Camp Lejeune lawsuits mark one of the most prominent water contamination cases in the history of the United States. The tainted water affected close to a million people who worked or stayed here between 1953 and 1987. These residents and veterans were likely exposed to drinking water polluted with chemicals linked to chronic health issues, such as birth defects and various types of cancer.
In September 2023, NBC News reported on women who stayed at the base and had suffered from stillbirths, miscarriages, and various other defects. However, many women claimed that their losses were dismissed. LaVeda Kendrix, a 65-year-old Marine veteran who had nine miscarriages and one stillbirth, said that it seems they are invisible to the government in terms of lawsuit settlements.
The majority of the cases are now under acute scrutiny, leaving several women feeling legally neglected. Besides women, several veterans have also suffered from kidney and bladder cancer and are yet to be compensated.
In this article, we will discuss whether the victims of the contaminated waters at Camp Lejeune are likely to receive a settlement or not.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuits: Can Settlement Happen Soon?
Several veterans, along with their respective family members, are still eagerly anticipating the resolution of their Camp Lejeune cases. In September 2023, the Lawsuit Information Center shared news of a new settlement offer for specific victims affected by the polluted waters at Camp Lejeune.
According to the report, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Navy have initiated an ‘Elective Option’ process aimed at expediting compensation for individuals affected by the toxic Camp Lejeune water. The use of the term ‘expedite’ in this context indicates a deliberate effort to accelerate the approval of Camp Lejeune settlement amounts.
The crucial issue at hand is whether this settlement offer is genuinely exciting. While some may answer in the negative, as lawyers handling Camp Lejeune lawsuits may have expected more from the DOJ, it’s worth noting that the attempt to expedite settlements may indeed be appealing to a few victims. Having said that, one can only hope that this new option expedites matters in the true sense of the term.
What Will Be the Settlement Offer Under the Elective Option?
In simple terms, this new option allows eligible veterans to receive compensation based on the severity of their ailments and the duration of their exposure. Those seeking compensation must show that they were at Camp Lejeune during the contamination stage for a minimum of 30 days and have certain conditions associated with it.
For example, if a victim has endured liver or kidney cancer due to prolonged exposure to contaminated waters, they may be eligible for an approximate settlement amount of $450,000. Conversely, someone with Parkinson’s disease or any other milder condition might receive less compensation, around $100,000. In the case of a Tier 1 wrongful death lawsuit, compensation can range from $100,000 to $550,000.
TorHoerman Law states that victims must seek the legal guidance of an attorney when attempting to receive compensation. Since attorneys are aware of the legal process, they can ensure that victims don’t make any mistakes when filing a lawsuit. In addition to preparing a compelling legal case, attorneys also inform victims about settlement amounts and the factors on which the final amount will depend.
Regarding the new initiative, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is offering quick settlements to attract victims, recognizing that many of them feel their pursuit of justice could be never-ending due to contamination.
The goal of this “Elective Option” is to streamline compensation for those who qualify. Submitting the necessary documents to the Department of the Navy is crucial for utilizing this option. Afterward, the claim will be evaluated, and an offer will be extended.
Victims may receive payment within two months once they accept the offer. It’s essential to understand that this initiative falls under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was enforced in 2022 to aid veterans harmed by contaminated water.
The Diseases That Qualify
The elective settlement program applies to claimants suffering from a ‘qualifying injury’ as listed by the program, which includes nine eligible health conditions or diseases for compensation:
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Liver Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Leukemias of all kinds
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Systemic Sclerosis
- End-Stage Renal Disease
Victims need to share the correct medical documents that prove they suffered from the listed ailments to ensure they get the desired compensation.
The Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been a prolonged battle for many veterans. The introduction of the elective settlement program offers hope for quicker compensation for eligible victims. While it appears promising, its true effectiveness will only become clear as successful settlements emerge without lengthy delays.
The legal hurdles faced by Camp Lejeune victims should not discourage others from pursuing their claims. Rather, more lawsuits can raise awareness and encourage government authorities to initiate positive changes. Therefore, it remains crucial for victims to seek medical assistance and legal recourse.