What the Camp Lejeune Rule Change Means for Veterans

VA disability attorney and client

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is aimed to provide financial relief and accountability for thousands of veterans and their families who developed severe illnesses from consuming contaminated drinking water at the base. Unfortunately, a recent rule change will likely cause delays.

Still, veterans and their families who have been exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune deserve justice and compensation for their illness. Many Camp Lejeune lawsuits are ongoing as the new rule change takes effect.

Who Is Eligible for Disability Benefits from Camp Lejeune?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans and their families who spent 30 days or more at Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River may qualify for disability compensation. However, this only pertains to those who spent time at those bases between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987.

The VA says veterans, reservists, and National Guard members may qualify for benefits, provided they were not dishonorably discharged. Anyone seeking disability compensation benefits must be diagnosed with one of the presumptive health conditions linked to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River.

What Is a Presumptive Condition for Camp Lejeune Veterans Benefits?

Typically, when you apply for VA disability benefits or VA health care, you have to prove how your injury or illness relates to your military service. However, in some cases, the VA automatically assumes specific injuries or illnesses relate to your service simply based on your diagnosis. These injuries and illnesses have a presumptive service connection. According to the VA, the presumptive health conditions related to toxic substances at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River include:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

If you suffer from another medical condition, such as brain cancer or lung cancer, that you believe was caused by Camp Lejeune’s water supply, a legal representative can evaluate your case and guide you to seek appropriate relief.

What Is the Rule Change for Camp Lejeune Cases?

The recent change for Camp Lejeune cases concerns the right of people who have filed claims against the government to have a jury trial. The judge overseeing the Camp Lejeune litigation has ruled that plaintiffs in these cases do not have the right to a jury trial, despite language in the Camp Lejeune Act that seemingly grants plaintiffs this right. An appeal is ongoing, but in the meantime, this rule change has slowed the pace of Camp Lejeune cases.

This rule change matters because juries often award plaintiffs more compensation than judges in civil cases. But, letting judges handle the cases might also speed up the legal process. For now, it’s vital to file your claim before the Aug. 10, 2024 deadline and watch for any updates in the ongoing legal process.

How Disability Law Group Can Help You Pursue VA Benefits

The delays are undeniably frustrating for Camp Lejeune victims and the families affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Working with experienced Camp Lejeune lawyers is crucial to seeking the justice you deserve.

Disability Law Group can handle all the paperwork and legal procedures in your case, keep you updated on the latest developments, gather your medical records and other evidence to establish your service-connected disabilities, and fight to maximize your compensation. Let us handle the legal process for you so you can focus on your health. Call Disability Law Group today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.