The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search instagram avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner

Gathering the Correct Documents for a Camp Lejeune Claim

For more than 30 years, the water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina contained toxic chemicals. Servicemembers, their family members, and civilians unknowingly drank and bathed in contaminated water for decades before the military eventually shut down the affected wells. Historically, veterans couldn’t file Camp Lejeune lawsuits against the government and had to file claims through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2022, things changed when the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) became law. The CLJA allows veterans to sue the government for their injuries.  The deadline to file a Camp Lejeune claim is quickly approaching — all claims must be filed by August 10, 2024

To be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune claim, you must have lived or worked at the military base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Veterans who received a dishonorable discharge are disqualified from filing claims. You must also have a medical diagnosis related to Camp Lejeune water exposure — simply being at the base isn’t enough to file a claim. Some of the conditions that have been linked to the water at Camp Lejeune include leukemia, aplastic anemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, and bladder, kidney, and liver cancers. Once you’ve established your eligibility, you’re ready to file a Camp Lejeune claim. Here are the documents you’ll need. Ensuring you have as many supporting documents as possible is vital to avoid a claim denial.

a gavel on a glass top table with clip bound paper stacked behind

Military and Employment Records

To file a claim, you must prove that you worked or lived at Camp Lejeune. You can do this by providing your DD214 form. This document is a military service record containing information about when you were stationed at Camp Lejeune. You can request the form online through the National Archives or by mailing or faxing Standard Form 180 to the VA.  If you’re a civilian who worked at the military base, you must provide employment records proving that you worked at Camp Lejeune during the applicable period. You can also use utility bills, base housing records, and tax forms for proof of residence.

Medical Records

One of the most crucial parts of the claims process is proving that you suffered injuries due to your time at Camp Lejeune. According to the Camp Lejeune Claims Management Portal website, you should provide medical records from VA hospitals or the Defense Health Agency. Test results, medical bills, prescriptions, and documents outlining diagnoses and treatment plans can all be medical records. This documentation will bolster your claim and clearly outline how Camp Lejeune’s water exposure has affected you. For many veterans, the health conditions they developed after being stationed at the base altered the course of their lives.

Filing a Camp Lejeune Claim

What happens once you have the documents you need to file your Camp Lejeune claim? If you have an attorney, they can help you gather evidence and file on your behalf. A Camp Lejeune attorney can also file a wrongful death claim if you’ve lost a loved one to a Camp Lejeune-related illness.

When the government introduced the Camp Lejeune claims portal, the process seemed simple: if the Navy made an unsatisfactory settlement offer, denied a claim, or didn’t respond within 180 days, claimants could move forward with Camp Lejeune lawsuits. In reality, the claims process was convoluted due to significant delays. The government took more than a year to make its first settlement offers. Meanwhile, the number of claims filed skyrocketed — by some estimates, more than 190,000 administrative claims have been filed since the CLJA was introduced.

Last year, the Justice Department and the Department of the Navy announced the Camp Lejeune Elective Option (EO) targeted toward veterans interested in a speedier payout. Medical conditions are tiered under the Elective Option, and having a disease with a proven link to Camp Lejeune toxic chemicals means you’ll receive more money. Payouts under the EO range from $100,000 to $550,000, depending on how long you were stationed at Camp Lejeune and your condition. The EO is an attractive choice because it’s supposed to result in faster payment than a lawsuit; however, a Camp Lejeune lawsuit could net a higher sum in some cases. Discussing your case with a Camp Lejeune attorney is important to determine which option is right for you.

Meeting the Camp Lejeune Deadline

With less than three months until the Camp Lejeune claim filing deadline of August 10, it’s imperative that you start the claims process as soon as possible to ensure that you receive compensation. Hiring a Camp Lejeune lawyer to help with your claim isn’t mandatory, and you have the option to file on your own. However, seeking legal counsel is highly recommended with the deadline approaching. An attorney can help ensure you’ve submitted all the necessary documentation, giving your case a higher chance of success and reducing the chance of rejection. They’ll also be there to answer any questions about the claims process.