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The Camp Lejeune Lawsuits: How Much Time Is Needed for Settlements?

For any havoc created because of toxic waters around the globe, Camp Lejeune is an obvious recall. It was in 1982 that the government identified chemicals from a dry cleaning utility and fuel storage tanks that were leaking and made it to the drinking water supply at the base. The water was polluted with volatile organic compounds that were over 400 times higher in concentration compared to the maximum safety limit.

After almost 17 years, in 1999, the Marine Corps started alerting people who worked and stayed at the base about the toxic chemicals and the physical harm they caused. Veterans and their family members affected by the toxic waters developed several kinds of cancer, infertility, birth defects, and many more.

It's been close to 70 years since the water contamination started. However, despite that, there are victims who are suffering from the long-term effects of the toxic waters and are seeking justice. Considering the delays, it is necessary to know the time that is required for the case settlements. 

In this article, we will shed light on this aspect so that victims are adequately prepared for it.

JAG Claims Need to Be Settled Within Six Months

The administrative claim must be resolved before the civil lawsuit falls under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. But the JAG (Justice Advocate General) should either accept or deny the claims six months after they were filed. Just in case the claim gets accepted, the DOJ (Department of Justice) needs to carry a maximum of the heavy water on such cases and offer a settlement amount to provide victim compensation.

Here, the settlement offer is going to be the settlement payout that gets demanded, or an amount less than that. If the claim is denied before the 6-month deadline, the victim can file their Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

Presently, there is ample speculation concerning the payout for Camp Lejeune and the way the administrative cases should be managed by JAG. Typically, for the cases that are managed by the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946), the administrative claims are merely a procedural hoop to jump through. Here, the claims are either denied immediately, or the process allows the 6-month timeline to expire.

Lawyers often think that the entire process might be separate from the Camp Lejeune legal complaints, and that can affect the time required to settle the lawsuits. All these cases are distinctive, as the government has made it certain that victims must get their share of fair compensation. To this effect, Congress came up with the CLJA (Camp Lejeune Justice Act) to ensure that the veterans and their family members affected by the toxic waters are compensated.

Cases With Strong Claims Can Settle Fast

It is estimated that JAG will recognize the strongest claims and make attempts to settle them. The deadline is 6 months, which indicates that the top-tier cases must result in settlement within a few months.

The strongest cases are going to be the ones where the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with an ailment that falls under the category of ‘presumptively related’ to the polluted waters at Camp Lejeune listed by the VA.

The list of ailments includes:

The other aspect that can make a plaintiff’s lawsuit stronger is the time they have spent at Camp Lejeune. The ones who have stayed for a long time, such as years rather than months, will naturally have a stronger claim owing to their exposure to the harmful waters.

TorHoerman Law states that a lawyer ensures that their client’s case is strong and compelling so that the verdict is in their favor. To make the case solid, victims must share every piece of vital evidence, including medical records, medical bills, and healthcare data, so that they can get covered for their economic and non-economic damages.

Second-Tier Legal Cases Might Take Time to Settle

Plaintiffs who have developed health conditions that aren’t considered presumptively related to the polluted waters of Camp Lejeune can still receive compensation. But chances are that these cases will take more time to settle. Ailments that fall into the second-tier group are prostate cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer.

JAG might take the initiative to settle these cases at the time of the administrative claim phase. However, the offers will still be very low. And a huge section of such cases has a fair chance to move beyond the stage of administrative claim. Hence, it is necessary to file the Camp Lejeune lawsuit at the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The standard time frame required for civil tort cases at the federal court spans between 16 and 26 months, from when the jury trial starts. But maybe the Camp Lejeune lawsuits might prove to be slightly different. The victims today also have the ‘Elective Option’ to opt for, which is a faster payout choice. However, victims must understand the pros and cons and then arrive at an informed decision.

In summary, it is necessary to keep in mind that the Camp Lejeune lawsuit will take different time frames for different victims. However, if the case is strong, and the ailment falls under the list of diseases presumptively linked with toxic waters, the payouts can be faster. Based on the urgency of the treatment, victims can also opt for the Elective Option. That aside, civil tort cases might take up to two years to get settled.


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