Camp Lejeune Claims Process
The PACT Act allows persons exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to seek compensation for illness or death.
A person must meet a few key requirements before one can qualify for compensation.
- First, one must have been present at Camp Lejeune for 30 days;
- Second, the 30 days at Camp Lejeune must have occurred between 1953 and 1988;
- Third, one must have become sick, or a family member must have died as a result of exposure to contaminated water.
The Federal Government has known about the contamination at Camp Lejeune for decades. It has done studies that have uncovered “presumptive” diseases linked to exposure to contaminated water. Those are:
- Kidney cancer;
- Liver Cancer;
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma;
- Adult leukemia;
- Multiple myeloma;
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes;
- Parkinson’s disease.
Other diseases that are not “presumptively” linked to exposure, but which may nonetheless have been caused by exposure (thus entitling an affected person to compensation) are:
- Breast cancer;
- Lung cancer;
- Esophageal cancer;
- Neurobehavioral effects;
- Renal toxicity;
- Hepatic steatosis;
- Female infertility or miscarriage.
Like other legal claims, how a person proves a case will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. However, the government has made the proverbial hoops involved for Camp Lejeune claimants a little easier to jump through than normal civil court cases.
First, instead of having to bring a lawsuit, a person can file an administrative claim using a form. As long as a person was present for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune at any time between 1953 and 1988 (the days do not have to be consecutive), and as long as the person developed an illness or a family member passed away, due to suspected contaminated-water exposure, a person can bring a claim.
Second, instead of having to file suit in federal court, claimants must first file a claim on a form. At first, the government will not require the submission of medical records. As claims proceed, however, it is expected that medical and other evidence will be needed to support claims that persons were (1) present at Camp Lejeune for 30 days during the required timeframe (1953-1988) and (2) developed an illness because of exposure to contaminated water.
Third, to prove that an illness was caused by exposure, a claimant must only show that exposure “at least as likely as not” caused an illness. This is an easier standard than in civil cases, where the standard is “by a preponderance of the evidence,” and far lower than in criminal cases, where the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
If a person is unable to resolve a claim within 180 days of filing the form, the person can bring suit in federal court. The suit must be brought in United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Attorneys at Arnold & Smith Can Help You Identify, Develop, and File Claims
Persons who have contracted one of the “presumptive” diseases listed above, or one of the non-presumptive diseases, or any other condition they believe is related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1988 should contact the professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to explore the relative strengths and weaknesses of potential claims.
Service members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1988 will likely have little difficulty proving their presence on the base for a period of at least 30 days. Family members of service members may also be able to easily prove their presence for the required period. Others—persons who were employed at now-defunct businesses; vendors who traveled on and off the base at various times over the years; visitors to the base—may need assistance in compiling the evidence needed to meet the requirements for compensation.
Persons whose genetics or lifestyles could have contributed to the development of their diseases may need the assistance of Arnold & Smith’s litigation professionals to identify and retain experts who can determine that a person’s exposure to contaminated water was at least as likely as not the cause of a person’s disease.Many Death Claims Will Require the Opening of an Estate
Family members whose loved ones died because of exposure to contaminated water may also bring claims.
While some administrative claims may only require a declaration regarding a decedent, other administrative claims and all claims that involve litigation in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina will likely require the opening of an estate on behalf of the deceased claimant.
The litigation professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are experienced at handling death claims in North Carolina, where opening and maintaining an estate on behalf of the deceased claimant is nearly always required. We can help persons whose loved ones passed away after the contraction of diseases related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The legal professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, can assist innocent victims injured by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune obtain the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love has suffered illness or death from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, contact our experienced attorneys to schedule your free initial consultation today.