Why Most Camp Lejeune Claims Won’t Be Heard by Jury

Camp Lejeune, a prominent United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina, has been controversial for decades due to water contamination issues. The toxic chemicals in the base’s water supply have led to health problems among veterans and their families stationed there.

While many affected individuals seek justice through legal channels, the reality is that a jury won’t hear most Camp Lejeune claims.

In this article, we delve into the reasons behind this unfortunate reality. We will also explore the challenges faced by those seeking recourse for the harm caused by water contamination.

The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Crisis

The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis is a sobering reminder of the devastating consequences of environmental negligence. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with various toxic substances. These chemicals include volatile organic compounds like trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE).

The contaminants seeped into the base’s drinking water supply from leaky storage tanks, industrial runoff, and improper waste disposal practices. Military personnel and their families who lived on the base during this period were unwittingly exposed to these hazardous chemicals.

Studies have linked the Camp Lejeune water contamination to a range of illnesses, including various cancers, birth defects, and neurological disorders. One of the most associated health concerns is Parkinson’s disease.

According to neurosciencenews.com, studies have revealed a strong link between long-term exposure to TCE and a 70% increased risk of Parkinson’s. Similarly, there are several other health problems, like testicular and bladder cancers, associated with Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.

Legal Battles and Challenges

Revelations about the extent of the contamination and its health impacts led to affected individuals pursuing legal action. Treating health conditions and other damages requires a substantial sum of money. This is especially true as the cost of hospitalization and treatment have increased significantly over the decades.

Thus, the plaintiffs seek compensation for the medical expenses and other damages. However, seeking court justice has proven to be an uphill battle for many claimants. Plaintiffs have faced several significant challenges impeding their ability to have their cases heard by a jury.

For instance, no one knows what is the average payout for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit going to be? This is one of the most crucial questions from the victim’s standpoint. However, there’s no saying what it is going to be. Since only a handful of cases have settled, there’s no specific payout range.

However, experts believe the settlement can range from $10,000 to $100,000 based on various factors. According to TorHoerman Law, some of the factors that can influence the compensation amounts are:

  • Exposure to contaminated water
  • The severity of the injuries
  • Financial or economic losses
  • Non-economic damages
  • Strength of the evidence that proves exposure to contaminated water

Plaintiffs face several other challenges. For instance, the cases have been ongoing for several years now. However, the hearings have yet to be scheduled. Due to this bureaucratic waiting game, Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy.

Florida residents are the second most impacted population by Camp Lejeune’s water contamination. Therefore, Marco Rubio wrote a letter demanding action for the Camp Lejeune victims.

Another major challenge recently appearing in these lawsuits is that most claims might not go to jury trials.

Why Jury Would Not Hear Most Camp Lejeune Claims

The recent court order regarding the handling of Camp Lejeune claims has sparked significant debate and concern among thousands of individuals. On August 10, 2022, President Joe Biden passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This gave some hope for a fair and just resolution to the myriad of claims stemming from the contamination.

However, the Act’s failure to explicitly provide for jury trials has led to a pivotal decision: trials will be heard solely by judges. According to a Bloomberg Law article, this court order effectively excludes jury trials as an option for approximately 160,000 claimants.

The absence of jury trials removes a crucial element of citizen involvement and oversight from the legal process. Juries are often seen as the embodiment of community representation, capable of delivering verdicts based on collective conscience and empathy.

By relegating these cases solely to judges, claimants may feel disconnected and mistrustful of the judicial system. They may fear their voices and experiences will not be fully understood or considered.

Moreover, denying jury trials could impact the potential outcomes of these cases. Juries have historically been more sympathetic towards plaintiffs in environmental hazard cases. Without the opportunity for a jury trial, claimants may face a more uncertain path toward achieving adequate redress for their grievances.

Alternative Compensation Mechanisms

Given the formidable legal hurdles faced by Camp Lejeune claimants seeking recourse through the courts, alternative compensation mechanisms have emerged. For instance, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) might be able to give some compensation.

Veterans who suffer from service-connected disabilities, including health conditions linked to Camp Lejeune, may be eligible for disability compensation through the VA. The VA considers certain illnesses, such as certain cancers and neurological disorders, as presumptively service-connected for veterans who served at Camp Lejeune.

However, challenges exist here as well. Many complaints have been filed that the VA has not handled claims appropriately. According to Marine Corps Times, many disabled veterans have been cheated out of financial compensation by the personnel handling the affairs. The numbers stand at around 21,000 veterans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has Anyone Received a Settlement From Camp Lejeune?

Yes, there have been 17 settlements as of March 2024, with a total settlement amount of around $3.6 million. Unfortunately, not all individuals affected by the contamination at Camp Lejeune have received settlements. While some claims have been settled, many are still pending or denied.

How Many Lawsuits Against Camp Lejeune?

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Camp Lejeune due to water contamination issues. Around 1,633 Camp Lejeune lawsuits are pending. Additionally, more than 174,000 administrative claims have been filed.

Can I File a Camp Lejeune Claim Without a Lawyer?

It’s possible to file a claim without a lawyer, but seeking legal representation is recommended due to the complexity of these cases. A lawyer experienced in handling Camp Lejeune claims can help navigate the process and improve the chances of a successful outcome.

How Much Do Lawyers Get From Camp Lejeune Settlement?

The settlement percentage that lawyers receive can vary depending on the terms of the representation agreement. In these types of cases, attorneys typically take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they prevail. They may get up to 20% of the settlement amount as their percentage.

To conclude, the Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis is a stark reminder of the far-reaching impacts of environmental negligence on public health. Many individuals affected by the contamination seek justice through the legal system. However, the reality is that a jury won’t hear most Camp Lejeune claims due to a variety of legal challenges and barriers.

Load WordPress Sites in as fast as 37ms!

Latest Articles