The Crisis With Camp Lejeune Compensations: Is There Hope?
In May 2023, WSOC TV reported that thousands of veterans hadn’t received compensation despite being affected by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The PACT Act was passed in 2022 in response to the detection of cancer-causing toxic chemicals in the water in this region. Veterans across the nation have filed numerous claims, yet little progress has been made in resolving these cases to date.
Glenn Counts, a Channel 9 reporter, spoke with The Montfort Point Marine Association, a local organization leading the effort to support these veterans. Rodney Richardson, a veteran who served as a Marine during the first Gulf War, had spent nearly four years at Camp Lejeune.
He shared his reasons for not joining the military due to his deteriorating health condition over the years. Rodney fears that time is running out, as he suffers from bladder cancer. Recently he also underwent a kidney X-ray due to stage three kidney failure.
Another interviewee, Annie Black, spoke about her late husband, Buford Black, who also served in the Marines and was stationed at Camp Lejeune for four years. Buford passed away in 2014 at the age of 64 due to kidney disease and esophageal cancer.
North Carolina Senators Thom Tillis and Ted Budd have urged the Navy to provide a valid explanation for the prolonged processing time of compensation claims. Kevin Edwards, a veterans’ attorney advocating for compensation, expressed profound disappointment with the responses he received. The Navy’s emails revealed a distressing shortage of resources and manpower to timely process the claims, causing disappointment among those seeking justice.
Camp Lejeune June 2023 Update: Navigating the Legal Path
Two law firms located in Maryland and Florida have been accused of illegally soliciting clients regarding Camp Lejeune lawsuits. These firms have recently submitted a request to a federal judge in West Virginia, seeking the dismissal of a proposed class action lawsuit filed against them. They vehemently denied all allegations and disclaimed any responsibility for initiating or exerting control over calls made to potential clients listed on the federal do-not-call registry.
To protect their interests, individuals affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue should carefully choose their legal representation. Although several law firms possess the required legal knowledge and expertise to handle these cases, people should conduct a thorough background check on both the attorney and the law firm.
To pursue a Camp Lejeune compensation claim, individuals need to follow a series of steps. However, those without legal expertise may find it confusing. It is wise to take the necessary guidance from an experienced lawyer to assess eligibility for filing a claim.
TorHoerman Law states compensation is provided for a range of illnesses and injuries resulting from exposure to toxic water, including blood cancers, organ-related cancer, respiratory diseases, congenital diseases, infertility, and neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. The severity of the disease and the degree of suffering will determine the compensation amount.
Why Have Veterans Not Received Compensation?
In June 2023, The Carolina Journal reported that currently, veterans are aware of the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, which lasted for nearly 35 years, involving hazardous compounds. Despite the supposed ease of accessing Veterans Affairs (V.A.) benefits, including disability compensation for serious health issues, the reality is disturbing. The approval rate for V.A. claims filed by Camp Lejeune veterans is 17%, leaving many eligible veterans without the necessary financial assistance.
One of the reasons for these denials is the V.A.s use of subject matter experts since 2012 to evaluate the claims. Most of these experts are general and preventive medicine doctors who lack the required knowledge and expertise to accurately assess the complex ailments that veterans are suffering from.
Can One Be Hopeful in the Future?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act ensures that veterans receive their rightful compensation by eliminating government immunity in lawsuits. Furthermore, the Honoring Our PACT Act establishes the district court for the Eastern District of North Carolina as the exclusive jurisdiction for victims seeking compensation for toxic exposure. This creates a focused and specialized approach to managing these cases.
To date, nearly 20,000 administrative claims have been filed by victims of Camp Lejeune, but none have been fully resolved. Moreover, over 100 lawsuits have been brought before the federal court in North Carolina.
Even though the Camp Lejeune compensation crisis raises significant concerns, there is hope for a fairer system. Despite the challenges veterans face in obtaining rightful compensation, they can improve their chances by raising awareness and working closely with an experienced lawyer. That way, one can walk towards a more equitable and just resolution.