It Turns Out The Government Did Mishandle Camp Lejeune Claims
The Camp Lejeune act gives those who were in or worked at Camp Lejeune, an opportunity to recover damages for toxic water that was at the camp. The water entered the system in the 1950s, when knowledge about how toxic chemicals can infiltrate a water system was limited.
Did the Government Mishandle Claims? Turns Out, They Did
One of the things that fueled the push to pass laws that make it easier for those at Camp Lejeune to be able to make their claims was the high rate of denials to veterans that were happening before the Act’s passage just a few months ago.
A study has shown that the Department of Veterans affairs had previously mishandled claims made by veterans who were sickened by the water at the base, in almost 40% of all cases. The errors either delayed, or completely denied claims, for over 20,000 veterans.
The study also showed that since 2017, the Veterans Administration prematurely denied veterans claims for injuries or illness caused by contamination at Camp Lejeune, in over 17,000 cases. In many cases, the VA just denied veterans’ claims, instead of doing what they were supposed to, which was to ask for more or follow up information about the veterans’ illnesses and experiences at the camp.
Even Success Wasn’t Handled Properly
Even the successful claims had problems. The study revealed that in over 2,000 cases, veterans who were granted benefits as a result of being sickened, were assigned incorrect start or onset dates, the end result being denials in millions of dollars of overdue, retroactive payments.
It was mostly the smaller, regional offices that had problems; only 8% of claims from the main center in Louisville, Kentucky had errors, compared to 40% at the smaller, regional offices. Many employees in those smaller offices may have had limited training in how to properly process the claims. The government is now recommending that all claims be handled through the Louisville offices.
Who Can Recover Under the Act?
Service members, their families, employees and contractors who worked at the base from 1953-1987 can qualify for benefits and monetary damages under the new law, for illnesses. The law has a list of qualifying diseases and illnesses, but you don’t have to have a disease or illness on the list; so long as you qualify and can show your illness was tied to time or service at the base, the law still allows you to qualify for benefits and damages.
The law allows those who are affected not just to get benefits from the VA but to sue the government for damages stemming from a variety of different maladies. They include cancers, miscarriages, or other diseases that have no other explanation.
The Camp Lejeune Act can provide compensation and payment to those sickened by the water at Camp Lejeune. Even if you don’t know why you are or became ill, if you served in the camp in any capacity from 1953-1987, we may be able to help you. Call the Knoxville personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today.