Pundits believe the overall settlement in the lawsuit over toxic water at Camp Lejeune will exceed $6 billion. As is typical in a civil claim, the amount of compensation in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit payout depends on the facts of the case. Victims who were exposed to the poisonous water for a short period and experienced mild sickness won’t receive as much money as those who were at Camp Lejeune for a long time and contracted severe illnesses.
This 2022 Camp Lejeune Justice Act enabled these victims to overcome legal hurdles and get the money they need to fight their water poisoning-related illnesses. Compensation for emotional distress and other non-economic losses is available as well. The CLJA also opened some additional options for these victims.
But this compensation isn’t available for the asking. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can take on government lawyers and obtain it. In this fight, knowledge is power. So, before you reach out to an attorney, we urge you to learn more about the issues in this case. Then, when you’re ready to start, the Action Matters team can forward the necessary documents to an attorney.
If I Meet the Minimum Requirements, Do I Get a Big Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Payout?
These minimum requirements are a 30-day residency at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, and a current medical diagnosis of a water poisoning-related illness. So, case documents usually include utility bills or other proof of residency, along with medical records.
Victims aren’t guaranteed compensation under the CLJA. As mentioned above, any compensation individuals might receive is based on their exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and their exposure-related health disorders. These health conditions include:
- Bladder cancer,
- Kidney cancer,
- Liver cancer,
- Multiple myeloma,
- Adult leukemia,
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes,
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and
- Parkinson’s disease.
These illnesses are CLJA presumptive illnesses. If the victim lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and suffers from, or died from, one of these illnesses, claims are more straightforward. Compensation may be available for other water poisoning illnesses as well, such as cryptosporidiosis (cryptosporidium) and other bacterial infections. Since the presumption doesn’t apply, such cases are more complex.
Meeting the minimum requirements might not be enough to get a share of the Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement. But it might be enough to obtain disability benefits through the Veterans Administration.
Generally, these benefits, which include monthly cash and free medical care, are available if the victim has a service-related disability. Almost any illness could be disabling if the victim cannot find and hold an SGE (substantial gainful employment) job because of that disability. The CLJA also made these cases easier to prove.
The amount of monthly cash varies in these situations. The VA uses a disability rating system to determine such matters.
This option has some pros and cons. VA disability claims are usually easier to prove than civil cases since the burden of proof is lower. However, VA disability doesn’t compensate victims for pain and suffering or other non-economic losses.
Camp Lejeune civil claims also have an additional procedural hurdle that VA disability claims don’t have. To win compensation and medical treatment, victims need to file a claim and have it validated by the U.S. Navy, which is responsible for administering CLJA claims.
How Do I Claim a Big Share of This Settlement?
No rules are in place regarding a maximum or minimum share of compensation. A victim’s share usually depends on the evidence in your case and their lawyer’s familiarity with the complex multi-district litigation process.
Cancer has a high misdiagnosis rate. That’s especially true in the early stages when tumors are very small. In these situations, doctors might misdiagnose liver cancer, which is a presumptive Camp Lejeune lawsuit payout illness, as something like cirrhosis, which is a non-presumptive condition.
Attorneys often send patients to get a second opinion from another doctor. As mentioned earlier, liver cancer claims are much easier to prove than cirrhosis claims. So, a misdiagnosis might mean reduced compensation.
Furthermore, there’s a difference between legal residency and practical residency. Many servicemembers maintain a legal residency in a place like Camp Lejeune but spend most of their time deployed overseas. These victims must prove that they lived at Camp Lejeune and used contaminated water for drinking or bathing.
Procedurally, a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim is not an ordinary injury claim. All these claims are consolidated in a North Carolina federal court, at least for pretrial purposes. A single judge will rule on all pretrial matters, like procedural motions and discovery disputes. Then, this judge will conduct a few bellwether trials and oversee settlement negotiations. In the unlikely event that claims aren’t settled, they usually return to their home jurisdictions for trial.
MDL is supposed to streamline the trial process in mass tort claims. But MDL often has the opposite effect. Your claim could get lost in the shuffle unless your lawyer is familiar with this complicated process.
The more information you have about your Camp Lejeune water poisoning claim, the better the chances you will obtain maximum compensation. To start this process before the deadline expires, reach out to Action Matters now for a free case evaluation.