The Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit settlement is a historic settlement that will compensate many people who were affected by the contaminated water at the Marine Corps base. This settlement has been in the news lately, but what do we know about it? How much money will people receive from this settlement, and who qualifies for compensation?
We have answers to these questions here.
Types of Compensation Available
In general, there are three main types of compensation available for the victims of the Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit, they include:
- Medical expenses: These include costs associated with diagnosing and treating illnesses caused by exposure to toxic chemicals at the base. In some cases, medical treatment may have been provided before the illness was known to be related to contaminated water. If so, you can still receive compensation for those costs under this category.
- Pain and suffering: This type of compensation is meant to cover any physical or emotional distress caused by your illness as well as any pain caused by treatment (for example, if you had surgery).
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium refers to damages suffered by family members because they were deprived of time spent together due to an injury sustained by one member’s exposure at Camp Lejeune. If such a loss occurs because someone else has died from their exposure at Camp Lejeune, their survivors may also be eligible for loss-of-consortium damages because they still suffer financially from losing contact with their loved ones through no fault of their own.
According to Torhoerman Law, LLC (THL), 15 main conditions have been associated with exposure to contamination at Camp Lejeune for which a defendant can claim compensation. They include multiple types of cancer, miscarriage, infertility in women, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney problems, renal toxicity, and others.
To be eligible for compensation, individuals must have lived or worked on the base and been exposed to contaminated water.
Eligible claimants include the following:
- Those who served at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- Those who lived off-base but worked on the installation during that period.
- Former spouses of service members who were stationed at the base.
- Dependents of deceased veterans who were stationed there.
- Civilian employees of Marine Corps Recruit and their beneficiaries.
Amount of Compensation
According to WRAL News, the Department of the Navy has received till recently approximately 25,000 Camp Lejeune claims, while 300 claims have been filed with the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The contamination of the water at Camp Lejeune is believed to be a result of a dry-cleaning company’s waste disposal, which the CDC suggests exposed anyone residing in the area between 1953 and 1987 to the contaminants. Lawyers working on the case have reported that the government has accepted some responsibility.
The amount of compensation received may vary based on factors such as the severity of the health problem, the extent of the exposure to contaminated water, and the individual’s age and overall health.
The exact settlement amount for each veteran who files a claim will be determined by an independent medical review board that considers all available evidence related to their illness or injury at Camp Lejeune. This board comprises doctors who specialize in specific areas, such as neurology or oncology, which the VA appoints.
Forbes Advisor states that while verdicts in personal injury cases that award tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars often make major headlines and generate excitement, settlements don’t receive as much attention. One reason for this is that many settlements are kept confidential through nondisclosure agreements.
Additionally, settlements in personal injury cases are generally not as high as verdicts, which can make them less newsworthy.
Settlements are often negotiated. The parties to the lawsuit (plaintiffs and defendants) can reach an agreement on how much money will be paid out, how many people will receive compensation, and what types of damages they will receive.
The legal fees will be deducted from your settlement, which can vary depending on the lawyer and the specific terms of your agreement.
Legal fees are calculated based on two factors- how much money you receive and how long it takes to get it. If you’re awarded $1 million in compensation, but it takes three years for that settlement to be reached, then your lawyer’s fee will be higher than if everything was settled quickly with no delays.
According to MedTruth, several bills have been proposed in Congress that would limit the fees attorneys can charge for representing Camp Lejeune plaintiffs. While some proposals suggest capping attorney fees at 20% to 33%, others have suggested a lower limit of 2% to 10%.
Although plaintiffs and advocates agree that fees above 40% to 60% are excessive, they also acknowledge that attorneys require financial incentives to represent their clients, particularly in personal injury cases like Camp Lejeune.
This is because many personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, where the law firm incurs the upfront litigation costs in exchange for a percentage of the eventual payout. Contingency fees typically range from 30% to 40% of the final settlement.
Distribution of Compensation
Once a settlement is reached in the Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit, the compensation awarded to the plaintiff or their designated beneficiaries can be distributed in different ways.
The compensation may be paid in a lump sum, meaning the full amount is paid immediately. Alternatively, it may be paid in regular installments over a specified period.
The distribution method depends on the specific terms of the settlement agreement and the preference of the plaintiff or their beneficiaries. In some cases, the settlement may also include compensation for future medical expenses.
If you’re considering filing a claim, knowing you have legal representation is important. You should be able to hire an attorney on your own or through the VA if you are eligible for compensation.
You should talk with someone who can answer any questions and guide you through the process of filing a claim. A lawyer will be able to help determine whether or not your case is strong enough for litigation and provide advice on how best to proceed with it as well as what type of compensation may be available in your situation.
The Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit settlements are great news for veterans exposed to contaminated water at the base. However, navigating the process of applying for compensation and determining how much money you will receive as part of a settlement can take time and effort.
If you have questions about your eligibility or how much compensation you may be entitled to receive, contact an experienced attorney who can help guide you through this process.