Camp Lejeune Legal Options

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 offers new legal options to those harmed between 1953 and 1987. Victims can file lawsuits against the federal government for compensation. The money comes from a separate budget from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and does not affect VA benefits. Given the complex claims process, many are seeking Camp Lejeune legal assistance from experienced lawyers. Learn about your Camp Lejeune legal options and the steps required to pursue them.

What Are My Camp Lejeune Legal Options?

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If you qualify, Camp Lejeune legal options include pursuing compensation from the U.S. government for harm caused by the contaminated water on the base. This is thanks to new laws.

New Camp Lejeune legal options were made available on August 10, 2022, when the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act was enacted.

Under the PACT Act, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022 allows qualifying veterans and loved ones to submit a claim with the Department of the Navy (DON) if they were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Before the CLJA, the only options for compensation were through VA disability or health care benefits. Even worse, only people diagnosed with one of the presumptive health conditions qualified. This left countless Camp Lejeune victims without any relief.

With the CLJA, Camp Lejeune victims have a new pathway that does not affect any existing or future VA benefits.

Check your eligibility right now with a free claim review.

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Camp Lejeune Claims vs. Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Camp Lejeune claims and Camp Lejeune lawsuits are often used interchangeably. This is because the two are connected, but they are not the same.

The first step for anyone who wishes to take action under the CLJA is to file an administrative claim with the Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

From there, your Camp Lejeune claim can take several pathways, including becoming a civil lawsuit.

Here is more information on how the claims process works.

Camp Lejeune Claim

This is the initial step where individuals who believe they were harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy (DON).

Claimants must follow precise guidelines and provide specific documentation to support their claims. They can print, scan, and email their applications. Additionally, the Navy recently announced the launch of its Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claims Management Portal, enabling individuals to submit their claims online.

Administrative claims at a glance:
  • This step is a prerequisite before a lawsuit can be initiated.
  • During this stage, claimants present their cases with evidence to support their claims.
  • The DON reviews these claims and has 180 days to decide whether to grant or deny them.
  • Everyone has to do this step first before they can go to court.
  • If a claim is either denied or remains undecided six (6) months after submission, individuals can pursue relief in a federal court.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

A Camp Lejeune lawsuit occurs when claimants take their case to court. This can happen if the DON denies an administrative claim, does not respond within 6 months, or a claimant rejects a settlement offer.

Camp Lejeune personal injury lawyers can help every step of the way, especially if you file a lawsuit.

Tip: Hiring a Camp Lejeune lawyer from the beginning can mean they handle all your paperwork requirements and heavy lifting. They will also be familiar with the specifics of your case if you need to file a lawsuit. Don’t wait.

Camp Lejeune lawsuits will show how your illness was caused by Camp Lejeune’s water and demand that the government pay for the harm done.

Camp Lejeune lawsuits at a glance:
  • If the DON denies or fails to respond to an administrative claim within 180 days, claimants have the option to file a lawsuit against the government in federal court in North Carolina.
  • A lawsuit is a more formal and involved legal process, typically requiring legal representation and appearing in court before a judge and/or jury.
  • A lawsuit can be more time-consuming but might result in higher compensation if the court decides the government is liable for the claimant’s injuries or illnesses.

What Is the Camp Lejeune Elective Option?

The Elective Option (EO) is a framework developed by the DON and the Department of Justice (DOJ). It allegedly will help streamline payouts and resolve claims faster than the standard Camp Lejeune settlement timeline.

However, many feel it is an attempt to lowball those harmed by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water yet again.

The EO has tiered payouts based on the evidence linking the contamination to specific diseases and the duration of exposure.

EO settlement offers range from $100,000 to $550,000. While this sounds like a lot of money, many families and legal experts feel this could be significantly lower than what claimants would be awarded in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

The EO is a voluntary process, so applying is not required. Claimants who think they qualify for the EO must first submit an administrative claim to the DON.

Watch this short video from our founder, who is fighting for justice for his dad, a U.S. Marine who died of bladder cancer from Camp Lejeune water.

Camp Lejeune Claims Center: John’s Story Video Thumbnail

Hear from our founder, Chris Carberg, on how losing his dad to Camp Lejeune bladder cancer became the driving force behind our relentless pursuit of justice for every Camp Lejeune victim.

Duration: 02 min 43 sec

I used to ask my dad, “What was it like when you were a Marine, or when you were formerly a Marine?” And he would correct me every time, he’d say, “You’re never formerly a Marine. It’s never something in the past. Once you’re a Marine, you’re a Marine for life.”

My name is Chris Carberg and my father was United States Marine John Carberg, who passed away from bladder cancer.

My dad was 17 years old when he joined the Marines. And his dad was a Marine, his brother was a Marine. It was something in our whole family that we were proud of. He lived on a military base.

My father was at Camp Lejeune for, I believe less than 60 days. He had no idea that there was anything wrong with the water.

And to think that people were spending their last moments, before they were deployed to dangerous situations, being poisoned is absolutely infuriating. We had families at Camp Lejeune. We had families on the base. We had mothers who were pregnant drinking that water.

What changed with the PACT Act and with the Camp Lejeune Act of 2022, is that for the first time, the government lowered and dropped its own immunity to being prosecuted. Veterans, their family members, they are able for the first time to file lawsuits against the government.

My dad never cared about his legacy, but what he cared about was his family. He cared about my mom, he cared about me and my sister. He cared about us. and I think that what he would want is what he always wanted. For his family to be taken care of, for my mom to be taken care of. My dad would never do something like this for himself, but he would do it for my mom in a heartbeat.

When my son and daughter ask me eventually, “What happened to Pop-pop?” I have to tell them the truth, which was that, “Well, Pop-pop was serving his country proudly. He did everything the right way, doing that that he could.” And now it’s our turn, it’s our turn to care for him and while he was sick and alive, we fought for him. We did our very best.

It’s our job as families to honor the memory of our loved ones by fighting on their behalf when they can’t fight for themselves anymore.

Camp Lejeune Legal Compensation

While there is no way to know how much you will get for your Camp Lejeune water claim, experienced lawyers will work to build the strongest case possible and help you get the highest payouts.

A top Camp Lejeune water contamination legal team can:

  1. Determine your eligibility to file a claim.
  2. Gather medical records, proof of service, and any other evidence needed.
  3. File your Camp Lejeune water lawsuit on your behalf.
  4. Negotiate a Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement.

If the Camp Lejeune water settlement amount you are offered does not meet expectations, your legal team may decide to argue your case in court.

Our legal partners have already helped over 30,000 families with Camp Lejeune claims.

Find out if we can help your family by getting a free case review right now.

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Who Can File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

Anyone harmed after spending at least 30 days on the Jacksonville base between 1953 and 1987 could be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.

1941:

Camp Lejeune Founded

1953 to 1987:

Camp Lejeune residents are exposed to toxic chemicals in the water supply

This includes active duty service members, military personnel, civilian workers, and family members who lived in or visited housing on the base.

Family members often included pregnant women, infants, and children, all exposed to the contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Many of these victims are between 35 and 70 years old today. Thanks to the CLJA, victims and their loved ones may now have these new Camp Lejeune legal options, even if they are already receiving benefits or were denied in the past.

RELATED: Find Out If Your Family Member Was at Camp Lejeune

Do I Need a Camp Lejeune Water Lawyer?

Working with a Camp Lejeune water lawyer is advisable to navigate complex legal processes and increase your chances of getting compensation as quickly as possible.

Due to strict legal requirements and deadlines, trying to file your claim alone can be overwhelming. You might also not be sure if you can even file a claim, but you might still be eligible.

The best and fastest way to get answers is to speak with a Camp Lejeune water attorney.

Camp Lejeune Claims Center works with some of the best law firms, so you get:
  • Access to experienced lawyers, paralegals, and other legal professionals
  • Free, confidential case reviews
  • Proven success in handling mass tort (injury) claims for victims across the country

The Camp Lejeune Claims Center can connect you with a Camp Lejeune water lawyer who can help you understand your rights.

Connect with the Camp Lejeune Claims Center right now at (866) 473-4764.

After decades of repeated denials and a lack of proper financial relief, you or your loved one may finally be able to get the compensation you are owed.

Understanding the Camp Lejeune legal process can feel overwhelming, so getting top-quality legal services is highly recommended.

Seeking professional Camp Lejeune legal assistance can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process with ease. This can significantly increase your chances of a successful claim.

Don’t face this process alone. The Camp Lejeune Claims Center can connect you with some of the best trial lawyers in the country if you qualify.

See if we can help by calling (866) 473-4764 or filling out our free online case review form right now.

Camp Lejeune Legal Options FAQs

What are my Camp Lejeune legal options?

You have several legal options if affected by Camp Lejeune water contamination.

Most importantly, you can pursue compensation from the federal government for harm suffered due to the contamination under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

This act allows victims, including veterans, to submit a new claim with the Department of the Navy (DON), seeking compensation without affecting any existing or future VA benefits.

You can file a lawsuit if your claim is denied or ignored for 180 days or more. Seeking professional advice from a skilled Camp Lejeune law firm is recommended to navigate these options effectively.

What is the new law for Camp Lejeune?

The new law for Camp Lejeune is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022, part of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

The CLJA grants those exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to submit compensation claims with the Department of the Navy (DON).

It’s possible to file claims even if VA claims have been filed in the past. VA benefits won’t be affected by filing a Camp Lejeune legal claim.

Are Camp Lejeune claims the same as lawsuits?

No, Camp Lejeune claims and lawsuits are not the same, but they are interconnected.

An administrative claim is the initial step to getting justice. You’ll need to submit the claim and evidence to the Department of the Navy (DON).

If the claim is denied or remains undecided for 180 days, you can then pursue a lawsuit, which is a more formal and involved step in the Camp Lejeune legal process.

For best results, work with a Camp Lejeune lawyer to file your claims and avoid any hassles.

Will the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit‌ be a class action?

It is not likely that the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit will be a class action. That said, the way lawsuits are initially processed may resemble a class action due to the vast number flooding one single North Carolina court.

For example, in May 2023, the court consolidated all Camp Lejeune lawsuits for pretrial discovery (investigation). However, most lawsuits will likely be handled on an individual basis.

What chemicals were in Camp Lejeune’s toxic water?

The chemicals in the contaminated drinking water are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

These included benzene, dichloroethylene (DCE), tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene or PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), and vinyl chloride.

These chemicals have been linked with many serious health conditions, such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and many other cancers. Parkinson’s disease, female infertility, and birth defects are also linked.

How do I get a Camp Lejeune legal case evaluation?

Get a free Camp Lejeune legal case evaluation right now. We can help you find out what your Camp Lejeune legal options are through a free and confidential Camp Lejeune claim review process.

Brian CookeReviewed by:Brian Cooke

U.S. Marine Corps Veteran & Partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Brian Cooke is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest mass tort firms. He has dedicated over 20 years to fighting for justice on behalf of his clients and their families, including many veterans harmed through no fault of their own.

The Camp Lejeune Claims Center exists to help military veterans harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to get the financial compensation they deserve. We're ready to help you — at no out-of-pocket cost to you or your family.

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). (2017, January). Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/MarineCorpsBaseCampLejeune/CampLejeune_Water_Factsheet_508.pdf
  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). (2014, January 16). Chemicals involved. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/chem_descriptions.html
  3. Bove, F., Ruckart, P., Maslia, M., & Larson, T. (2014, February 19). Evaluation of mortality among Marines and Navy personnel exposed to contaminated drinking water at USMC Base Camp Lejeune: A retrospective cohort study – environmental health. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-069X-13-10
  4. Browder, C., Munden, J., Kerr, R., Talley, A., & Bergin, M. (2022, June 9). Families fight for compensation for exposure to deadly, toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Retrieved September 27, 2023, from https://www.wral.com/section-of-cemetery-for-camp-lejeune-babies-now-families-fight-for-compensation-for-exposure-to-deadly-toxic-water/20323042/
  5. Congress.gov. (2021, October 19). H.R.2192 – Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2192/text?r=215&s=1
  6. National Research Council (US) Committee on Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune. (2009). Contaminated water supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing potential health effects. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25009942/
  7. NBC News. (2014, February 19). Camp Lejeune study finds higher cancer death risk. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/camp-lejeune-study-finds-higher-cancer-death-risk-n33991
  8. Office of Public Affairs U.S. Department of Justice. (2023, September 6). Justice Department and Department of the Navy announce voluntary elective option for more efficient resolution of Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-and-department-navy-announce-voluntary-elective-option-more-efficient
  9. Sokolove Law. (2023, September 24). Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.sokolovelaw.com/personal-injury/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/
  10. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, September 10). Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/
  11. United States Navy. (n.d.). Public guidance on Elective Option for Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from https://www.navy.mil/Portals/1/clja/Public_Guidance_Elective_Option_CLJA.pdf?ver=7_2gY5dyX6na9QZ2gn-vkw%3D%3D

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