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Camp Lejeune Justice Act Will Allow Exposed Veterans to Seek Compensation

Around 1953, the groundwater at Camp Lejeune became contaminated, which affected two water treatment plants located on the base. Military personnel (including veterans, reservists, and guardsmen), their families, and others were impacted by this contamination, at Camp Lejeune as well as Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina.

In 2021, H.R. 2192 was introduced into Congress as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The bill will allow for individuals to pursue damages from the U.S. government if they were exposed to the contaminated groundwater at the facility for more than 30 cumulative days during the period of August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. When the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is signed into law, Belluck & Fox injury attorneys will be able to help ensure that the victims of this groundwater contamination will be able to seek justice and compensation for the severe illnesses they contracted while on the base.

That exposure was swift and frequent, since the groundwater had been used for drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning, and more. The contamination stemmed from chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, such as Trichloroethylene (TCE), Perchloroethylene (PCE), Benzene, Vinyl chloride, and over 70 other compounds. As for how these chemicals wound up in the groundwater, reports suggest that the chemicals originated from a dry-cleaning business located off-base, chemicals used by military personnel to clean their equipment on-base, and fuel storage tanks buried underground.

Since the early 1980s, several extensive environmental and medical research have been conducted to determine the sources and results of the contamination. Just as more compounds had been discovered as contributors to the contamination, more and more medical conditions have been compiled which are traceable to the substance exposure, including but not limited to:

  • Aplastic anemia

  • Birth complications

  • Bladder cancer

  • Breast cancer

  • Esophageal cancer

  • Female infertility

  • Hepatic steatosis

  • Kidney cancer

  • Leukemia

  • Liver cancer

  • Lung cancer

  • Miscarriage

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

  • Neurobehavioral effects

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Renal toxicity

  • Scleroderma

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a training facility for the United States military, which opened in 1941 in Jacksonville, North Carolina. It comprises 156,000 acres of land with state-of-the-art training facilities for various types of combat, including 11 miles of beach for amphibious assault training, and is supplemented by six other training satellite facilities nearby. Though owned and primarily used by the United States military, NATO forces and others from around the world have been known to participate in training exercises there as well. One of the sub-facilities at Lejeune became a third site for boot camp training for the Marines, in addition to San Diego, California and Parris Island, South Carolina.

This dark period should be examined and considered as not only a human health tragedy, but an environmental one as well. Questions about dumping regulations, cleanup responsibility and accountability, crisis management, and medical emergency management all deserve to be answered.

If you or a loved one was enlisted, worked, or lived on Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and have been diagnosed with a health complication that can be linked to cancer, Parkinson’s, birth complications, or other tragic loss, please reach out for a free consultation today. Belluck & Fox’s compassionate and award-winning lawyers can help you hold the U.S. government responsible for your exposure and resulting health problems.

Veterans get justice from Court for emergency room claims denied by VA

If you’re a veteran, you know how complicated getting medical care can be. In situations where you need emergency assistance at a facility not run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, that can lead to even more frustration, and often a denial of reimbursement.

No more, says a recent federal court ruling.

What happened?

The VA could be on the hook for as much as $6.5 billion in payments for hundreds of thousands of veterans who have filed or will file claims between 2016 and 2025. This is thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals deciding that an internal VA regulation banning these kinds of rejections was “unacceptable,” according to NBC News.

Why was it so bad?

“Not only was the VA not reimbursing veterans’ claims,” reported Fox News, “but the agency was actively telling veterans they weren’t entitled to payments for non-VA emergency care when, in fact, they are.” This action is at odds with previous federal rulings that said veterans were, in fact, entitled to submit and be reimbursed for these claims.

Military Times writes that In August, the VA Inspector General discovered over $50 million that should have been refunded under existing rules.

How can I get compensation?

If you submitted a claim for emergency care from a non-VA facility since 2016, or have pending claims with the VA, you may be entitled to compensation. Belluck & Fox can help you get what is rightfully yours.

Reach out for a free consultation to discuss your situation. The specific process for claim appeals is still under development by the VA, but there is still time to get started. If your case meets the criteria, we’ll work with you to ensure your proper benefits are provided.