The Camp Lejeune water contamination incident was one of the most significant environmental disasters in the United States, affecting thousands of Marines and their families. In addition, the incident led to numerous lawsuits against the government and the Marine Corps, seeking compensation for the damages caused by the contaminated water.
Here are six critical steps to pursue compensation in your Camp Lejeune lawsuit, from filing your claim to settling.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Gather Evidence
After filing your claim, the next step towards pursuing compensation for Camp Lejeune water contamination is gathering evidence to support your case. Medical records, witness accounts, and any other data that can demonstrate the severity of the harm brought on by the polluted water should be included in this evidence.
To receive a payout for Camp Lejeune water contamination, you must provide sufficient evidence that proves the link between the contaminated water and your health problems. These payouts may vary from USD 10,000 to USD 500,000 based on the magnitude of your claim. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) budget for Camp Lejeune claims was the basis for these projections for compensation sums.
This evidence should include medical records that show a diagnosis of a condition associated with exposure to toxic chemicals found in the water. Additionally, witness statements from family members or fellow Marines who have also been affected by the contamination can provide crucial support for your case.
Step 2: Find the Right Lawyer
Finding the right lawyer is crucial in pursuing compensation for your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. You will need a lawyer who has experience handling similar cases, understands the legal procedures involved, and has the resources to handle your case effectively.
To ensure that you find a reputable and experienced lawyer, it is crucial to conduct thorough research. One way to begin is by asking for referrals from friends or family members who have had similar experiences. Alternatively, you can also search for lawyers online.
He should also have all the necessary information and intricate details. According to MccsLejeune, each claim submitted by victims and their families is subject to a 06-month examination by the Department of Defense.
The government would reply to the claim during this time by rejecting it or submitting a settlement proposal. Therefore, it helps the lawyer to work according to the time they have as soon as required.
It’s also essential to take into account the lawyer’s communication style and availability. You will want someone responsive to your needs, informing you about your case, and promptly answering your questions.
Step 3: File Your Lawsuit
As per TorHoerman Law, a legal counsel firm, the next step in pursuing compensation is to file your lawsuit. Before filing, ensure you have gathered all the necessary evidence and found the right lawyer to represent you.
TorHoerman Law also states that the lawyer must know the qualification criteria for the case filing. For example, they should know that the veterans from Camp Lejeune or their kin who were stationed there between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may be eligible for settlement payments, and thus such info is crucial.
According to Camp Lejeune Claims Center, up to 1 million individuals were exposed to harmful chemicals due to the discharge of cancer-causing VOCs into the drinking water. It was at the U.S. Marine Corps Base from base activities and a neighboring off-base dry cleaner. The lawyer knows how important this is for you as a victim and, thus, will help you to prepare the necessary legal documents to file your lawsuit.
The documents will outline your claim and the damages you are seeking. Once the lawsuit is filed, the government and the Marine Corps will have time to respond.
The legal process can be complex and time-consuming, but having an experienced lawyer can help ensure your case is handled properly. In addition, your lawyer will work with you to prepare your case for trial, gather additional evidence, and negotiate a settlement if possible.
Step 4: Litigation and Discovery
Litigation and discovery are important phases in your lawsuit. In this phase, both parties will share information and evidence relevant to the case, which is commonly known as discovery. The discovery process may involve written requests, such as interrogatories or requests for the production of documents. Both parties can also depose witnesses or request specialist viewpoints.
During litigation, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss, arguing that your claim is not legally valid or that you have not provided enough evidence to support your claim. It’s the responsibility of your attorney to respond to these motions and present your case in court.
Although litigation can be complex and time-consuming, it’s crucial to ensure that you receive fair compensation for any damages incurred. Your attorney will work with you to build a strong case and gather all the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Step 5: Settlement Negotiations
During the settlement negotiation phase, your attorney will negotiate with the defendant or their insurance company to reach a fair settlement amount.
The defendant may be willing to settle if they believe the evidence against them is strong or want to avoid the costs and risks of going to trial. However, your attorney will work to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Your attorney will present evidence and argue your case to the defendant or their insurance company. They may make a settlement offer, which your attorney will review and negotiate.
It is important to note that settlements are not guaranteed and that both parties must agree on the terms before it is reached. If it cannot be reached, your case may proceed to trial.
Step 6: Settlement and Disbursement
After settling your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, the final step is settlement and disbursement. This process involves finalizing the settlement agreement and distributing the compensation you are entitled to.
Your attorney will work with the defendant or their insurance company to finalize the settlement agreement, outlining the settlement terms, the compensation you will receive, and any other relevant details.
Once the settlement agreement is finalized, you will receive your compensation. The disbursement of your settlement can vary, and your attorney can advise you on the best way to receive your compensation.
You May Improve Your Chances of Success by Following These Steps
According to Consumer Notice, as part of the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law on August 10, 2022. As a result, around 20,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims have been filed as of February 2023 and still growing. It is a significant plus for victims who want justice.
Getting compensation for a water pollution claim in Camp Lejeune might be complicated. However, following these six steps and working with an experienced attorney can increase your chances of a successful outcome.
With the right support and guidance, you can hold those responsible for the water contamination at Camp Lejeune accountable and receive the compensation you deserve.