There is not a current class action lawsuit against Camp Lejeune, but that does not mean you have no legal options. In fact, recent legislation allows victims of toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 to file a claim for their losses. Passed as part of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022 went into effect on August 10, 2022.
The legislation places a strict two-year limit for filing. So, if you or a loved one suffered injury or death due to toxic chemical exposure in Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, contact us. We have personal injury class action attorneys on staff who can discuss your legal options with you.
Previous Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit Dismissed
In 2011, victims of toxic water contamination filed multidistrict litigation (MDL) against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The suit alleged that between 1953 and 1987, people who lived, worked, and served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina suffered personal injury and wrongful death due to toxic water contamination. The suit states this contamination resulted from the government’s failure to disclose the risks of contamination at the site.
The lawsuit was dismissed as it fell outside the North Carolina statute of limitations for personal injury cases. In addition, individual lawsuits filed against Camp Lejeune by former military service members were dismissed under the Feres doctrine. This doctrine prohibits current or former members of the armed forces from pursuing legal action against the federal government under the FTCA for injuries sustained while on active duty.
The CLJA allows victims whose cases were previously dismissed for the above reasons to file a claim for their injuries. If you were previously involved in the 2011 class action lawsuit, a private personal injury claim, or a wrongful death lawsuit against Camp Lejeune for injuries related to toxic water contamination, get legal help. Our team can help you file an individual claim.
Why Are People Filing Lawsuits Against Camp Lejeune?
According to lawsuits filed against the U.S. Department of the Navy, individuals who lived, worked, or served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to toxic substances. The toxic substances were present in water provided by Camp Lejeune’s public utilities.
Victims who ingested, cooked with, or used the contaminated water for hygiene purposes suffered from various symptoms and illnesses, including chest pains, cancer, preeclampsia, premature birth, birth defects, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and wrongful death. These lawsuits alleged the Navy and Camp Lejeune:
- Permitted or caused pollutants and contaminants to exist in Camp Lejeune’s water supply
- Failed to provide residents, workers, and visitors at Camp Lejeune with uncontaminated water
- Failed to monitor the water supply
- Did not heed warnings regarding the contamination of the water supply
- Withheld important information regarding the water contamination
The claims state that since the Navy and Camp Lejeune had a duty of care to ensure the safety of drinking water at Camp Lejeune, and they failed in that duty of care, they are liable for the resultant illnesses and associated losses.
Who Is Eligible to File a Claim Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
If you lived, worked, or served in the military at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you may be eligible to file a claim under the CLJA. If you choose to file a claim, you must be able to prove that:
- You were exposed to contaminated water for at least 30 consecutive days at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987
- You suffered injuries or illness as a direct result of your exposure to that contaminated water
If you meet the above criteria, you can file a claim with the Judge Advocate Attorney General (JAG) of the Navy’s Tort Claims Unit (TCU). They will review your claim, including the completed form and documentation, and determine if you are eligible for a settlement and if so, how much.
What Is the Process to File a Claim Under the CLJA?
Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination must file a claim with JAG before filing a lawsuit for damages against the Navy. If JAG reviews your injury or wrongful death claim, they will accept or decline your claim within six months. If your claim settlement is denied, or the value is insufficient for your needs, you may still be able to file a civil lawsuit to recoup your losses.
Like previous lawsuits, any civil claim for compensation from the Navy or Camp Lejeune must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Depending on the conditions surrounding your case, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit with other plaintiffs or an individual civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Claim Under the CLJA?
Although you can file your claim independently, the process can be extremely complicated and time-consuming. If you overlook a portion of the form or fail to provide documentation to substantiate any part of your claim, your claim could be rejected or your settlement significantly reduced.
The injury attorneys at our firm can help you establish a financial value for your claim, compile the necessary documentation to prove your claim, and help you complete and submit the required forms.
Since there is a two-year limit for submitting claims under the CLJA, it is in your interest to work with an attorney who knows how to obtain and submit complete claim information promptly.
Contact Our Office to Discuss Your Camp Lejeune Injury Claim
If you or a loved one was affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you may be able to submit a claim for compensation for any injuries you suffered as a result. Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today to learn how to submit a claim and whether a future class action lawsuit may be in your interests.
We Can Help.