Between 1953 and 1987, millions of people were exposed to toxic water contamination at the Camp Lejeune military base. Not only did the government fail to fix this issue for decades, but the contamination caused hundreds of thousands of people to become sick with life-long, debilitating diseases. For those who are affected, here is a primer for understanding the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022:
A History of Camp Lejeune’s Toxic Water Contamination
Water contamination at Camp Lejeune is one of the biggest scandals to hit the US government in several decades. With millions of people affected, this toxic contamination has upended many service members’ lives. The government failed to address water contamination issues where large amounts of volatile organic compounds infested the water sources at Camp Lejeune. Industrial spills, underground storage tank leaks, water disposal site mismanagement, and other negligent behavior led to this widespread water contamination.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Has Been Signed into Law
As of August 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has been officially signed into law and sets up systems to assist those stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953-1987. The legislation was just one part of a much larger act, the Honoring Our PACT Act, which aims to provide settlements to military members exposed to toxic burn pits and other long-term health hazards. The newly signed law will help provide help for the millions of people that have been affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
You Can File a Camp Lejeune Justice Act Lawsuit Now
Once the Camp Lejeune Justice Act passed Congress, it ensured lawsuits against Camp Lejeune could move forward. Anyone who “resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed” to toxic water at Camp Lejeune for 30 days, or longer, between 1953 and 1987, is considered eligible for potential claims. Alongside military members, and their families, civilian contractors that meet these requirements qualify for potential settlements under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
How are Family Members of Deceased Loved Ones Affected?
According to the text of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, both relatives, and legal representatives can file claims on behalf of either living or deceased individuals – as long as they meet the requirements laid out by the bill. In regards to relatives that qualify, an individual’s child, spouse, parent, or sibling can file a suit on their behalf. This helps protect the families that have had family members pass away from the illnesses they gained due to toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
A List of Illnesses Linked to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
There is a large list of illnesses linked to the toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune. These are sometimes life-long and are in most cases life-altering at the very minimum. The list of illnesses officially connected to water contamination at Camp Lejeune was put together by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a public health agency that worked closely with other agencies to get the Camp Lejeune Justice Act passed. Many other independent studies were analyzed by the ATSDR to determine an exhaustive list of diseases connected to the Camp Lejeune scandal, however. Here is a list of the known, officially-linked diseases:
-Cardiac Birth Defects
-Neural Tube Defects
-Low Birth Weight
-Soft Tissue Cancer
-Oral Cleft Defects
-End-Stage Renal Disease
How Does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act Differ from VA Disability Benefits?
Before the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, congress passed similar legislation in 2012 (the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012) that allowed exposed individuals to gain some VA benefits. However, even those who have already received benefits from the 2012 law, or who have current VA disability benefits, are still qualified to receive a settlement under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. Both military members, and their family members, qualified for VA benefits in this 2012 law as long as they suffered from one of the following, officially-approved medical conditions due to water contamination exposure:
Filing Now is Your Best Bet
Because there is a lot of money already appropriated by Congress to pay Camp Lejeune Justice Act settlements (more than two billion), it’s essential that all affected individuals file their lawsuit ASAP. Doing so will help you find the restitution and justice that you deserve on a quick, convenient timeline.