Victims of water contamination at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune scored a major victory in August when President Joe Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) into law.
Servicemembers, their families and civilians who lived, worked, or served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days at any point between August 1953 and December 1987 and contracted certain illnesses or health conditions may now file a Camp Lejeune claim or lawsuit against the federal government.
While the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a long-awaited opportunity for veterans and their families to seek justice, there is unfortunately a lot of false information being provided about the Camp Lejeune claims process. Incorrect information about Camp Lejeune claims can be dangerous. Veterans or their family members assume the Camp Lejeune information they read is accurate. False statements could discourage them from filing a Camp Lejeune claim.
If you suspect that your Camp Lejeune illness originated from the contaminated water you were exposed to while serving at the base, you may be entitled to compensation for health care benefits and damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, enjoyment of life, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the common false claims being circulated.
False Information About Camp Lejeune Injury Claims
Should you pay a Camp Lejeune attorney up front? No. When you sign a contract and hire a Camp Lejeune attorney, you shouldn’t have to make any payment.
Veterans organizations around the country have issued numerous statements warning veterans to be wary of Camp Lejeune scams, which unfortunately are happening. However, some of the information has been misleading. One such warning in October stated claimants often must pay a fee up front to their attorney, and that the attorney may keep some of that money regardless of the outcome. A reputable Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney will only collect a fee if you win your claim; that fee, which varies and should be included in your contract, will be deducted from your final settlement.
Will winning a Camp Lejeune claim end VA benefits? If you currently receive VA disability or healthcare reimbursement benefits due to Camp Lejeune water exposure or plan to apply for them, you will NOT lose the benefits by filing a claim or pursuing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. However, if you are awarded financial compensation in a lawsuit, the final award may be reduced based on your current benefit amount.
Is filing a successful Camp Lejeune claim easy without an attorney? Much of the false information being circulated says the Camp Lejeune lawsuit process is “quick and easy” and that you can do it on your own. However, a successful Camp Lejeune water contamination claim is neither quick nor easy.
For example, a lot of documentation will be necessary to prove your claim, such as medical records or where exactly you lived on base (no matter how long ago it was). And in addition to substantiating that your illness was “as least likely as not” caused by toxic exposure, you have to demonstrate what that loss of health was to you.
The influx of expected claims is another problem that could stand between you and proper compensation. Initial claims are being handled by the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), but the process so far appears to be slow moving.
Finally, if your initial claim is denied by the federal government, you will be required to file a lawsuit in federal court. This is a complicated process for which you will need an experienced attorney.
How a Camp Lejuene Attorney Can Help
A Camp Lejeune lawyer with experience in toxic contamination cases can take all the work off your hands and explain the help available for Camp Lejeune toxic water injuries. They know how to find and organize relevant documentation, give you a clearer idea of how much compensation you’re entitled to, and help prove the relationship between the toxic water and your health problems. This might even include hiring expert witnesses and finding scientific reports. These things would be virtually impossible without an attorney.
Your lawyer can also keep track of important deadlines. The deadline to file a claim with the Navy JAG is August 10, 2024. If your claim is denied or no decision is rendered, you can then file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit in federal court.
Unfortunately, veterans are being bombarded constantly with radio, TV, print, and social media ads for Camp Lejeune lawyers. But how do you know if the attorneys you contact are qualified and not looking to scam Camp Lejeune veterans?
A competent Camp Lejeune lawyer will always take the time to go over your options during a free consultation. You’ll never be asked for payment up front and will have all of your questions answered throughout the process. A reputable firm will have trial experience in water contamination cases and reviews from satisfied clients. If the attorney you’re considering doesn’t check all of these boxes, look elsewhere.
The attorneys at Murray & Murray have the expertise and dedication necessary to maximize your Camp Lejeune claim. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Call 800-624-3009 or contact us online to get started.
Nolan E. Murray is a partner at Murray & Murray, Co. L.P.A. His areas of practice include plaintiffs' trial practice, commercial litigation, shareholder and investor litigation, breach of contract, personal injury, wrongful death actions and insurance bad faith.