Now that Congress has passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, many people are wondering what this could mean for them and their families. The act allows people to sue the U.S. government for reparations for the harm they suffered due to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987. Previously, North Carolina’s statute of limitations barred most people from being able to bring a lawsuit. Here are three things you should know about bringing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act:
Who can file a claim?
According to the legislation, anyone who lived or worked at the base for at least 30 days from 1953 to 1987 and suffered a related illness can file a claim. This includes civilian workers and family members as well as service members. The 30 days need not be consecutive, as long as they add up to 30 days total. People can also file on behalf of a deceased family member. The government estimates that over one million adults and children were affected over the years.
What kinds of illnesses does it cover?
Many illnesses and diseases have been linked to the toxic chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s water supply, including several types of cancers, Parkinson’s disease, chronic renal failure and neurological disorders as well as stillbirths and birth defects in babies. The cancers include bladder, kidney, lung and liver cancers, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, just to name a few.
How do I file a claim?
You will bring a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. government. If your claim is successful, you can receive compensation for past, present and future medical costs, reduced quality of life and pain and suffering. The Department of Veterans Affairs will oversee the payment of claims. You have two years from the passing of the legislation to file your suit, so act quickly to preserve your claim.