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Process for Filing a Claim

What is the Process for Filing a Camp LeJeune Claim?

Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, housed Marines, Navy personnel, and their families between 1953 and 1987. Unfortunately, during this time, the base’s water supply was contaminated with toxic chemicals, which led to serious health issues for those exposed.
If you or a loved one were stationed at Camp Lejeune during this time and have suffered from illnesses related to toxic exposure, you may be eligible for compensation. These types of claims are very complicated, however, and they involve specific steps and procedures that must be followed. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you work with an attorney who specializes in Camp Lejeune litigation.

Here are the main steps involved in filing a Camp Lejeune injury claim:

1

Determine Eligibility

Before initiating a claim, it is essential to determine whether you or a loved one is eligible to file. There are specific criteria that must be met in order to have a valid claim, which includes:

Presence at Camp Lejeune

The claimant must have been at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. This period is when the water contamination took place, and the exposure could have occurred at any point during this time frame. It is important to note that military personnel, their family members, and civilian workers may all be eligible if they were present at the base during the specified period.

Exposure to Toxic Water

The individual filing the claim must demonstrate that they were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This exposure could have occurred in various settings, including living quarters, places of work, or recreational areas within the base. The claimant must provide sufficient evidence of such exposure, which can include documents, photographs, or personal testimony.

Illness Related to Toxic Exposure

Lastly, the claimant must have developed an illness or medical condition that can be linked to the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune. This can be a challenging aspect of the claim process, as it requires proving a causal relationship between the exposure and the illness.

There are several illnesses that have been identified by the government as likely linked to contaminated water at the base. This includes:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Many others…

2

Gather Evidence

Once you have determined your eligibility for a Camp Lejeune claim, the next step is to gather substantial evidence to support your claim. Assembling a strong body of evidence is crucial in proving your case and obtaining compensation for your illness or injury.

Here are some key types of evidence and steps to take when gathering information for your claim:

  • Military Records: Obtaining your military records is essential in establishing your presence at Camp Lejeune during the required period. These records can include personnel files, duty station reports, housing assignments, and any other documentation that can verify your time at the base. You can request your military records through the National Archives using the Standard Form 180 (SF-180) Request Pertaining to Military Records. Make sure to request all pertinent records, as these can be invaluable in proving your case.
  • Medical Records: Medical records are a critical component of your claim as they can help establish the link between the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune and your illness or injury. Request copies of your medical records from all healthcare providers who treated you for the condition and any diagnostic test results, medical evaluations, and treatment plans. Be sure to review these records for accuracy and completeness.
  • Expert Medical Opinion: Obtaining a medical expert’s opinion can significantly strengthen your claim as it provides a professional assessment of the connection between your illness and the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune. Consult with a medical professional who has experience in environmental exposure cases and can evaluate your medical records to help determine if there is a causal relationship between the contamination and your illness.
  • Witness Statements: Personal testimony from witnesses who can attest to your presence at Camp Lejeune and your exposure to the contaminated water can be helpful. This may include fellow service members, family members, or civilian workers who were also present during the required period. Gather written statements from these individuals detailing their own experiences and observations, as well as any relevant information about your exposure.
  • Photographic Evidence: Photographs taken during your time at Camp Lejeune can serve as additional evidence, helping to verify your presence at the base and your exposure to contaminated water sources. These images may depict your living quarters, work areas, or recreational spaces where you may have come into contact with the toxic water.
  • Personal Timeline: Creating a detailed timeline of your time at Camp Lejeune, including your arrival and departure dates, duty assignments, and living arrangements, can help organize your evidence and provide a clear picture of your exposure. Be sure to include any medical events or diagnoses related to your illness, as this can help demonstrate the link between your exposure and your condition.

3

File an Administrative Claim

After determining your eligibility and gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim, the next step is to file an administrative claim. To ensure your claim is properly filed, follow these guidelines:

Complete the Standard Form 95 (SF-95)

The SF-95 is the official form used to submit an administrative claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). You can download the form here. Fill out the form accurately and thoroughly, providing all the required information, including your personal details, a description of your claim, the amount of compensation you are seeking, and the basis for your claim.

Attach Supporting Documents

Attach copies of all the evidence you have gathered to support your claim, such as military records, medical records, expert medical opinions, witness statements, environmental reports, photographs, and your personal timeline. If you are working with an attorney, they will organize these documents in a logical manner and create a table of contents to help the reviewing agency navigate your claim.

Draft a Cover Letter

A well-written cover letter can be an effective tool in summarizing your claim and highlighting the key pieces of evidence you are submitting. In the letter, briefly explain your eligibility, the nature of your illness or injury, and how the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune caused your condition. Be sure to reference the attached supporting documents to reinforce your case.

Review and Verify Your Claim

Before submitting your claim, carefully review all the materials with your attorney, including the completed SF-95, supporting documents, and your cover letter, to ensure accuracy and completeness. Verify that all required information is provided and that your claim is well-organized and easy to understand.

Submit Your Claim

Once you have completed the SF-95 and compiled all the necessary supporting documents, your lawyer will submit your claim to the appropriate federal agency responsible for the administration of Camp Lejeune claims. This is typically the Department of the Navy, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Tort Claims Unit. Be sure to keep a copy of your entire claim for your records.

Monitor Your Claim’s Progress

After submitting your claim, your lawyer will follow up periodically to check on its status. The federal agency has six months to review and respond to your claim, but the process may take longer in some cases. During this period, be prepared to provide any additional information or documentation requested by the agency to support your claim.

Understand the Potential Outcomes

The federal agency may approve, deny, or offer a settlement for your claim. If your claim is approved or a settlement is offered, your lawyer will carefully review the terms and conditions with you to help determine if the offer is in your best interests. If your claim is denied, you have the option to file a lawsuit in federal court.

4

File a Formal Complaint and Prove Toxic Exposure Caused an Illness

If your administrative claim is denied or if the settlement offered is insufficient, you have the option to file a formal complaint in federal court. This step requires a more strategic approach as you will need to prove that the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune caused your illness. To effectively navigate this process, you will need to follow these guidelines:

Prepare the Formal Complaint

Your attorney will draft a formal complaint, which is a legal document outlining the basis of your claim, the specific allegations against the responsible parties, and the damages you are seeking. This document will be filed with the court and served on the defendants, initiating the lawsuit.

Conduct Discovery

Once the lawsuit is underway, both parties will engage in discovery, a process of gathering and exchanging information relevant to the case. This may involve requesting documents, taking depositions, and obtaining expert opinions. Your attorney will help you navigate this process and ensure that you obtain the necessary evidence to support your claim.

Prove Causation

To be successful in your lawsuit, you must prove that the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune caused your illness. This typically involves establishing the following:

  • Exposure: Demonstrate that you were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune during the relevant time period. As we discussed earlier, this can be established through military records, witness statements, and other evidence.
  • Medical Connection: Provide medical evidence linking your illness to toxic exposure at the base. This may include medical records, expert medical opinions, and scientific studies demonstrating the connection between the specific contaminants and your illness.
  • Timing: Show that the timing of your illness is consistent with the exposure, taking into account the latency period for your specific condition.
  • Present Your Case in Court: If your case proceeds to trial, your attorney will present the evidence gathered during discovery to the court. They will argue that the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune caused your illness and that the defendants are responsible for the damages you have suffered.
  • Obtain a Judgment or Settlement: If the court finds in your favor, they will award damages based on the evidence presented. Alternatively, the parties may reach a settlement agreement before the case goes to trial or during the trial process. Your attorney will help you evaluate any settlement offers to ensure that they are fair and appropriate.
  • Appeal if Necessary: If the outcome of your case is unfavorable, you may have the option to appeal the decision to a higher court. Your attorney can advise you on the likelihood of success upon appeal and help you decide whether it is a viable option.

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While waiting for your Camp Lejeune lawsuit to be resolved, you may face financial hardships. Direct Legal Funding offers pre-settlement lawsuit loans to help you alleviate these difficulties and stay afloat during this challenging time.

There are several benefits that recipients of lawsuit loans receive:

  • Quick funding: Obtain the funds you need as quickly as possible, usually within 24-48 hours after approval.
  • No monthly payments: Enjoy financial peace of mind without the burden of monthly payments while your claim is ongoing.
  • Non-recourse funding: If you don’t win your lawsuit, you won’t have to repay the loan.
  • No collateral needed: You don’t have to put up collateral to secure the loan because it is secured by your eventual settlement or trial verdict.

Contact Direct Legal Funding to Get Started on Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Loan

Filing a Camp Lejeune claim can be a complex process, but with the help of an attorney, you can navigate the steps effectively and obtain the compensation you deserve. If you are short of cash in the meantime, a pre-settlement lawsuit loan from Direct Legal Funding can provide you with the financial relief you need while your lawsuit is pending. We offer the most competitive interest rates and the best terms and conditions on Camp Lejeune lawsuit loans.

Call us today at 866-941-5588 or apply online to get started on your pre-settlement funding application.

 

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