The Camp Lejeune Justice Act has recently passed Congress and is situated to ensure hundreds of thousands of former Camp Lejeune residents receive justice for the infamous water contamination scandal that occurred on the base. Spreading the truth about what the bill does for victims, and helping them move forward with seeking justice, now becomes the responsibility of the public, and of the family members who have watched over their affected loved ones for so many years.
What is Camp Lejeune, and What Happened There?
Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps training base located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, which was founded in 1941. Between the years 1953 and 1987, the government actively covered up a water contamination scandal that caused hundreds of thousands of residents to be negatively impacted. Many residents ended up developing cancer, experiencing birth issues, and having neurological issues. Until the recent passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims were unable to truly gain the compensation and justice they deserved. Thankfully, the legal situation surrounding the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, and the scandal surrounding it, has changed significantly in the past year.
Why Was the Camp Lejeune Justice Act Needed, and When Did it Pass?
During the years Camp Lejeune’s water supply was contaminated by VOCs, the people who lived on the base daily were exposed to toxic levels of unsafe chemicals and compounds. Over the years, this caused upwards of eight-hundred-thousand residents to develop devastating and often life-long diseases. Some residents ended up dying from the disease they were afflicted with, making the scandal that much more tragic. Because the government fought against admitting its mistake for decades, even after the water contamination was fixed, the victims desperately needed an act of Congress to ensure they would receive restitution for the crimes committed against them.
One bill relating to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination scandal was passed in 2012 (the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012). This bill allowed veterans and their family members to access VA disability benefits if they lived at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days during the contamination period. While this was an excellent start, the bill passed this year expanded compensation and justice for victims of the scandal.
As of August 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act finally passed Congress and became law. This bill supercharges the ability of victims to receive justice and compensation. Since the act became law, victims can sue the government directly to hold them accountable for the water contamination scandal at Camp Lejeune.
Who Qualifies for Settlements and Benefits Through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows anyone who lived at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period (for more than 30 days) to sue the government and likely receive a large settlement for the damages thrust upon them. Even civilian contractors who were living on the base during this period can sue the government for settlements.
Those who received VA disability benefits through the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, as well as those who receive VA disability benefits in general, are still eligible for settlements through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. The expansive nature of the bill is set to help thousands upon thousands of military families across the nation. The bill was passed as part of a larger package, the Honoring Our PACT Act, which helps to provide similar settlements and benefits to military members that were exposed to toxic burn pits, and other on-hazard duties during their time of service.
Congress has already approved more than $2 billion in settlement funds for cases relating to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The faster you’re able to file a suit, the sooner you’ll have access to a large, and fair settlement. Once again, a qualified veteran’s justice attorney can help you speed through this process. You’ll need thorough documentation that showcases the diseases you were affected by, the costs of your medical care, documentation showing that you were on the base during the contamination period for more than thirty days, and more.
Justice Must Be Served
Even with the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the process of ensuring justice for the scandal’s victims has just begun. Making every potential victim aware of the act’s existence, and helping them file lawsuits against the government, is now the most critical part of the process. After all, it’s of utmost importance that the government and bad actors responsible for the water contamination at Camp Lejeune are held fully accountable for their reckless and devastating actions.