There Are Unknowns As Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Start To Be Filed
When someone files a lawsuit for an illness, disease or disability caused by exposure to the toxic water in Camp Lejeune, that lawsuit doesn’t go straight into a traditional court. Rather, there is a six month waiting period, when the government has to evaluate those claims, and has a chance to settle those claims, before those claims get filed in court as actual lawsuits.
The Waiting Period
During that six month period the government can offer to settle the case, but if they do not, or they simply do nothing, when that time period expires, the victims are free to file their lawsuits.
When the law was passed in August 2022 allowing these lawsuits to be processed and heard, some may have expected a flurry of settlement offers, or for the government to act diligently in evaluating claims and trying to dispose of them by settling, before the six month period expires.
But so far, as they say, there has only been the sound of crickets—the government has settled or offered to settle, virtually no Camp Lejeune lawsuits. The reasoning behind that is only known to the government, but there are some theories as to why that is.
Why So Few Settlements?
One theory is that once the six month deadline is up, and claims can become lawsuits, the government will know exactly how many claims or lawsuits they are dealing with. Not every claim filed with the government, will proceed to a lawsuit.
Knowing exactly how many lawsuits there are, which again won’t happen until the end of the initial six month waiting period, the government will then be able to formulate a plan and a budget, to evaluate and offer settlements to victims.
Of course, the other reason for delay may be much more sinister—many victims have illnesses or injuries that are fatal, and as time goes on, some of these victims will pass away. That does not exterminate their claim—families can still bring claims on behalf of the deceased victims-but there is a percentage of families who may, unfortunately, give up the fight, knowing their loved one has passed away.
The Lawsuits are Starting
Lawsuits are starting to be filed—it is estimated that about 170 lawsuits have been filed, but as more and more reach the end of the six month waiting period, you can expect that number to increase significantly.
The lawsuits must be filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. There are about 20,000 claims filed with the government, meaning the number of lawsuits is expected to balloon significantly.
It’s important to remember that filing for compensation for exposure to toxic Camp Lejeune water, does not take away your right to get any kind of Veterans Administration benefits. As this common misconception is debunked, it is likely the number of Camp Lejeune claims will increase.
Were you sickened after working at, or being a servicemember at, Camp Lejeune from 1953-1987? You may be able to get compensation from the government. Call the Tennessee Camp Lejeune Justice Act lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today for help with your Camp Lejeune lawsuit.