Camp Lejeune families are poised to recover meaningful settlements for the severe injuries and illnesses they developed after exposure to contaminated water on the military base. Prior to 2022, Camp Lejeune service members and their families were unable to file personal injury lawsuits to recover compensation for the damages they incurred as a result of their health conditions.
In many cases, this has unfairly saddled them with medical debt, interfered with their careers, and drastically reduced their quality of life, among other losses. Personal injury attorneys are now working closely with plaintiffs to help them pursue Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits as a part of the mass tort effort in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
As the claims progress through the system with the help of a leadership team, many families are wondering what level of compensation they could see. If you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and developed a serious illness or injury from the tainted water supply, it is in your best interest to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you sustained, how attorney’s fees work, and what your claim could be worth.
Settlements Are on the Horizon For Camp Lejeune Families Thanks to New Law
The rampant contamination of Camp Lejeune’s water supply lasted for over 30 years, impacting military members, their families, and civilian contractors. They were repeatedly exposed to highly toxic chemicals linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, organ damage, and other life-threatening health issues. Despite the persistent negligence of the U.S. military and the devastating outcomes, Camp Lejeune families could not file personal injury claims to recover compensation.
In North Carolina, where Camp Lejeune is located, a statute of repose restricted plaintiffs from bringing claims more than 10 years after the injury was inflicted. This prevented the overwhelming majority of Camp Lejeune families from filing claims because they didn’t develop health problems or didn’t know they were connected to toxins in the water supply until after the deadline had already passed.
After decades of pushback from activists like retired Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 reopened the window for Camp Lejeune plaintiffs to file claims. Settlements have been delayed as plaintiffs had to recover their own evidence of exposure to contaminated water, forcing them to search for housing and medical paperwork that is over 40 years old in most cases. However, the court is working to prioritize speedy settlements in acknowledgment of the deteriorating health and aging of plaintiffs involved.
What a Camp Lejeune Settlement Could Be Worth
The Honoring Our PACT Act, which contains the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, has set aside about 6.7 billion dollars to go towards settling Camp Lejeune claims. Given that the government has essentially accepted liability by creating a new path for compensation instead of simply letting the statute of limitations stand, the next hurdle for plaintiffs is establishing their eligibility, the connection between their injury and their damages, and the value of their damages.
There is not one standard settlement amount, as the plaintiffs’ illnesses and injuries range in severity and the consequences of injuries vary by the individual. Determining the dollar value of a settlement for a personal injury lawsuit is usually accomplished by quantifying and validating both economic and non-economic damages.
Considering the fact that many plaintiffs suffered some form of severe injury or illness, were repeatedly exposed to carcinogens over a period of months or years, and have been burdened by decades worth of damages, settlements are likely to be substantial. Some lost children, became permanently disabled, or endured the physical and emotional toll of battling cancer and other diseases like Parkinson’s. Profound losses like these receive more compensation than more minor injuries with fewer long-term consequences.
Government Settlement Program Offers Quick But Limited Compensation
The exact dollar value will vary by individual claim, and we have yet to see the 130 pending Camp Lejeune lawsuits being heard in North Carolina get settled. Over 90,000 administrative claims have also been filed with the JAG office, which is still working to process the growing volume of cases. To reduce the load, they have devised a settlement program for plaintiffs who want a fast resolution to their administrative claim.
The maximum compensation for an individual would be $450,000, not including the extra $100,000 offered for wrongful death claims. However, the requirements to recover this level make it more likely that plaintiffs would receive significantly less than $450,000, and potentially less than their claim is truly worth. The JAG office’s settlement system divides injuries into tiers and accounts for the length of exposure, which are not necessarily poor metrics, but they do not always tell the full story of a plaintiff’s losses.
Injuries and illnesses that are designated as more severe receive a larger payout, even though an individual with a lower-tier injury could have experienced more extensive damages than someone with a higher-tier injury or illness. In favor of expediting the process, the government has drastically reduced the room for nuance that is necessary to secure a fair settlement.
Available Damages in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
In your personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for losses you have already sustained as a result of your injuries linked to exposure to toxins, as well as future losses. In the case of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits, many plaintiffs have dealt with years of medical debt, interrupted or stunted careers, and the emotional toll of undergoing treatment or accepting physical limitations.
It is important to account for both economic and non-economic damages when calculating the costs you have accumulated over time. If you were financially harmed by a loss, it is considered an economic damage. Any records you can supply, such as medical bills or pay stubs, can be helpful in verifying their value. Camp Lejeune plaintiffs can also seek compensation for their non-economic damages as reimbursement for emotional and intangible costs stemming from their illness or injuries. Common Camp Lejeune damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
Camp Lejeune families are finally on the verge of receiving long-overdue settlements for their damages, and our team is prepared to help guide you in seeking the maximum compensation possible. After decades of appalling negligence cost families their health, financial stability, quality of life, and more, we are committed to rectifying this by demanding fair settlements for our injured clients.
Given the challenges of obtaining years' worth of old records, documenting extensive damages, proving a connection between exposure to Camp Lejeune’s toxic chemicals and your illness or injuries, and navigating the dynamics of a mass tort issue, the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits require the resources, expertise, and skills that a personal injury lawyer can provide.
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, as the deadline to do so has been set for August 2024. You can start the process of seeking the compensation you deserve by scheduling a free case evaluation with a top personal injury attorney.