Facing congressional pressure to accelerate Camp Lejeune claims, the U.S. Navy, with support from the U.S. Department of Justice, announced a voluntary settlement to claimants with certain illnesses who lived at the North Carolina Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune, and were exposed to toxic water, Stars & Stripes reported.
Depending on the type of illness and the length of time spent at Camp Lejeune, the payment plan, announced Sept. 6, would compensate claimants up to $450,000.
The preset payment option is intended to provide an expedited out-of-court solution for a backlog of more than 93,000 claims that have been filed under the 2022 Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which paved the way for veterans and their family members who lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 to sue the federal government for chronic illnesses they allegedly developed because of exposure to toxic water at the base.
To date, no Camp Lejeune claims have been settled, and the Navy has faced widespread criticism for its slow processing of claims. In response to the criticism, the Navy said that it was increasing its legal department to handle the caseload.
The voluntary settlement has two tiers. First-tier diseases include cancers of the liver, bladder and kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia. Second-tier illnesses include multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease (including end-stage renal disease) and systemic sclerosis/systemic scleroderma.
Claimants suffering from tier 1 diseases would be paid the maximum of $450,000 if they lived on the base for at least 5 years; $300,000 for those exposed on base for one year to five years, and $150,000 for those exposed for 30 days to 364 days. For those same time frames, tier 2 diagnoses would pay $400,000, $250,000 and $100,000, respectively. Death claims would pay an additional $100,000.
Camp Lejeune claimants will be notified by the Navy if they are eligible to receive a voluntary preset payment. The Navy’s deadline to file a Camp Lejeune claim is August 10, 2024. All claims must first be filed with the Navy’s Judge Advocate General before a lawsuit can be filed.
Claimants agreeing to receive the preset payment option will waive their right to sue the federal government. However, the barrier for veterans to prove that their chronic disease was caused as a direct result of living at Camp Lejeune will be lower if they take the settlement than it would be if their case goes to trial.
If you have been harmed by toxic chemicals, a medical device, drug or consumer product, contact MedTruth for a free case evaluation. All of the firms we work with are based on contingency, and you’ll pay no fees unless a settlement is reached on your behalf.