Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, better known simply as Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has cultivated notoriety among many who were stationed or lived there for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Anecdotal evidence from veterans and their families, along with statistical reviews of the available data, indicated that many who lived on the base during those years were more likely than members of the general population to develop a range of illnesses. These included various forms of cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Experts eventually confirmed the suspicions of those who believed they or their loved ones had been exposed to hazards at Camp Lejeune. Analysts who investigated the matter discovered the water supply at Camp Lejeune contained potentially harmful levels of numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Thus, many who lived at the base consumed these VOCs in their drinking water or were exposed to them when bathing, doing dishes, etc.
A Path to Compensation for Camp Lejeune Victims
The Honoring Our PACT Act is designed to extend the healthcare benefits of veterans exposed to toxic chemicals both outside the country and at home. This will, if it is signed into law, would also provide a means for veterans who developed illnesses resulting from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to seek compensation accordingly.
Sadly, the bill has hit a roadblock. The Senate, which had initially supported the bill, recently voted it down after the House made some amendments.
Senator Thom Tillis, one of the lawmakers originally involved in drafting the bill, rejected the new version because it requires the Veterans Administration to oversee its implementation if it becomes law. Tillis and others have noted that the VA itself indicates it would be unable to manage this responsibility effectively, as it is already overburdened. Adding this to the VA’s responsibilities could negatively impact veterans in other ways by stretching the VA’s resources too thin.
The fact that the Honoring Our PACT Act has not moved forward as swiftly as some would hope is unfortunate. However, this doesn’t mean those who believe they have grounds to file claims seeking compensation for losses associated with exposure to Camp Lejeune’s water should give up. There is still reason to believe that once changes are made that satisfy both parties, a version of this bill will be passed.
That means those who wish to seek compensation through the bill should begin preparing now by reviewing their cases with lawyers. A legal professional can investigate a victim’s case and help them gather evidence indicating they developed an illness because they consumed or were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Thus, when the time is right for a victim to move forward with their claim or lawsuit, they will be ready to do so, optimizing their chances of recovering the compensation they are owed sooner rather than later.
Do you believe you or a loved one became ill from Camp Lejeune’s water? If so, our Miami, FL Camp Lejeune attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson are on hand to go over your case and discuss your legal options in greater detail. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 305-476-7400.