Camp LeJeune Process Needs Overhaul

Since the first claim was filed under the Camp Lejeune water contamination act in 2022, no one has reached a settlement or taken their case to court. Claimants, US Navy attorneys, and attorneys for claimants are seeing that the Camp Lejeune process needs an overhaul.

Because of the unusual nature of this type of claim, any lawsuits must be filed in North Carolina’s Eastern US District Courts. A lawyer, like Houston’s William Herren, who is handling and filing claims for qualified claimants, can help file a Camp Lejeune claim.

Problems with the Claims Process

After the signing of the PACT Act, more than 60,000 claims have already been filed. It’s expected that an estimated 500,000 to 1 million cases could be filed, so there are many calling for a better process, including one of the judges from the North Carolina Eastern US District Courts. There is already a volume of claims that appear to be overwhelming the system in place. So far, the US Navy has offer limited solutions to make the process easier for the government, the claimants, their legal counsel, and the courts.

The Current Process

When someone files a Camp Lejeune claim using Form 95, it is submitted to the court for determination. Once the claim is filed, the government has 180 days to accept or deny the claim. Lawyers for the US Navy are handling these claims.

Should the government deny the claim, then the claim must be decided in a court of law. This is where things will quickly become complicated. The concern is that with only four judges, these cases will continue to create a backlog of cases. A backlog could have claimants, also known as plaintiffs, waiting years for their suits to be decided. Someone with a terminal illness may never see a judgment for their case or families who have already lost a parent or spouse due to water contamination may not see compensation for years.

The Judge’s Request

Judge James Dever, one of just four in the Eastern District of North Carolina, has requested that the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the Navy’s lawyers collaborate to improve and streamline the claims process to avoid the potential bottleneck for these cases. The judge suggested that the involved attorneys on both sides:

1. Create a database of all affected victims
2. Include the extent of their injuries and causations
3. How long each victim lived on or worked at Camp Lejeune
4. Combine similar cases
5. Set up a structure for settlements

The judge specifically requested that the attorneys work together to focus on the affected victims and their family members, which includes a high number of children who were either miscarried, stillborn, or died later from the effects of the contamination. Following the first hearing in April, Judge Dever gave attorneys a month to create a leadership team to devise the new process.

May 26, 2023 – Navy Blames Staffing and Budget

In an email to claimants’ lawyers, a Navy attorney, Jennifer Tennile Karnes admitted that the Navy lacks the necessary financial resources and staff to promptly review compensation claims from veterans affected by toxic water at Camp Lejeune. She mentioned that the tort claims unit is working excessive overtime to handle the claims and expressed hope to double the staff by the end of summer. However, the Navy has yet to establish the promised online portal for expediting claims, and Congress has not allocated the additional funds needed to manage the compensation program. She described the Camp Lejeune claims process with a great metaphor: “building a plane mid-air.”

Contact The Herren Law Firm For Your Camp Lejeune Claim

Regardless of these difficulties with the Camp Lejeune process, it still is worth making a claim before the deadline. Missing the deadline will eliminate you from even being considered for compensation.  You must file your claim filed by August 10, 2024, so timing is critical. Please contact our offices immediately to learn more.

For more than 30 years, the Herren law firm has helped veterans and other disabled people with their benefits claims and appeals. We have extensive experience dealing with governmental agencies and the claims that are filed with them. We are focused on successfully getting claimants their settlements. If you or someone you know became ill after being stationed at Camp Lejeune, get in touch with us immediately.

We’ve helped over 4,000 people with disability and veteran claims and appeals, and we look forward to helping you. Contact us today by calling (713) 682-8194 or using our online contact form our consultation is free.  We work on a contingency basis so you won’t owe us a fee until we settle your case.

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