Eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
Camp Lejeune Settlement Elective Option Offered by Navy, DOJ to Speed Up Resolution of Claims
The U.S. Department of the Navy and Department of Justice have proposed an expedited settlement process, which could help resolve tens of thousands of Camp Lejeune lawsuits brought over injuries caused by water contamination at the North Carolina Marine training base.
As part of the proposal, the government is offering up to $550,000 to veterans and their families if they suffered certain medical conditions known to be caused by the contaminated water, with the exact amounts varying based on the specific injury diagnosed and length of exposure to toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune.
Nearly 100,000 claims have already been presented under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA) of 2022 since it went into effect last year, opening a two year window for lawsuits to be filed by individuals injured by contaminated water on the base between the mid-1950s and late-1980s. However, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to increase over the coming year, and it is widely expected that the litigation will become the largest mass tort in U.S. history by the time the filing window closes in August 2024.
The sprawling litigation involves dozens of different injuries allegedly caused by chemicals known to have contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, including various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects and other injuries, each of which plaintiffs must establish was at least as likely as not to have been caused by exposure to water on the base.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Over the past year, the Navy and DOJ have faced sharp criticism over delays reaching Camp Lejeune settlements with individuals presenting claims, following reports that indicated no agreements had been reached, even though the law required each claimant to wait 180 days after submitting notice of their claim before filing a lawsuit. The administrative period was intended to allow the U.S. government time to resolve claims, but there has been no visible effort to achieve those goals.
Camp Lejeune Settlement Offer
This week, the plans were announced for a new Elective Option (PDF), which will provide veterans and family members injured by water at Camp Lejeune to receive fast-track settlement. However, individuals who do not want to accept the offer can still pursue a lawsuit through the U.S. judicial system.
The Camp Lejeune Elective Option would provide settlements ranging from about $100,000 to $550,000, for individuals who suffered any of the following ailments:
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Bladder cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Liver cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney Disease
- Systemic sclerosis/scleroderma
All of those injuries have been identified as potentially linked to Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
“The Elective Option presented today should be of great interest to eligible Americans who seek a streamlined process to resolve their claims,” Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven said in a press release. “We recognize this takes a whole-of-government response, and along with DOD and DOJ, we are linked with Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies to support a fair and streamlined process. We are committed to ensuring that every valid Camp Lejeune claim is resolved fairly and as expeditiously as possible.”
The Navy notes that claimants who do not qualify because they have not suffered those specific injuries, or for other reasons, may still file a claim and seek relief. The Navy noted that there may be additional settlement frameworks in the future, as the government continues to look at the scientific evidence, and as the litigation develops.
The Elective Option was proposed just days after parties in the litigation submitted competing Camp Lejeune trial and discovery plans to begin preparing the first bellwether test cases for trial.
While the outcome of the early Camp Lejeune bellwether trials would not have a binding impact on other claims, the amount of any lawsuit payouts awarded may help the parties determine how juries will respond in future cases and facilitate settlement negotiations for different categories of injuries.
louisSeptember 16, 2023 at 7:56 pm
it should be noted individuals who were in the area of the 9/.11 attack and exposed to toxic air have and are recieving compensation for injuries whihe marines and their families who were exposed to and ingested large quanties of toxic and contaminated water are moving at a slow pace to compensate veterans and their families for their in injuries. am already represented r by an attorney and am no[Show More]it should be noted individuals who were in the area of the 9/.11 attack and exposed to toxic air have and are recieving compensation for injuries whihe marines and their families who were exposed to and ingested large quanties of toxic and contaminated water are moving at a slow pace to compensate veterans and their families for their in injuries. am already represented r by an attorney and am not satisfied by the pace of the resolution of these cases.
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