Camp Lejeune Liver Cancer Lawsuit

January 25, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Many scientists and officials consider Camp Lejeune one of the worst drinking water contamination incidents in the history of the United States. In fact, because of this incident, several health agencies have spent years studying how these toxic chemicals have impacted the long-term health of those who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune.

That is why today, many of those who suffer from certain diseases, such as liver cancer, due to their exposure may be able to pursue legal action to obtain compensation for their pain, suffering, and other losses they had to endure. And to better help you understand these legal options, in the following blog post, we will go over everything you need to know about pursuing a Camp Lejeune liver cancer lawsuit.

Camp Lejeune's Water Contamination History

Camp Lejeune Liver Cancer Lawsuit

In the 1950s, Camp Lejeune began to experience serious water contamination when dangerous chemicals entered the base through two of the area's water treatment plants, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point.

Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant was contaminated with PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene) through the improper waste disposal of toxins by those working at an off-base dry cleaning facility, while Hadnot Point was exposed to these toxins, including trichloroethylene, benzene, tetrachloroethylene, and vinyl chloride because of leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and other waste disposal sites.

By the time the government confirmed these toxic chemicals, which was not until 1982, the hazardous substances had spread throughout the base, affecting millions of people living, working, or otherwise staying on the base or surrounding areas.

The Hazardous Substances in the Water

When the government began testing the water at Camp Lejeune, it found over 70 different chemicals and solvents polluting the water, including:

  • Tetrachloroethylene: This chemical is used as a metal degreasing solvent, as well as a dry cleaning agent. It is also used as a building block for other types of chemicals and consumer products.
  • Benzene: This colorless chemical also turns into a light-yellow liquid at room temperature. It is mainly used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, but it is also used as a starting agent to make other types of chemicals, such as detergents, drugs, pesticides, plastics, dyes, and lubricants.
  • Trichloroethylene: Trichloroethylene (TCE) is mainly used as a solvent for degreasing metal parts. However, it can also be found in numerous consumer products such as paint removers, stain removers, and even adhesives. Unfortunately, when TCE is spilled, it will move through the soil into the underground water, polluting the drinking water wells.
  • Vinyl chloride: Vinyl chloride is a chemical typically used in producing PVC plastic, which can be found in packaging materials, pipes, automotive parts, and medical devices.

Worse yet, not only were these toxins found in the water at Camp Lejeune, but the levels they were found at were exponentially higher than what was considered safe by the EPA.

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer

Your liver is a football-sized organ that sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen. When individuals develop liver cancer, it is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the liver.

Although most people will not have any symptoms or signs during the early stages of liver cancer when these symptoms do finally appear, they will usually include:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin
  • White, chalky stools

According to a report done by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on health risks linked to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, it has been shown that liver cancer is one of the diseases that can be directly linked to the contaminants in the water on the base.

In fact, this study found convincing evidence that individuals exposed to trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene in the water at Camp Lejeune had a significantly increased rate of liver cancer. In addition, other medical studies have also established that vinyl chloride exposure has been known to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer known as hepatic angiosarcoma.

There was even a report done by the National Research Council (NRC) called Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing Potential Health Effects that concluded that exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune results in much higher rates of liver cancer and fatty liver disease compared to the general population.

Unfortunately, even with everything these service members and loved ones had to endure because of this toxic water, many were still denied the opportunity to obtain the money and benefits they needed to take care of these health issues.

Thankfully, a new federal regulation was signed into law on August 10, 2022, by President Biden, which allows service members, veterans, family members, and civilians who resided, lived, or otherwise stayed at the Camp Lejeune base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, to go after compensation for their health issues and other losses that resulted from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Under this new law, the government could not bring an immunity defense to stop the claims brought in accordance with this Act, and individuals bringing this claim had a lowered evidentiary standard for causation, meaning that they would not have to bring in expert witness testimony to prove that their health condition was linked to contaminated water. Rather, if there were previous studies that established that there was a connection between the toxic water and the disease, it was enough to establish a cause.

Filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Before you can pursue a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you must establish:

  • You lived, worked, or otherwise served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or the Marine Corps Air Station New River for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987.
  • You did not receive a dishonorable discharge when you left the base.
  • You have at least one of the eight health conditions that are considered to be presumptive.

The Eight Presumptive Health Conditions

  1. Liver cancer
  2. Parkinson's disease
  3. Adult leukemia
  4. Kidney cancer
  5. Multiple myeloma
  6. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  7. Bladder cancer
  8. Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

If you have one of these conditions, it means that you will not have to prove the connection between the disease and the toxic water to go after compensation for your harm and losses. Rather, you will only have to show you were on the base during the time indicated in the Act.

However, if you want to know whether your condition qualifies as a presumptive health condition, it would be in your best interest to reach out to an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can review your case, figure out your next legal steps, and help you prepare a strong legal case to go after all the money you need.

Financial Damages You Can Pursue in a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

If you can pursue a lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, you may be able to go after certain financial damages to recover compensation for the harm and suffering you had to endure because of your toxic water exposure.

These damages include payment for:

  • Medical fees related to medical treatments, doctor visits, hospitalization, medications, surgeries, and other types of medical care
  • Future medical care expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Emotional anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Other costs related to the incident and your health condition

However, the best way to determine which of these damages may apply to your case is to go over the facts of your situation with a knowledgeable attorney who has experience handling these challenging types of legal claims. These attorneys can figure out not only which of these damages you can go after, but they can also help you prepare the most robust legal case to help you fight for all the financial damages you are entitled to.

To bring a successful Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you need to be able to provide relevant evidence that not only establishes the extent of your damages and the severity of your illness but also shows that the contaminated water caused your disease.

As a result, before you file your lawsuit, it would be beneficial to gather:

  • Paperwork showing that you resided or stayed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987
  • Records showing the years and locations you served and the places you were stationed at
  • Medical tests, records, diagnoses, and other health care information, such as health studies, showing a connection between your disease and the toxic water
  • Medical bills related to your health condition
  • Documents showing previously obtained disability benefits
  • Proof of work if you were a civilian who worked on the base from August 1953 through December 1987

On the other hand, if you were a family member of a service member stationed at the base during the time in question, and you deserve compensation, gather:

  • Marriage license, birth records, adoption records proving your relationship with the service member who served at Camp Lejeune
  • Housing records, tax documents, or other evidence showing that you lived on base for at least 30 consecutive days from August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
  • Bills and other expenses showing what you paid for these covered health conditions

However, if you cannot get all of these documents, do not worry. After you retain an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer, these attorneys can try to find and obtain all of this evidence for you.

The Time Limitations to Bring a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Even though the Act allows qualified individuals to bring legal action against the government for the harm they suffered because of their exposure to the unsafe water at Camp Lejeune, their time to file this lawsuit is limited. Those eligible will only have two years from the date the Act was signed, or August 10, 2022, to file it. If they fail to do so within this time, they can be barred from obtaining the compensation they deserve.

For these reasons, do not wait to start your Camp Lejeune legal claim. Instead, reach out to a Camp Lejeune lawyer as soon as possible. These legal professionals can ensure your required documents and motions are properly filed before you run out of time.

Work With a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney and Go After the Financial Damages You Need

Personal Injury Lawyer
Matt Dolman, Camp Lejeune Attorney

If you or a loved one has liver cancer because of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, now is the time to go after the justice and financial compensation you deserve. Fortunately, you will not have to go after this money alone. Instead, when you work with an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer, they can handle this legal battle for you.

Once hired, your lawyers can:

  • Review the circumstances of your disease and the time you spent at Camp Lejeune, determine if you have a valid legal Camp Lejeune claim, and help you figure out the legal options you can pursue.
  • Obtain the evidence needed to show that the toxic water caused your condition.
  • Bring in experts to prove your case, if needed.
  • Handle the negotiations with the other side and go after just compensation.
  • Proceed to trial if the government is unwilling to get you the money you deserve, and fight for the total money you deserve.

If you believe you have a valid Camp Lejeune water contamination legal claim, contact an experienced Camp Lejeune lawyer today for your free case consultation and find out how these attorneys can help you.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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