Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast. It is also home to one of the worst public water contamination disasters in history.
People suffering from cancer and other serious health conditions who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 may have been exposed to contaminated water. Here are answers to the five most asked questions about the Camp Lejeune water contamination catastrophe.
1. Should I file a Camp Lejeune claim with an attorney or the Department of Veterans Affairs?
If you or a loved one is suffering serious health conditions and you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987, you could have a legitimate claim.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) requires that all claims be filed on standard VA forms. The form you would need to complete is VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC.
This form should take about 15 minutes to complete. Upon completion, you must submit the form to the DAV. This can be done one of three ways:
a) Electronically through eBenefits via https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/apply
b) By phone. Contact your local DAV National Service Officer here: https://www.dav.org/veterans/find-your-local-office/
c) Mail a paper copy to a DAV National Service Office via https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/mailingaddresses.asp.
You should consider consulting an attorney if your disability claim has been previously denied and you believe they can help you get a better result from the VA. Starting the initial claim by submitting VA Form 21-0966 is strongly recommended.
2. What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is federal legislation that was included in a larger bill called Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This bill was signed into law by President Biden in August 2022. It will deliver comprehensive benefits to all generations of veterans who have suffered due to toxic exposure for the first time in our nation’s history. This includes veterans, their families, and workers at Camp Lejeune.
This new law will allow anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, to file a claim. They must have worked on the base for at least 30 days, have been exposed to the contaminated water, and suffered injuries. Even if you are not eligible for certain VA benefits, you could still be eligible for help under the new law.
3. How will my monthly VA benefits be affected if I file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
Filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was signed into law by President Biden as part of the PACT Act, will not affect your VA benefits. If you file a claim due to health problems due to possible contaminated water exposure, you could be compensated under the new law, and you will also continue to receive your VA benefits.
4. Can I file a lawsuit if my previous Camp Lejeune claims or disability benefits were denied?
Yes, thanks to the new law signed by President Biden that includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. Even if your VA claim was previously denied, you may now be able to receive compensation due to toxic water exposure at the base.
5. If my parents lived at Camp Lejeune, can I still file a lawsuit?
Yes. If you or a close family member lived at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and developed health problems, a new law is finally providing justice to those who suffered due to contaminated water at the base. The law covers veterans, civilians who worked at the base, contractors, and family members of veterans, including those who were in the womb and may have been exposed in utero during that timeframe.
How We Help Victims of Camp Lejeune
With a national presence and a wealth of experience litigating water contamination cases, Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel has fought on behalf of individuals like you for 20 years, aggressively fighting to hold companies and governments responsible for failing to keep individuals safe. If you have suffered serious injury or cancer caused by toxic water at Camp Lejeune, we can help.