Flint, MI– After years of litigation, protests, and registrations, the Flint water lawsuit settlement is in its last phase–the claims period.
The settlement, announced in August 2020, will resolve all litigation related to the water crisis against the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Rowe Engineering, and McLaren Hospital.
On Jan. 12, 2022, the claims period, which lasts 120 days for the tens of thousands of people who registered for the $626.25 million settlement began.
During a community meeting hosted by Councilwoman Ladel Lewis, a paralegal for the Napoli Shkolnik law firm provided advice and information for those in attendance about making their claims.
Reggie Davidson urged the crowd of about ten attendees to get in touch with their doctors to obtain a “link letter.”
“There are nine other conditions that, if you had them, and your doctor can provide what is called a link letter, then you can get into a paid category for personal injury,” Davidson said.
If between April 25, 2014, and July 31, 2016, an adult in Flint was diagnosed with certain injuries, they may be eligible to qualify for a higher monetary award. These are the nine injuries Davidson listed:
- Severe hypertension
- Hair loss
- Renal insufficiency
- Skin rashes
- Gastrointestinal conditions
“All of these conditions can be qualifiers for this lawsuit, if your doctor will provide what is called a link letter, simply saying, more likely than not, during 2014 to 2016, these conditions existed with my client,” Davidson said. “And more likely than not, those conditions could have been caused by lead water contamination.”
Davidson said that while lawyers at his firm can access medical records and send out link letters to their clients’ doctors to sign, it may be more effective for the clients to talk to their doctors themselves.
“Sometimes some of you have a better relationship with your doctors than the lawyers,” he said.
In some cases, he’s said clients have gone to their doctors, gotten the link letter signed, and were able to get into higher paid categories.
Davidson encouraged residents to ask the law firms representing them if they have looked into getting link letters for the various health issues that may have been caused or exacerbated by the water.
“Y’all have to help your lawyers help you by going to your doctors and making sure … and you are really your best advocate to the doctor because you know your body more than a doctor, and definitely better than some lawyers,” he said.
The deadline to submit a claim for the settlement is May 12, 2022. Other attorneys have also urged residents not to wait to work on compiling proof and filling out the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the official settlement website, registrants should keep the claims administrator updated on any changes in contact information, including new addresses and email addresses, to ensure they are notified about the claims process. To do this, registrants can call the helpline, or email email@example.com.
Once claims have been submitted, they must be reviewed and evaluated before any payments can be made. According to the settlement site, “it is possible that payments will be issued near the end of 2022.”