The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, enabling toxic exposure victims to receive compensation

Michael Bartlett

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on June 14th, 2023

Until recently, veterans affected by drinking toxic water at Camp Lejeune had a difficult time obtaining the benefits they were entitled to from the VA, while family members and civilians who lived at the military base did not have any source of compensation. Today, everyone injured by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can receive compensation.

The bill known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 was proposed by Congressman Matt Cartwright on March 26, 2021, to "provide for recovery by individuals who were stationed, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune, for certain actions of omissions by the United States." On August 11, 2022, it was signed into law by President Joe Biden, allowing everyone who spent time at the military base between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, for at least 30 consecutive days to obtain financial compensation from the government.

By virtue of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, Marines, family members, and civilians can now file a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to obtain adequate relief for harm which:

  • was caused by exposure to the water;
  • was associated with toxic water exposure;
  • was linked to exposure to water; or
  • toxic water exposure increased the likelihood of harm.

Moreover, the new law prevents the U.S. government from asserting immunity from any lawsuit filed by people who lived at Camp Lejeune and have one of the qualifying diagnoses. It is also important to note that punitive damages cannot be awarded under this law and that veterans can seek compensation both from the VA and from the government. According to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the deadline for filing a claim is August 10, 2024.

Finally, the bill prohibits a person who files a claim under it from bringing a separate lawsuit against the United States based on the same harm. Shortly after it became effective, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 became part of the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.

The Honoring Our PACT Act - expanding the eligibility for VA healthcare for veterans affected by toxic exposure

Proposed by Congressman Mark Takano on June 17, 2021, the Honoring Our PACT Act is perhaps the largest healthcare and benefit expansion in VA history. On August 10, 2022, the bill was signed into law, expanding VA healthcare and benefits for over five million servicemembers and veterans injured by toxic exposure during active duty. Veterans who drank toxic water at Camp Lejeune can also benefit from this new law, as the Honoring Our PACT Act entails the following:

  • it expands and extends eligibility for VA healthcare for veterans with toxic exposures
  • it adds over 20 new presumptive conditions for toxic exposures
  • it requires the VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran in the system
  • it establishes 31 new VA healthcare facilities across the country

To obtain a VA disability rating, your disability must be connected to your military service. For many conditions, you need to prove that your service caused your illness. However, for some conditions, the VA automatically presumes that your service caused your condition. These are known as presumptive conditions. If you are a veteran who has a presumptive condition, you no longer have to prove that your service caused it.

According to the Honoring Our PACT Act, the following cancers are now presumptive for veterans with a history of toxic exposure:

  • brain cancer
  • gastrointestinal cancer
  • glioblastoma
  • head cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • lymphatic cancer
  • lymphoma
  • melanoma
  • neck cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • reproductive cancer
  • respiratory cancer

It is worth noting that Camp Lejeune veterans struggling with one of the above diseases might not be eligible for VA disability benefits, as they must have one of the presumptive conditions related to drinking contaminated water at the military base. If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to financial compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, we encourage you to contact our resourceful attorneys, who will gladly evaluate your case.

Quality legal assistance for Camp Lejeune veterans injured by toxic water exposure

With over 30 years of experience in pursuing compensation for toxic exposure victims, including numerous veterans, our attorneys have the necessary knowledge and resources to help you find out if you are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. As a veteran, you will only have to provide our legal team with your military records, which you must retrieve, and your medical records. Family members who intend to file a claim will need to send us evidence of their stay at the military base along with their medical records.

After a comprehensive review, we will let you know if you are entitled to financial compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and from the VA if you are a veteran Marine. We prioritize the cases of veterans and family members, so if we deem you eligible, we will promptly begin working on your claim. Eventually, if our endeavors are fruitful, you will obtain the compensation you deserve for your unjust suffering. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you will not have to pay us anything unless we recover money for you.