Between 1953 and 1987, Camp Lejeune's water supply in North Carolina was reportedly contaminated with carcinogenic and other harmful compounds. Anyone impacted by water contamination from Camp Lejeune can file a lawsuit for damages under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
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To help military service veterans and their families get justice, the VA has established a presumption that certain illnesses are service-connected for veterans who served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the Camp Lejeune lawsuit years, including:
- The history of water contamination at Camp Lejeune
- The types of illnesses covered by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
- How to file a claim for benefits under the act
- If you or a loved one were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the years of water contamination, you might be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. Keep reading to learn more.
What You Need to Know About the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Here are some key things you should know about the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit:
- A Camp Lejeune lawsuit can be filed by anybody who spent 30 or more days at the Marine Corps Base Camp with contaminated water supply between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- Pain and suffering, medical bills, and missed wages are just some of the damages that may be eligible for additional compensation if you were affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination. As the law is still in its infancy, it is still not clear how much the Camp Lejeune lawsuit settlement payouts will be worth. You need to talk to a water contamination lawyer about your specific Camp Lejeune case.
- Regarding the statute of limitations, legal action against Camp Lejeune must be filed within 180 days following the federal government’s denial of the claim or within a two-year deadline after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law. (These conditions are limited to claims that existed before the law was enacted.)
- Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits are heard in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Any plaintiff who is not a resident of the Eastern District must go to the Southern Division of this court.
- If you intend on pursuing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, you need legal representation. The law may be straightforward, but navigating the administrative claim process can be complex. A lawyer can make sure you get what you need and that you do things the right way at every turn.
- Leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are some of the types of cancer and most common illnesses linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination.
- Multiple myelodysplastic syndromes, Parkinson’s disease, scleroderma, aplastic anemia, plastic anemia, hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease), end-stage renal disease, neural tube birth defects, cardiac defects, heart defects, liver disease and bone marrow conditions are among the common diseases that may be caused by ingesting contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
- There is currently no Camp Lejeune contaminated water class action lawsuit. Instead, toxic water contamination victims are pursuing individual legal actions.
- Camp Lejeune will not be shut down at this time. Water contamination at Camp Lejeune was eliminated in the 1980s, making the base livable for active duty servicemen, thousands of families, and civilian workers once again.
What Chemicals Were in the Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?
Many of the water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune have been found to be contaminating the drinking water supply with harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most of these substances found at Camp Lejeune are known to be or suspected to be carcinogenic chemicals or cancer-causing chemicals.
Camp Lejeune’s water contains the following compounds and solvents:
- Perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Exposure to Vinyl Chloride (VC)
After that, the contaminated water was distributed throughout Camp Lejeune’s living quarters and family housing, putting the health of the nearly one million military personnel, civilian employees, and their families in serious danger. Adverse health conditions linked to the exposure of these VOCs in the water supply at Camp Lejeune include various types of cancer (leukemia, bladder cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma) and other serious illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases.
What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Honoring Our PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 as one of its many provisions. Military veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals while serving in the military at Camp Lejeune will benefit from the law.
Mark Takano of California, a Democrat, introduced the Honoring Our PACT Act in the House of Representatives on June 17th, 2021. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, presented it to the Senate on December 9, 2021. HR 3967 was approved by the House on March 3, 2022, while S 3373 was approved by the Senate with an 84-14 vote on June 16, 2022.
In contrast, the Senate had to approve the bill again because of technical changes that had no bearing on the law’s core principles. At that point, the bill failed because 25 Republican senators shifted their positions. Even though the funding mechanism was there in the version of the bill that they had previously supported, these Senators expressed concerns about it.
The law was eventually passed by the Senate on August 2, 2022, with a vote of 86 to 11, following a protest by veterans outside the United States Capitol. (The text remained unchanged after the vote failed.) On August 10, 2022, President Joseph Biden signed the bill into law that would allow victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune to pursue lawsuits.
How Does the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Work?
Families that were stationed at the U.S. military base, Camp Lejeune, between 1953 and 1987 may be eligible for health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This benefit is available to families who have experienced injuries that are potentially related to toxic exposure to contaminated drinking water at the Camp Lejeune base.
The case is currently in the discovery phase, which means that both sides are gathering documentary evidence, including medical evidence and scientific evidence obtained from Camp Lejeune. The families will need to present medical records showing that their alleged injuries were caused by long-term exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune. They must also prove that they were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the period when the water was contaminated. They will also need to prove that the government knew or should have known about the contamination at Camp Lejeune and failed to take steps to protect them.
If the families that lived at Camp Lejeune are successful in proving their case, they may be awarded damages for their injuries and medical expenses. They may also be eligible for health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Camp Lejeune lawsuit is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to provide fair settlement compensation and benefits for families who have been affected by toxic chemical exposure.
Do I Need a Lawyer for the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been affected because of toxic water exposure to dangerous chemicals following the contamination at Camp Lejeune, you may be wondering if you need a lawyer to pursue a legal claim. While it is possible to navigate the claims process without legal representation, there are several benefits to working with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
For one, a lawyer can help you navigate the complex litigation process and ensure that your Camp Lejeune claim is filed properly. They can also help gather evidence and key details to support your claim and increase your odds of success. Additionally, contaminated water lawsuits can be complex and time-consuming, so working with a lawyer can give you peace of mind knowing that your Camp Lejeune claim is in good hands.
Benefits to families who were affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune potentially include:
- Damages for injuries caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals at Camp Lejeune
- Medical expenses
- Health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs
If you or a loved one were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the relevant period, you may be eligible to pursue an admin claim for compensation. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact an experienced lawyer today.
Filing disability claims can also be complicated, and a lawyer can help you with that process as well. Other health concerns obtained from living at Camp Lejeune may not be immediately apparent but could surface years later. Camp Lejeune’s industrial chemicals, in particular, can have long-term health effects that may not be apparent until years or even decades after the exposure. Having a lawyer on your side can help you get the maximum potential settlement you need and deserve.
Of course, every Camp Lejeune case is unique, and you should ultimately make the decision that is best for you and your family. However, if you are considering pursuing a claim for water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, it is worth speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.