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Filing a Camp Lejeune Claim on Behalf of a Deceased Loved One

Between 1953 and 1957, veterans, civilian workers, and families drank and bathed in water contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins at Camp Lejeune. The result has been devastating. Several cancers, including breast, kidney, lung, liver, and bladder cancer, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac defects, infertility, birth defects, and other health effects have been caused by water contamination at the Marine Corps Base, located in North Carolina.

This large-scale disaster, made worse by the military’s lack of action to inform victims who were exposed to dangerous toxins, has caused immeasurable suffering. Just 30 days of working or living at Camp Lejeune during the time the water was contaminated put the health and lives of one million people at risk. Far too many have already died from toxic exposure illnesses, and even more will die in the coming years.

closeup of a hand on a veteran's coffin at funeral with white flowers in the background

After years of mounting evidence showing numerous conditions, illnesses, and cancers are linked to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, long-awaited legislation was signed into law in August 2022. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) introduced a two-year window for toxic water victims to file claims for compensation and justice.

While many have survived the health effects or are currently suffering from them, those who have died have not been forgotten. Surviving families may file a Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one, regardless of when they passed away. But the CLJA deadline to file is just around the corner, on August 10, 2024.

The Navy’s JAG Office is overwhelmed with more than 230,000 claims. The slow start and lack of progress made to resolve the claims has led to an influx of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. Sadly, many victims have died waiting for their claims to be resolved or their lawsuits to move forward.

If a family member died from an illness caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, time is running out to get justice and compensation. You have the right to file a CLJA claim, and if the Navy fails to resolve it on time, you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Steps to File a Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claim

Several Camp Lejeune water contamination illnesses are serious and life-threatening. Many toxic exposure victims suffered for years, even decades before they died. Some with Parkinson’s disease slowly lost who they were, as families stood by helplessly. Others with cancer endured painful and exhausting treatments and surgeries, only to lose their battle and leave loved ones behind. Surviving family members should follow these steps to file a Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim:

Step 1: Contact a Camp Lejeune Attorney

While you don’t need an attorney, the CLJA deadline is nearly here, and if you mess up the paperwork you risk it being rejected. In fact, there have been reports of this happening – of individuals whose claims were denied when they tried to do it themselves, and they ended up hiring a lawyer after.

A toxic exposure lawyer can not only ensure you’re eligible to file a Camp Lejeune claim on behalf of a deceased loved one, but that the right paperwork is submitted, and the process is followed. With the August 10 deadline approaching, a Camp Lejeune wrongful death attorney can protect your rights and get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Step 2:  File Your Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claim

There’s basic information, as well as specific details and documents needed for a Camp Lejeune claim. If your loved one was a civilian or military personnel, where they lived on base and for how long, and the level of damages and value of their injury are some examples of what’s asked for on the claim. Once completed, you or your lawyer need to file it with the Navy’s JAG Office by August 10, 2024.

Step 3: Wait for a Response

The Navy has just six months to resolve CLJA claims, but so far, they’ve resolved very few. To speed up the process, some victims have been offered the Camp Lejeune Elective Option Payout. Certain illnesses qualify, and wrongful death claims are entitled to an additional $100,000. Accepting a Camp Lejeune Elective Option settlement means you waive the right to take legal action or seek more compensation in the future.  

After making a claim, if the Navy denies it, offers a settlement that you’re not happy with, or simply doesn’t process it on time, the next step would be to file a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit. With such a long list of serious conditions and illnesses caused by contaminated water at the military base, payouts are projected to amount to over $6 billion.

Hiring a Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Lawyer

As of June 2024, there were over 1,800 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, but none have gone to trial. Some law firms representing numerous victims estimate that 1 in 5 of their cases are wrongful death claims.

Losing the love and companionship of a spouse, parent, child, or sibling has a lasting effect. With how little progress has been made in the nearly two years since the CLJA was enacted, more families will lose loved ones as they wait for their claims to be processed or their lawsuits to move forward. The sooner you find the right Camp Lejeune lawyer to handle your wrongful death claim, the better.

Toxic exposure lawsuits are challenging. The Camp Lejeune lawyer you hire can handle the complexities of these cases and alleviate the burden of pursuing a lawsuit on your own. They determine the amount of compensation you’re entitled to by conducting in-depth research, consulting with experts, and gathering evidence. Everything must be analyzed – medical bills, imaging reports, the loss of income, and other financial implications. 

There are also non-economic damages that should be considered, including the pain and suffering of the deceased and the emotional impact on surviving family members. A Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit also takes into account future losses, something that’s challenging to calculate without legal experience.

This is the last chance for families to hold the government accountable and to be compensated for their loved one’s suffering due to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. You could lose out completely if you take a risk and wait until the last minute to submit a claim or miss the August 10, 2024, deadline altogether.