Earlier this month, United States Armed Forces servicemembers and activists celebrated a major milestone: Legislation was finally signed into law that will help veterans exposed to different kinds of toxic substances during their service recover damages for their injuries. An important part of this legislation aims to help servicemembers, their families, and employees who were living at Camp Lejeune from 1953 through 1987, when leaking toxic substances from a nearby dry cleaning factory tainted the drinking water with dangerous chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals resulted in many long-term and even fatal illnesses for many people and now, thanks to this legislation, they can now pursue compensation for their injuries.
How Can I Prove I Lived at Camp Lejeune?
Unfortunately, getting benefits for injuries sustained at Camp Lejeune is not an instant guarantee. Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination will need to prove that they were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987. They will also need to show evidence that they were injured by the water at Camp Lejeune.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can help servicemembers obtain records of their military service. Personnel Files can be requested online using the VA’s website or by mailing or faxing requests to the National Personnel Records Center. Family members of deceased servicemembers can get records for their loved ones as well.
Which Diseases Are Covered By the New Law?
Exposure to the toxic chemicals has been strongly linked to the development of certain diseases. Past and current medical records are essential for proving a link between Camp Lejeune and illness; servicemembers can get their past medical records from the VA going back several decades. The diseases that have been linked to Camp Lejeune water so far include:
Bladder, kidney, and liver cancer
How Much Time Do I Have to Bring a Compensation Claim?
The recently enacted legislation requires Camp Lejeune victims to take action within a strict two-year deadline, so it is important to take action right away. Once a claim is filed, the Judge Advocate General (JAG) has six months to accept or reject the claim. An attorney can handle the claims process for you and help you gather the evidence you need to prove you were stationed at Camp Lejeune and were injured as a result.
Call a Chicago, IL Camp Lejeune Injury Lawyer
If you were injured by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, contact the experienced firm of Illinois Camp Lejeune injury attorneys with Schwartz Injury Law. We believe servicemembers, their families, and Camp Lejeune employees deserve compensation for the harm they have suffered while serving our nation and will fight to prove your injuries and secure the benefits to which you are entitled. Call us today and schedule a free consultation at 708-226-9000.