The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act was enacted in 2022. The PACT Act opened an avenue for veterans harmed by burn pits and other toxic exposure to receive more comprehensive healthcare. It also included a way for Camp Lejeune toxic water victims to receive long-awaited financial compensation.
The piece of legislation geared towards those injured by Camp Lejeune water contamination is officially known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), and so far, more than 93,000 CLJA claims have been filed.
While there is no denying the number of people who suffered severe health complications from Camp Lejeune water contamination is anything but horrific, the recent legislation and media surrounding it have brought national attention to the extreme health risks of toxic exposure. Not only is the legislation putting more accountability onto government officials to better protect citizens from environmental hazards, but the news about the Camp Lejeune lawsuits is causing people across the country to realize the dangers of pollutants in water systems.
Now more than ever before, Americans are actively grappling with the fragility of their health when it comes to the potentially lethal results of unchecked disposal of hazardous waste.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination History
For more than 30 years, between 1953 and 1987, service members, their families, and others who lived or served on Camp Lejeune drank, cooked, washed, and bathed with toxic tap water.
They were unaware that the water had trichloroethylene (TCE) and other contaminants that could lead to multiple illnesses and conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder, breast and kidney cancers, infertility, and miscarriages.
The water contamination came from two of Camp Lejeune’s water treatment plants infiltrated by toxins from hazardous waste beginning in 1953. While toxins were confirmed in the water supply over the years, it wasn’t until 1985 that the water systems were shut down.
Shockingly, it was not until 2008 that Congress directed the U.S. Marine Corps to notify exposed veterans and staff of the actual risk of the chemicals they had ingested.
While those suffering from illnesses associated with Camp Lejeune’s toxic water can receive VA health benefits, victims could not file a lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries. But the PACT Act, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, signed by President Biden on August 10, 2022, ushered in changes. Now, Camp Lejeune toxic water survivors or family members of those who are deceased have a two-year window to file a Camp Lejeune claim. If the claim isn’t processed or is denied, or the compensation offered isn’t sufficient, then victims may file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, or family members can file a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government.
Safe Drinking Water and an Informed Public
According to the World Health Organization, one in three people worldwide cannot access safe drinking water. In the U.S., the vast majority of Americans do have easy access to drinking water. Still, several major environmental events have wreaked great harm on water systems in recent years in major municipal centers, including Flint, Michigan. Because of ongoing issues like pollution and even aging infrastructure, dangers to our water systems will not be going away.
While the countless Camp Lejeune lawsuit advertisements may seem endless, it’s not bad that Americans now understand the impact of hazardous waste on our nation’s water and the importance of protecting the public and holding those in charge of negligence accountable long into the future.
Camp Lejeune Compensation Options
The deadline to file a Camp Lejeune claim is August 10, 2024. However, it is advised that individuals file sooner rather than later. Due to staff shortages and funding issues, the Camp Lejeune claims process has been plagued by delays.
While the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Navy recently announced a new Camp Lejeune payment system for eligible Camp Lejeune survivors, the first step should be contacting an attorney. You are not required to hire an attorney to file a claim, but by setting up a free consultation with an experienced Camp Lejeune lawyer, you can determine the best legal approach. They can help you file a claim and a lawsuit if needed or help you decide if the new Camp Lejeune payout is the best option.