The Camp Lejeune water contamination tragedy stands as a stark reminder of the far-reaching consequences of environmental hazards on military bases. As victims seek justice and restitution, understanding the key considerations in Camp Lejeune settlements becomes essential.
This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the critical factors that influence settlement outcomes, empowering those affected to navigate the complex process with confidence.
1. Which Conditions Are Covered by the Settlement?
The settlement covers a wide range of conditions that have been linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
- Cancer: The settlement covers 15 types of cancer, including leukemia, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer, liver cancer, melanoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian cancer, and stomach cancer.
- Leukemia: The settlement covers two types of leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
- Parkinson’s disease: The settlement covers Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement.
The settlement also covers certain birth defects caused by exposure to contaminated water while the mother was pregnant.
These birth defects include:
- Spina bifida
- Cleft lip and palate
In addition to these, according to LegalScoops, veterans and their families exposed to contaminated water have experienced neurobehavioral effects. In response, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers disability benefits and compensation to eligible individuals with designated presumptive conditions.
These benefits encompass coverage for certain medical expenses and compensation for lost income resulting from their disabilities.
If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and you developed one of the conditions listed above, you may be eligible for a settlement. You must also have been diagnosed with the condition after leaving Camp Lejeune.
2. Who Is Eligible for a Settlement?
Individuals who have been directly affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination are typically eligible for a settlement. This includes veterans and civilian employees who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination.
In addition to them, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes that family members of Camp Lejeune veterans are eligible to apply for health benefits. To qualify, you must have a relationship as a birth or adopted child, married spouse, or legal dependent of a veteran who served at Camp Lejeune.
Additionally, you must have resided in Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days (or been in utero while your mother lived there) between August 1953, and December 1987. Lastly, you need to apply for and receive approval for benefits according to current regulations.
3. How Much Money Will I Receive in a Settlement?
The Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts will depend on several factors, including the condition you developed, the severity of your condition, and the length of time you were stationed at Camp Lejeune.
According to TorHoerman Law, the more severe your condition and the longer you were stationed at Camp Lejeune, the more money you would receive in a settlement. However, the specific amount of money you will receive will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
If you are unsure of how much money you will receive in a settlement, you should speak with an attorney who specializes in Camp Lejeune cases. They can help you understand the factors that will affect the amount of your settlement and can advise you on how to file a claim.
4. How Do I File a Claim for a Settlement?
To file a claim for a settlement under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, you will need to complete VA Form “Application for Compensation and Pension.” You can find this on the VA website.
Once you have completed the form, you can mail it to the VA or submit it electronically. The mailing address and electronic submission instructions are on the VA website.
The VA will review your claim and notify you of their decision. If your claim is approved, you will receive a settlement payment.
5. When Will I Receive My Settlement Payment?
According to the Camp Lejeune Claims Center, as of now, there have been no settlements regarding Camp Lejeune’s toxic water, as the recently passed Camp Lejeune Justice Act in August 2022 is still in its early stages.
However, it is expected that the initial settlements might be reached by the end of 2023, with payouts expected to continue until approximately 2033. Projections suggest that the federal government will disburse over $6 billion in compensation to claimants and their family members over the next decade.
6. What If I Disagree With the Amount of My Settlement?
If you disagree with the amount of your settlement, you may be able to appeal the decision. To appeal the decision, you will need to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA. The NOD must be filed within 60 days of the date of the settlement offer.
Once you have filed your NOD, the VA will review your case and make a decision. If the VA upholds the original settlement amount, you may be able to appeal the decision to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The BVA is an independent body that reviews VA decisions.
The process of appealing a settlement decision can be long and complicated. It is important to speak with an attorney who specializes in VA appeals if you are considering appealing your settlement decision.
7. What If I Have Other Questions About the Camp Lejeune Settlement?
If you have other questions about the Camp Lejeune settlement, you can contact the VA. The VA has a team of experts who can answer your questions about the settlement and help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim.
You can also find the Camp Lejeune settlement information on the VA’s website. The website includes a fact sheet about the settlement and a list of frequently asked questions.
If you have any other questions about the Camp Lejeune settlement, you should speak with an attorney who specializes in Camp Lejeune cases. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and can represent you in your claim for a settlement.
The Camp Lejeune settlement is a historic step forward for those harmed by their exposure to contaminated drinking water at the Marine Corps base. It is essential for veterans and civilians stationed at Camp Lejeune to be aware of the key considerations involved in filing a claim for a settlement and seek help from an attorney if they need it.