base at the time, evidence that they had/have one or more of the above-listed health problems, and all accompanying proof of cost and losses.
Do You Need a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Attorney in Fort Walton Beach?
Yes, you really do need professional legal help to get the compensation that you deserve. Remember that the CJLA (a part of the PACT Act) was just signed into law a few weeks ago. That’s just the first step.
The second step is the court proceedings which haven’t begun yet. If your application for benefits has been denied by the VA, it’s time to lawyer up and join the lawsuit. This is the only way you can recover your damages and get the money.
At Fasig Brooks, we are committed to fighting for the residents of Fort Walton Beach who have been hurt by this terrible tragedy. If you were at Camp Lejeune within the stipulated time, and have been ill, come talk to our Fort Walton Beach Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer about your situation. Contact us for a free no-obligation consultation today.