Limited 2012 Camp Lejeune Relief Bill Needs to Be Replaced

In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. The Act was the government's feeble response to a tragedy at one of the country's preeminent military bases. While unreimbursed medical bills were paid for, there is a new House Bill that would allow for full “damages” claims: pain and suffering, permanent injury, emotional damages, wrongful death, and other claims.

Under the 2012 legislation, veterans and their families exposed to contaminated drinking water could automatically qualify for certain modest medical benefits. From 1953 to 1987, military veterans and their families were exposed to toxic chemicals that had been dumped into the groundwater surrounding the Camp. Thousands of vets and family members became sick and died after exposure to these toxins.

The government's response was akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet hole. The Act offered certain medical benefits for some types of toxic exposure in the form of medical expense payments. These included various cancers, pregnancy-related issues and some skin diseases. However, most importantly, the companies that dumped the chemicals were immune from any form of litigation due to the restrictive and unfair laws in North Carolina.

Given the serious health effects caused by these toxins, this was a pretty pathetic response to the tragedy, especially considering the victims were our country's most honorable demographic-military veterans and their families.

Should the new legislation pass and full damages be available to veterans and their families, we will be ready to act. We understand the importance of North Carolina counsel and have combined with a Camp Lejeune law firm in Onslow County with decades of experience in helping active military members and veterans, as well as their families, on many matters. They have monitored the progress leading to this Act for years. They are also familiar with the Federal Tort Claims Act and helping preserve the rights of injured military personnel in the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.