Justice Delayed is Not Justice Denied: The Fight for Camp Lejeune Veterans

In pursuing justice, time can be an enemy and an ally. This has never been truer than in the case of the veterans and families affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina. 

According to the CDC,  from the 1950s to the 1980s, as many as one million people were potentially exposed to dangerously contaminated drinking water. Since then, those affected by this exposure have started to seek justice and compensation. 

This led to a long, difficult, and painstaking legal fight. With that being said, this article explores the progress and challenges in this enduring battle, underlining why, in this case, justice delayed does not mean justice denied.

Let’s begin! 

The Impact of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is a decades-long saga that started in the 1950s. Hazardous chemicals found their way into the base’s water supply, including carcinogens like trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. 

Unaware of this fact, the veterans and their families living there continued to use this water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, thus compromising their health. To be more specific, the polluted water resulted in several serious health issues ranging from various cancers to birth defects. 

Legal Milestones in the Fight for Compensation

Initially, the victims of Camp Lejeune faced significant legal hurdles, including strict statutes of limitations and government immunity from lawsuits. However, there has been significant progress. 

The Camp Lejeune health care law 2012 mandates that the VA provide cost-free health care for specific conditions to Veterans who served at least 30 days of active duty at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.

More recent legislative efforts, specifically the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (part of the Honoring Our PACT Act), aim to remove the legal barriers that previously prevented many victims from seeking compensation due to the statute of limitations. 

This new act opens a two-year window for victims to file claims for damages related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune (regardless of when the exposure occurred or the related illness was diagnosed.)

So, if you or your loved one wants to seek justice, this is the right time to do so. 

Filing Your Case: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s how you can file a compensation case:

  • Collect Your Documents: Start by gathering all your medical records and any proof that shows you lived or worked at Camp during the contamination period. This includes medical diagnoses, treatment records, and military service documents.
  • File a Claim: You can file a Camp Lejeune case through the Veterans Administration (VA) if you’re a veteran or a qualifying family member. Fill out the necessary forms and submit them along with your documents.
  • Seek Legal Advice: It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer specializing in vetveteran’s benefits or personal injury. They can help you understand the process better and ensure your paperwork is completed correctly.
  • Understand Your Eligibility: Check if you qualify for filing a claim under the current laws. This usually depends on the time you spend at the base and your specific health issues. If you are unsure, your lawyer can assist you in establishing eligibility. 
  • Follow-up: After submitting your claim, keep track of its progress. You might need to provide additional information or documents, so stay in touch with your lawyer. They can guide you through the process so you can get the justice you rightfully deserve. 
  • Stay Patient: The process can take time, and there may be delays. It is important to take a patient and persistent approach.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your case is filed properly, giving you a better chance at receiving the justice and compensation you deserve.

Importance of Hiring A Lawyer for Your Case

When you work with a reputed lawyer, they know the legal system well and can guide you through the process. They can handle the paperwork and talk to the right people on your behalf. This means you are more likely to process your claim correctly and quickly.

Moreover, a good lawyer can also spot details that you might miss. They know what evidence is most powerful and how to present your case effectively. With their help, you can focus on your health and family, knowing that your legal matters are in skilled hands.

To Sum It All Up

The journey for justice for Camp Lejeune veterans is ongoing, but each step forward in the courts brings hope. New laws and better support for victims keep improving their chances for compensation. This fight shows the power of persistence and the importance of never giving up on what is right. As more veterans step forward, their unified voices grow stronger, pushing closer to the justice they deserve.