Filing Camp Lejeune lawsuits in Texas, or any state for that matter, involves a legal process that requires careful consideration and adherence to specific legal procedures. The Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit typically falls under personal injury or wrongful death claims due to the adverse health effects caused by exposure to contaminated water. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved in filing such lawsuits in Texas.
Consultation with an Attorney
The first and crucial step is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury or toxic tort cases. Look for lawyers who have experience with environmental contamination cases or military-related issues.
Your attorney will evaluate your eligibility for filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. Eligibility criteria typically involve proving exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and establishing a link between that exposure and any resulting health issues.
Statute of Limitations
Understand the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas. The statute of limitations determines the time frame within which you must file your lawsuit after discovering the harm. In Texas, this time frame can vary depending on the nature of your claim, so consult your attorney for specifics.
Since this litigation was given the green light legislatively in 2022, and only allowed a new 2 years statute of limitations, the claimant must file their Camp Lejeune lawsuit by August 10, 2024. The Act also states that if your original claim for compensation was denied, you have 180 days from the Act’s passing to take legal action. So time is of the essence, and the deadline is crucial, if you miss the deadline, you may never be able to pursue a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 was signed on August 10, 2022.
Your attorney will help you gather evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, military service records, documentation of exposure, and expert testimony linking the exposure to your health issues.
Filing the Administrative Claim
The claims process begins with the filing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) Claims Form. A claimant seeking a recovery must first file an administrative claim to the Department of the Navy. The Department of the Navy then has six months to review the administrative claim. Only if there is no response or offer of settlement, then the claimant moves to the next stage.
Filing the Lawsuit
Your attorney will draft and file a complaint in the federal court in the district of North Carolina court, Eastern Division, (see information on MDL consolidation below) outlining the details of your case, the parties involved, and the damages you are seeking.
Notification and Response
Once the lawsuit is filed, the defendants (often government agencies or responsible parties) will be notified, and they will respond to the lawsuit, either by admitting liability, denying liability, or seeking to have the case dismissed.
Both parties engage in a discovery process, during which they exchange information and evidence related to the case. This may involve depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents.
Negotiation or Trial
Depending on the progress of the case and any settlement offers, negotiations may occur. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
The lawsuit will either result in a settlement or a court verdict. If you win your case, you may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Appeal (if necessary)
If either party is dissatisfied with the court’s decision, they may appeal the case to a higher court.
It’s important to consult with an attorney experienced in this specific area of law because Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits can be complex and may involve federal and state laws, as well as considerations related to military service. An attorney can guide you through the process and help you understand your legal rights and options.