What You Need to Know About The PACT Act of 2022
In order to understand the PACT Act of 2022, we’ll summarize the history of Camp Lejeune and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This bill will allow veterans to file suit against the government for damages sustained from living or working at Camp Lejeune.
History of Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune is a United States Marine Corps (USMC) base located in North Carolina established in 1942. Between the 50’s and the early 80’s, it is estimated that several hundreds of thousands of people, from military to civilian staff and their families were exposed to contaminated water.
The contamination in 2 of the 8 water treatment plants on the base was discovered in 1982 by the Marine Corps. The source of the contamination was determined to be caused by waste disposal practices by an off-base dry cleaning facility. Other sources of contamination included leaking underground storage tanks, industrial spills, and waste disposal sites.
What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
In 2022, a bill passed through the House with bipartisan support titled the “Honoring our PACT act” which included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a bill that would allow veterans, their family, civilian workers, contractors and anyone else that worked or lived at the base to file claims to recover damages for harm from the exposure to the contaminated waters at the base from between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. This bill would allow the victims to be compensated after decades of being denied.
What is the Honoring Our PACT Act?
The Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 is a bill that will address health care, resources and other matters related to veterans that were previously exposed to toxic substances during military service.
This bill goes further than compensation of Camp Lejeune toxic water victims, and will instead guarantee a variety of benefits previously made unavailable to veterans. One of the most unique aspects of this legislation is that it waives the government’s immunity that would normally apply to injuries and damages incurred by military members while on active duty.
How to Claim Compensation from Camp Lejeune?
If you, or one of your loved one’s health was affected by contaminated water from Camp Lejeune, you may be in a position to claim compensation. Filing suit against the government is a difficult and tedious process, but now that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is in place, your strongest option would be contacting a lawyer that specializes in navigating the legal intricacies of the Camp Lejeune Mass Tort litigation.
The first step will be filing an administrative claim with the Navy Tort Claims Unit. That unit than has 6 months to reply to your claim. After 6 months, or when you receive a response, you can then file a lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Although the Eastern District has said many of these lawsuits should actually be filed in the Southern District Courts. Either way, an experienced attorney with environmental harm claims and complex litigation is your best option to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines or make a demand that limits your potential compensation.