Flint, MI– Starting this week, those who registered for the Flint water lawsuit settlement will be able to begin submitting their claims.
The $626.25 million settlement, which was announced in August 2020 and gained final approval in November 2021, will resolve all litigation related to the water crisis against the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Rowe Engineering, and McLaren Hospital.
Now that the settlement has final approval, registrants will be able to submit claims starting on Jan. 12, 2022. The deadline to submit claims is May 12, 2022, giving registrants 120 days.
On Jan. 6, the Co-Lead Class Counsel Team for the settlement hosted a virtual town hall providing information about what to expect with the claims forms, and how to move forward with the claims process. Here are some key takeaways:
How to get your claims forms
If you filled out your registration form online, you will be notified about the claims process by email.
If you filled out a hard copy of a registration form and submitted it, you will be receiving your claims forms as a hard copy in the mail. If you’ve changed addresses, you need to alert the claims administrator to ensure you get the forms mailed to the correct place. You can do that, and ask any other questions about the claims process, by calling (800) 493-1754, or emailing email@example.com.
How to fill out your claims forms
Attorney Leslie Mitchell Kroeger said that much of what is on the “claimant information” portion of the claims form will be the same as what was on the registration form, and that it will automatically transfer from one form to the other.
“So what you’ll need to do is just make sure that the information that was on your registration form correctly transferred over to the claims form,” she said. “If there’s an updated address, you’ll have an opportunity to update it. There’s a little bit of new information, but for the most part, the first sections that you’re going to see are exactly what you’ve already seen.”
For the new part of the claims form, registrants will need to make sure they submit a claim for the correct category.
“There are 30 different categories within this settlement, so we need to take some time as you’re filling out the claims form, to make sure that we get you into the right category,” Kroeger said.
You can view the different categories here
The first 21 categories are for children. Adults have their own categories, including categories for people with high lead levels, low lead levels, serious injuries, women who had miscarriages, people with Legionnaires’ disease, people who paid water bills, and more.
In addition to the claims form, Kroeger said there will be a section for “declarations.”
For categories one through 27, there is an “exposure declaration,” she said. For a business owner, or property owner or renter, falling under category 28 or 29, the registrant must declare their relationship to the property. The third declaration is for business interruption.
Kroeger said people may be able to fill out declarations for all three, for example if they had blood lead levels, owned a home, and owned a business.
“That puts you into three potential categories, which means three ways to recover in this settlement,” she said. “So, it’s important when we go back to that claims form, look at all the different categories you might fit in. You can fit into more than one.”
Kroeger advised registrants not to stop at just one category when filling out the claims form.
Next, she said there will be attestation and release forms, which simply require a signature, saying that everything you filled out is true.
There is also a “lien disclosure form.” Kroeger said everyone has to fill this out, even if you think you don’t. If you don’t fill it out, she said it will mark your claims package as “invalid.”
In addition to filling out forms, you will need to attach supporting documents that prove your exposure to the water–something that shows the claims administrator that you lived in Flint, worked in Flint, had a child that went to a school in Flint, etc.
Kroeger gave some examples:
- Water bill
- Child school record
- Daycare invoice
- Income tax return
- Medical records
“There are a variety of ways that we can show exposure,” she said.
If you have a special situation that makes proof more difficult, Kroeger said the team will help come up with ways to show exposure.
“Whatever it is, we’ll work with you individually to make sure you have what is needed …If you’re sitting there wondering, ‘How am I going to do this?’, call us,” she said.
Kroeger also said some forms of proof may be available online, such as a lead test of your water, and water bills. She also said the class counsel team, and the claims administrator have been provided access to blood lead test results.
“So if you believe … maybe you did, or your children had a blood lead test, and you don’t have the results, it is very likely that the claims administrator will have them,” she said.
Kroeger urged registrants not to wait to start preparing for the claims process, gathering documentation, and requesting medical records.
“We don’t want to see lines outside our office like we saw at registration with people until two in the morning,” she said. “We don’t want to see that. We want to make sure that your claims packages are as complete and as thorough as possible, and that we have as much time as possible to help you.”
Attorney Trachelle Young urged registrants with questions about filling out the claims form to call their legal office, or make an appointment to visit the office and sit down with the staff.
The number to call is (866) 536-0717. The office is located at 1188 Robert T. Longway, right behind the Holiday Inn Express.
The office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, Young said the office is doing “late hours” from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. She said the office will also be open one Saturday a month for those who can’t make it during the week.
This month, that Saturday will be on Jan. 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
You must have a mask on to come into the office, and your temperature will be checked when you arrive.
“Please utilize us. If you have questions, call us. We are here to help,” Young said.
To schedule an appointment with office, you can call the office or sign up online here.
“120 days sounds like a long time, but it is not,” Young said. “I expect it’s going to go by pretty fast. So if you know family and friends in the community, make sure you spread the word. We do not want people to miss out on filing a claim because they missed a deadline.”