Camp Lejeune Bladder Cancer Lawsuit
For decades, Camp Lejeune has been the largest Marine training base in the United States and has been home to nearly a million service men and women. Between 1953 and 1987, it was the site of an ecological disaster that affected those who lived there and their families. Marines stationed at the camp were coming down with cancers, diseases, and other health problems. Their children were being born with deformities, and childhood cancers in record numbers, and many died as a result of what was happening, unbeknownst to the general public.
Recent legislation via the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, has opened up the opportunity for individuals who developed bladder cancer from toxic substances within the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River. Former veterans and their family members who resided at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, may seek damages for personal injury, medical benefits, and even compensation for the loss of loved ones. For the first time in decades, their voices are being heard, and Camp Lejeune attorneys are ready to take on the case to get survivors and their families the justice they deserve. If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, we would be honored to handle your claim.
What happened at Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, and nearly a million Marines and sailors have lived and worked at the site for decades. Many of the personnel at the camp lived in the vicinity with their families. Over the years, various cancers, diseases, and health problems became too common with camp residents. Often discounted by the VA hospital, these claims for Marines were often ignored or rejected.
Cases ranged from cancers resulting in people without a family history of cancer, birth defects, and childhood cancers in the family of service people living at the camp. Pressure from victims and their families, attention from the local press, and awareness about what was happening at the camp led to further investigation.
What Caused the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Leaking containment tanks and dumping at nearby factories and waste disposal centers, toxins were 400 times higher than safe levels in the drinking water supply. Each day those stationed at Camp Lejeune were drinking, cooking, and bathing in water contaminated with benzene, heavy metals such as mercury, and even fuel. Much of the toxic waste came from a dry cleaning disposal facility that had leached waste chemicals into the water supply.
Camp Lejeune Veterans Had Their VA Claims Denied
Due to the laws of North Carolina, a ten-year statute of limitations to sue for damages had already expired by the time this information was made known. In the process, the VA denied or rejected thousands of claims for health concerns directly resulting from the pollutants in the drinking water supply. Veterans were routinely denied disability compensation for no apparent reason despite chronic exposure to contaminated drinking water.
VA claims were often evaluated by individuals who were not specialists in the diseases associated with the conditions caused by the spill. Their lack of expertise resulted in a blind spot when it came to determining how serious the situation was. It is still debated whether or not this was done intentionally by the government to save money in providing healthcare or being liable for damages.
Camp Lejeune Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer Near Me 833-552-7274
Common Cancers and Diseases Associated With Camp Lejeune
Here is a list of just some of the diseases and cancers associated with the chemical spills at Camp Lejeune:
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Cervical and ovarian cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Breast cancer (especially noted in men)
- Birth defects
- Esophageal cancer
- Heart problems
- Brain cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s)
For a free legal consultation with a bladder cancer diagnosis and camp lejeune water contamination lawyer serving Camp Lejeune, call 833-552-7274
What is bladder cancer?
Before discussing this disease we must first explain what the bladder is. A bladder is a hollow organ that stores urine, located in the lower pelvis. The bladder’s primary function is to store urine.
Bladder cancer is a relatively common cancer affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans. However, it is on a long list of potential diseases caused by toxins, heavy metals, and prolonged exposure to these chemicals at Camp Lejeune. It begins with only a few cancerous cells and can quickly develop and spread throughout the urinary system, including the ureter tubes and kidneys. It is treatable early but can become fatal as it progresses, metastasizing in other organs, bones, and blood.
The levels of toxins in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were more than 400 times the levels considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. In turn, even if you are not genetically disposed to cancers, you had a significantly increased likelihood of developing cancer at the site according to scientific research. This was common for many cancers and health concerns at Camp Lejeune, which eventually led to investigations to uncover the source. Bladder cancer is among the presumptive conditions listed by the VA.
Anticipated Settlement for Bladder Cancer
We believe the average settlement for a Camp Lejeune bladder cancer claim will exceed $250,000.00 based on the body of medical and scientific evidence available. We believe there is a very strong causal link between exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and subsequent bladder cancer diagnosis. Estimated settlement amounts are premature at this stage and are subject to a significant change in the near future. Our estimations are based solely on experience with prior mass torts projects.
Advanced Bladder Cancer
Advanced bladder cancer means that the cancer has spread beyond the bladder to other parts of the body. The five-year survival rate for advanced bladder cancer is approximately 38%.
How is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed?
Symptoms most commonly identify bladder cancer. Blood in urine, pain, discomfort during urination, and frequent urination are just a few indications that something is not right. Back pain is also a symptom but is also shared with many other health concerns. A biopsy can determine which kind of bladder cancer it is.
Urothelial carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma affect different functions and tissues within the bladder. Usually, the type of cancer can help determine the cause; but due to the environmental causes, any of these types are likely in Camp Lejeune.
Causes of Bladder Cancer
Since the bladder is an active part of a system designed to remove waste and toxins from the body, various forms of cancer can grow in it.
Here are some common sources.
- Smoking: This vice is the source of various cancers, from the tar and nicotine levels to the additives in cigarettes and tobacco that have been proven to be carcinogens. Smoking among military service people is common and, in the past, may have been a reason the condition was ignored in VA claims for disability benefits.
- Sex and age: Men are more susceptible to developing bladder cancer than women. Also, the older a person gets, the greater the risk of bladder cancer.
- Cancer treatments: When the body processes chemotherapy, medications, and other cancer treatments, the harmful materials might cause cancer in different regions of the body where they collect, such as the bladder.
- Chronic bladder infections: Continued damage to these cells due to infection or trauma can lead to cancerous cells and growth.
- Genetic disposition: If you have a family history of cancer or just the genetic markers which make you susceptible to bladder cancer, you might develop this condition. An indication that other factors were involved at Camp Lejeune was noticed when those without genetic markers for certain cancers were diagnosed.
- Environmental: The source of bladder cancer at Camp Lejeune was environmental, due primarily to toxins that had been dumped or leached into the drinking water supply from upriver. Heavy metals, benzene, and other carcinogens caused a higher than average rate of bladder cancer in camp residents over the years.
Scientific and Medical Evidence
A 2014 morbidity study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), illustrated that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene and vinyl chloride. The ATSDR (disease registry) study examined medical surveys filled out by 247,000 former Camp Lejeune residents and produced scientific and medical evidence that exposure to known carcinogens (cancer causing substances) such as PCE and TCE lead to a greatly increased risk of bladder cancer.
How is Bladder Cancer Treated?
Bladder cancer can be treated in a variety of ways. Removal of cancerous tissue followed by chemotherapy, radiation, and follow-up care are common treatments. Removal of the bladder may also be an option. Treatments are often costly and painful, and a procedure such as removing the bladder may affect the patient’s quality of life.
Medications such as chemotherapy can have side effects such as hair loss, loss of weight, nausea, and reduced immune systems. Radiation also has various adverse effects, which can make a patient miserable for the duration of their treatments.
These methods are costly and can even require a patient to lose a lot of time at work, which can further jeopardize their livelihood due to lost wages. Debilitating results from bladder removal or other treatments might result in long-term physical and mental stress and mental anguish. Successful treatment might only put cancer into remission, require subsequent treatment, and/or eventually cause death if the cancer gets worse or metastasizes in other organs and tissues.
What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Because the statute of limitations against suing for damages had passed years before it was known that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was hurting people, further legislation needed to be created to protect the rights of those affected.
A few laws brought limited protection, increasing the pot for compensation to $2 billion, including family members of service people stationed at the camp, and including only one of the nearly two dozen conditions associated with environmentally caused cancers.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was part of the PACT Act, which allocated 400 Billion dollars to these concerns and others that adversely affected service men and women. Included in the act were health care benefits for veterans and their families and compensation for losses resulting from exposure to the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Also included was the ability to seek compensation for wrongful death, lost and future wages, funeral expenses, and other damages associated with personal injury cases. This included their families living at the site.
Because the training camp had been active for so long, people affected were spread far and wide, and many had already faced difficulties in dealing with the VA and being turned away for years. The act required anyone who had lived at the camp for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, to be eligible. The list of diseases and conditions was raised to 23, up from just one in earlier years.
Why hire an attorney?
The expenses incurred by treatment, without the benefit of payment or claims supported by the VA, often meant that treatment was cost-preventative. Many had to choose between being able to afford to live and living. Over the years, many who suffered from these injuries died. Their dependents and those they left behind found financial hardships, not to mention a vast hole left in their lives that could never be filled.
At the time, many sought justice and waded through bureaucratic red tape, and were stonewalled by the government they had enlisted and made their livelihood in protecting. Without the protection of the law, their hands were tied, and most funds to treat or compensate for losses were nonexistent.
Hire an attorney for your Camp Lejeune bladder cancer case because:
- Damages generally increase with legal representation.
- The legal system is often confusing, with deadlines, forms to fill out, and other hoops to jump through.
- An attorney can gather information to use to argue your case.
- From mediation to a jury trial before a judge, an attorney has experience in knowing how to argue your case with the information collected.
- As you are putting your life back together, an attorney takes a lot of the stress off your shoulders you might be experiencing.
- Fighting the federal government for damages can be a daunting experience.
Contact a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney
If you or a family member, lived or worked at Camp Lejeune, United States Marine Corps training facility, between 1953 and 1987, you may be eligible for damages and compensation for losses you suffered as a result of negligence.
The right personal injury attorney for you will fight zealously to get you the compensation you deserve for injuries, losses, and other life-changing events that were no fault of your own.
Look for an attorney with experience going up against big businesses, government institutions, private parties, and other parties that would otherwise be intimidating to anyone deciding to take the case themselves.
Hiring an attorney will go a long way to giving you peace of mind in knowing that your case is being handled and free up a lot of mental real estate to continue with your life with less stress and better tools at your disposal. Contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation. An attorney can answer questions you have about your case and give you a roadmap as to how the process works and how your case will be handled. Take the first step towards getting justice today.