While Camp Lejeune Claims Sit, People Are Dying
When a new law was passed in August of 2022, allowing those sickened by water at Camp Lejeune to sue for a wide variety of illnesses caused by contaminated toxins in the water, there was a fair mix of those who were ill, and those who had died because of illnesses. But as time goes on, more and more, the claims being made against the government for contaminated water, are transitioning from illness claims, to wrongful death claims.
The problem comes from the U.S. Government’s long delays in evaluating cases.
Under the law, the government has six months to evaluate someone’s claim. After that time period, the claimant has the right to file a lawsuit for whatever illnesses or injuries that the person may have suffered.
In practice, it turned out that the government was not using that 6 month waiting period to evaluate claims or to settle cases. The government was, practically, doing absolutely nothing. Many of those claims have now been filed as lawsuits, and are pending in federal court in North Carolina.
People are Dying
But because so much time is passing from the time a claim is filed to the time cases are resolved, a result of the government apparently making almost no effort to try to settle any of these cases, more and more servicemembers and employees who qualify to sue, are dying. This is turning what would be an injury or illness case, into a wrongful death case.
Because almost no claims were settled in the initial six month period, there is expected to be a logjam in federal court—the idea of the initial six month settlement period was to eliminate lawsuits, but if none are eliminated, they all will be filed in federal court.
This court backup will in turn create yet another delay.
No Criteria or Evaluation
Some allege that the claims, handled by the United States Judge Advocate General’s office (JAG) are not even being evaluated at all, because there is no claims process even set up yet. Many say that the government should just sit down with victims and their attorneys, and set guidelines and parameters, and try to work out resolutions for victims—especially those who may have limited time left.
Those guidelines could include grids or charts saying how much a specific kind of injury illness or disability should receive. But right now, none exist, and it is just causing chaos and backlogs—all this, as people are dying.
Bringing Claims for the Deceased
Of course, claims for illness caused by Camp Lejeune poisoned water can still live on and be carried out by family, even after the victim passes away. The practical problem is that it is only morally right for those most injured or sickened, to be alive to use and appreciate any settlement money that the government eventually offers.
We can help you navigate the claims and lawsuit process, if you were sickened or made ill by time spent at Camp Lejeune, whether as an employee or a servicemember. Call the Tennessee Camp Lejeune Justice Act lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today for help with your Camp Lejeune lawsuit.