Today, almost every person is aware of the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune. Since the 1950s, a huge amount of toxic chemicals have polluted the drinking water supply at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Several civilian and military personnel were exposed to these poisonous substances, which led to many types of cancer and other fatal ailments. This carried on until 1985. During this time, victims didn’t have a way to seek compensation for their suffering.
It was on August 2, 2022, that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) was passed by Congress, which made a way for seeking compensation. Under this law, any person who stayed for a month or more in this region between 1953 and 1987 and has suffered any ailments after consuming the toxic water can file a lawsuit.
In January 2024, a report on Aboutlawsuits.com shared that the U.S. government had issued nearly $1.5 million as Camp Lejeune lawsuit settlement payouts. The amount could resolve six claims presented by people affected by the contaminated water while serving, working, and living in the North Carolina U.S. Marine Corps during the stipulated period. Today, over 147,000 people have filed their complaints seeking monetary compensation for the damages they endured.
Hence, the crucial question to consider here is – is there any chance of quick settlement payouts, or is that a far-fetched reality? In this article, we will discuss this and also throw light on what victims can do to receive the compensation they deserve.
Not All Victims Will Get a Fast Settlement Payout
In January 2024, a news report on BloombergLaw.com revealed that over 85% of individuals are seeking compensation for getting exposed to the polluted waters at Camp Lejeune and suffering from it. However, these individuals aren’t eligible for fast-resolution payouts offered by the government based on the initial data discarded from several potential claimants.
A data management firm reports that an extra tens or hundreds of thousands of Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits filed with the Navy before the August 2023 deadline might reach the court. Maybe claimants might die before receiving the payout they deserve. It’s because a huge section of the claimants are older adults and are suffering from chronic ailments. They might not have enough years left to wait for a legal trial.
According to the latest Camp Lejeune lawsuit update, the Navy received close to 152,000 compensation claims on behalf of the workers, veterans, and various other individuals who stayed for a month at the base when the water contamination took place. The ones whose legal claims have been unresolved and rejected have the right to sue. To date, over 1,500 lawsuits have been filed by victims in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Is There a Chance for Immediate Camp Lejeune Settlement Payouts?
Not everything seems to be lost for Camp Lejeune victims for expecting quick settlement payouts. In September 2023, the Navy announced the ‘Elective Option,’ which was meant to act as a fast-resolution program for veterans and workers who had suffered because of tainted water exposure.
This program has been designed to bring about some improvement in the pace of recompensing dying or ailing veterans by expediting payouts that range between $100,000 and $550,000 to the ones who qualify for it. The claimant must have a confirmed diagnosis of their concerned ailment within 35 years after they left Camp Lejeune.
This option came into existence several months after Judge James C. Dever III warned lawyers that resolving every Camp Lejeune case might take a huge amount of time if no other way is discovered. According to the court filing data, the lawyers reported that the Justice Department had sanctioned 53 early resolution offers. However, there are pending 28 claims that appear to meet the criteria for the fast payout.
Furthermore, $2.05 million has been allotted for resolving eight claims. Additionally, a spokesperson from the Navy shared in an email that there is a need for advanced metrics linked with the Elective Option structure that might be implemented in 2024.
The Legal Resolution for Camp Lejeune Victims
Have you suffered because of the toxic waters at Camp Lejeune? Or do you know anyone who has or has been diagnosed with life-threatening ailments like prostate, bladder, cervical, esophageal, and kidney cancer or Parkinson’s disease? If yes, then filing a lawsuit is a way out. Alternatively, choosing the Elective Option is also a good decision.
But when you choose the Elective Option, you might risk getting less compensation than what you could have through a traditional Camp Lejeune lawsuit. But you have to consider the never-ending wait! Hence, it’s a judgment call that victims should make based on their requirements and current life conditions. Victims who are elderly and have fewer years to live can choose the Elective Option.
On the other hand, if you decide to file a lawsuit, you need to get in touch with a lawyer. TorHoerman Law states that a lawyer will guide you through the legal process and will ensure that you get fair compensation for the losses you have endured. It is necessary to share with your lawyer substantial evidence, such as medical reports, travel records, medical bills, and health care data for them to build a solid case.
To sum up, almost everyone is aware of the dangers caused by the Camp Lejeune water contamination and the delay in settlement payouts. It is necessary to stay updated on the lawsuit settlement process before filing one yourself. Similarly, it is necessary to know how the Elective Option has benefited the victims before deciding to opt for it. Finally, once victims have medical evidence of their ailments because of the toxic waters, they can seek legal recourse.
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