The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a critical piece of legislation for military families. This act is part of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. In short, this is a long overdue change in the way the VA handles exposure claims.
Today, we know that over 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to toxins. The PACT Act will streamline eligibility for VA care for veterans. However, the PACT Act also has an entire section based on Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water supply. This portion of the law is time sensitive, and it is important to act quickly.
What Happened At Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is a major military facility on the east coast of North Carolina. Between the early 1950s and late 1980s, the water supply at Camp Lejeune exposed those on base to dangerous chemicals in drinking water in both their residential and training areas. In addition, leadership at Camp Lejeune was aware, but ignored the issue.
The contamination was caused by a mix of leaking fuel tanks, cleaning chemicals, and an off post dry cleaners. However, it took years for the government to acknowledge any liability for the contaminated water. The government is using the Camp Lejeune Justice act to admit liability, and to compensate those affected.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act: Who Qualifies?
In our BOOT CAMP, we teach veterans how to receive the VA benefits they earned on active duty. However, congress expanded the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to include civilians that lived on or worked at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
In addition, the bill includes those “in utero” that were exposed before they were born. Those that qualify must show proof that they have developed health issues stemming from exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. However, the law does not require those affected prove nexus. The law presumes that the water caused many health conditions.
What Contaminated The Water?
The contaminated water of Camp Lejeune was shows to contain: Trichloroethylene, Perchloroethylene, Benzene, Toluene, Vinyl Chloride, and other chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals vastly increases the likelihood of developing many types of cancer, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Effects Leading to The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
The contaminated water causes cancer and other diseases I already mentioned, but it also has other effects. In addition, it frequently causes infertility or miscarriages, and it also causes Parkinson’s disease.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act (Civilians)
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is currently waiting approval by the house and President, but shows strong promise of being passed. If passed, those affected must quickly sue to recover damages. This process differs greatly from a VA claim. The lawsuits will allow you to seek repayment for things like lost wages, quality of life, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
However, the law will only allow for lawsuits for the first two years after the bill is signed. As a result, it is essential you prepare now for your lawsuit. If you are not sure whether you are eligible to sue, speak to an attorney who specializes in this type of case.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act (Veterans)
In short, you will need to file two different ways regarding the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. First, you need to consult an attorney regarding filing a lawsuit. You only have two years after the bill becomes law to sue. As a result, it is important that you act quickly.
In addition, you need to investigate filing a VA claim for all health issues caused or aggravated by your time at Camp Lejeune. However, the bill requires that any money awarded from a lawsuit be reduced by the amount you will receive in VA disability.
In addition, take this time to investigate filing any other VA claims. It is important that you learn how to file your own VA claim. You can not rely on an attorney to do this for you.
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