The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history. For over 30 years, millions of people who lived or worked at the place were exposed to toxic chemicals in the base’s drinking water. These chemicals have been linked to a variety of serious health problems, including cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders.
In recent years, many people who have been affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination have filed lawsuits against the government. These lawsuits seek financial compensation for the harm that has been caused. However, there are both pros and cons to filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Some of the main benefits of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit are:
A. Potential for Financial Compensation
One of the main reasons why people file Camp Lejeune lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for the harm that they have suffered. If you are successful in your lawsuit, you could be awarded a significant amount of money to help pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
TorHoerman Law notes that the amount of money you could be awarded will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the length of time you were exposed to the contamination, and the evidence you can present to support your claim. However, even if you are only awarded a small amount of money, it could still be a significant help to you.
According to the Camp Lejeune lawsuit update, lawmakers from both political parties are urging the Navy to accelerate the resolution of cases related to toxic water poisoning at Camp Lejeune. Despite President Biden’s signing of a bill establishing a framework for addressing veterans’ health claims, the Navy has not yet settled any of the approximately 45,000 claims linked to the contamination.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as 1 million people may have been impacted by the contaminated water, and the government could potentially spend up to $21 billion to address these claims.
Of course, there is no guarantee that you will be successful in your lawsuit. However, if you have been affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination, filing a lawsuit is a way to seek financial compensation for the harm that you have suffered.
B. Public Recognition of the Harm Caused by the Contamination
Filing a lawsuit can help to raise awareness of the Camp Lejeune water contamination and the long-term health effects that it has caused. This can be important for several reasons.
First, it can help to inform the public about the dangers of contamination. Many people are unaware that Camp Lejeune was contaminated with toxic chemicals and that these chemicals have caused serious health problems.
Second, filing a lawsuit can help hold the government accountable for its negligence. The government knew about the contamination for years but did nothing to warn the public or clean up the problem.
Third, filing a lawsuit can help give a voice to those affected by the contamination. Many people who have been affected by the contamination feel like they have been ignored by the government.
C. Sense of Justice
Filing a lawsuit can give people a sense of justice by holding the government accountable for its negligence. It can also help to ensure that those who have been affected are not forgotten.
In addition, filing a lawsuit can help to provide closure for those who have been harmed. It provides a sense of assurance that they have taken all possible steps to pursue justice for the wrongdoing inflicted upon them.
Some of the potential drawbacks of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit are:
A. Financial Costs
Filing a lawsuit can be expensive. There are several costs associated with filing a lawsuit, including:
- Attorney fees: Lawyers typically charge a contingency fee, which means that they only get paid if you win your case. However, the contingency fee can be as high as 40% of your recovery, which can be a significant amount of money.
- Court filing fees: There are court filing fees that must be paid when you file a lawsuit. These fees can vary depending on the jurisdiction where you file your lawsuit.
- Expert witness fees: If you need to hire expert witnesses to testify in your case, you will be responsible for paying their fees. These fees can be significant, especially if you need to hire multiple experts.
- Other costs: There may be other costs associated with filing a lawsuit, such as the cost of copying documents, the cost of travel, and the cost of depositions.
However, AboutLawsuits.com notes that new legislation has been introduced by a group of Republican senators that seeks to establish a cap on attorneys’ fees for Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. Under this proposed legislation, attorney fees would be limited to a mere 2% if the claim is resolved through an administrative process.
Additionally, contingency fees for Camp Lejeune cases would be capped at 10% of the awarded amount, even if the lawsuit necessitates a full jury trial.
B. Time Commitment
Marine Corps Times states that even if lawsuits are successful, it is expected that they will still require a considerable amount of time to reach completion, spanning months or even years. According to estimates, the initial payouts are unlikely to occur until at least the summer of 2024.
Moreover, these initial payouts are likely to be limited to cases that are relatively straightforward to prove, such as severe injuries without a clear explanation other than exposure to contaminated water.
During this time, you will need to be prepared to commit a significant amount of time and energy to your case. You must meet with your lawyer regularly, provide them with documents and information, and attend court hearings. You may also need to testify in court.
C. Uncertainty of Outcome
One of the biggest challenges of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit is the uncertainty of the outcome. There is no guarantee that you will be successful in your lawsuit, even if you have a strong case.
Several factors can affect the outcome of a lawsuit, including the judge or jury, the evidence you can present, and the arguments your attorney makes. Even if you have a strong case, there is always the possibility that the judge or jury will not rule in your favor.
However, it is important to remember that even if you are not successful in your lawsuit, you may still be able to achieve some of your goals, such as raising awareness of the contamination or holding the government accountable.
The other considerations that you need to be aware of before filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit are:
A. VA Benefits
If you are receiving VA disability benefits for a condition that is linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination, you may be concerned about losing those benefits if you file a lawsuit. However, it is important to note that you can still receive VA benefits even if you file a lawsuit.
According to VA News, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 specifically prohibits the VA from reducing or denying VA benefits to a veteran who files a lawsuit under the act. This means that you can still receive your VA disability benefits, even if you file a lawsuit against the government for the harm caused by the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
B. Settlement options
In some cases, the government may offer to settle a Camp Lejeune lawsuit before it goes to trial. This could be a good option for people who are not interested in going through a long and drawn-out legal process. Settlements can be reached in a variety of ways and amounts, including mediation and arbitration.
There are many factors to consider before making your decision to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, and we hope this article has helped you better understand the pros and cons of doing it.
If you still have questions or concerns about your case, please contact an attorney today to understand your options.