Though you may have seen an increase in the news coverage about Camp Lejeune water contamination in recent months, the origin of the story dates back to the early 1950s. This is when researchers have estimated that members of the military, their families, and some civilians working on base were first exposed to toxins in groundwater. For the next several decades, those who developed medical conditions related to the contamination had little or no legal recourse. However, lawmakers enacted the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) on August 10, 2022, opening the door for victims to seek monetary damages for their losses.
If you suffer from a medical condition or lose a loved one, passage of the statute means you finally have access to remedies that were prevented by government immunity concepts. However, there are still requirements for recovering compensation. To avoid putting your rights at risk, trust a Camp Lejeune water contamination claims lawyer in Miami for assistance. Some of the requirements include the following:
Time of Service
The statute covers those who served at either Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina. The relevant time window for eligibility is August 1953 through December 1987, and you must have spent at least 30 cumulative days there during this time period. For those who served in the military, you cannot have a dishonorable discharge upon exiting.
Eligible Medical Conditions
The water contaminants at Camp Lejeune were primarily benzene and industrial solvents, known cancer-causing substances. You must show that you developed an ailment that the law recognizes. Exposure to these hazardous chemicals in water has led to cancers of the kidneys, bladder, liver, lungs, and esophagus, as well as leukemia. Other ailments linked to Camp Lejeune groundwater include:
- Neurological disorders;
- Miscarriage and stillbirths;
- Infertility and reproductive issues;
- Parkinson’s disease; and,
- Many others.
Exhaust Administrative Remedies
Instead of going directly to court, you must first file a claim as directed by the CLJA. You work with the military to resolve your claim, which is known as an administrative claim process. Many cases are resolved at this stage, but you can still go to court after you exhaust your administrative remedies in this way.
There are two key time restrictions to keep in mind:
- The statute of limitations under CLJA is two years from the date the law was enacted, so you must file a lawsuit in court before August 10, 2024. Your case will be dismissed if you do not initiate litigation.
- After receiving a denial during the administrative process, you have 180 days to file a lawsuit in court – regardless of the statute of limitations.
Discuss Camp Lejeune Water Contamination with a Skilled Miami Injury Attorney
To learn more about the legal requirements for bringing a claim, please call (305) 371-6000 or go online to reach Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can schedule a no-cost case assessment at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. After reviewing your situation, a lawyer can explain eligibility and the legal process.