The History of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and the Contaminated WaterScientists refer to the situation at Camp Lejeune as the worst public drinking-water contamination event in the nation's history. However, it is much more than a story for the millions of individuals affected by this disaster. It is a life-changing event that destroyed families, goals, and people's lives. In the 1950's Camp Lejeune and nearby Marine Corps Air Station New River were subjected to countless toxic chemicals for years, which entered the water through two of the area's water treatment plants, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. As a result, those individuals who lived, worked, or otherwise stayed on the base or in the surrounding areas were affected by these toxins and developed grave health conditions.
Where the Contamination Came FromRecords show that this contamination mainly resulted from Marines dumping industrial wastewater and oil in storm drains, buried radioactive materials in the area, and improper disposal of toxins by workers at a nearby dry-cleaning business that dumped wastewater filled with chemicals into the drains. As a result, from 1953 through 1987, those on the base were exposed to these toxins at extremely high levels and suffered greatly.
The Camp Lejeune Justice ActOn August 10, 2022, President Biden signed the “The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promises to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022,” or the PACT Act, which included the updated Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Under this new regulation, veterans and their family members who were subject to the dangerous water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, can pursue monetary damages by filing a lawsuit in federal court for the losses and injuries they endured because of their exposure. This Act also aims to remove specific legal issues that stopped or prevented countless service members from obtaining the financial damages they deserved, including the previous time limitations that barred individuals from bringing their legal claims after a certain period.
Multiple MyelomaMultiple myeloma is a type of cancer that develops in a plasma cell or a type of white blood cell. As a result, these cancerous cells accumulate and crowd out healthy blood cells, producing abnormal proteins that can cause issues and complications. Although the symptoms of multiple myeloma vary as the disease progresses, some of the more common signs of the disease include:
- Bone pain
- Mental fogginess
- Weight loss without trying
- Extensive fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent infections
- Weakness or numbness in the legs
- Excessive thirst
Obtaining Disability Benefits for Multiple MyelomaBefore you can obtain disability benefits for the losses and harm you endured due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, certain elements must be established. These factors include the following:
- You served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for 30 days (cumulatively) from August 1953 until December 1987,
- You did not receive a dishonorable discharge, and
- You suffered one of the following presumptive conditions.
Presumptive ConditionsPer the new regulations, certain diseases are considered presumptive conditions, which means those who suffer from these issues will not have to prove that their disease resulted from the toxic water at Camp Lejeune to obtain disability benefits. These individuals will only have to show that they were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 through December 1987. Under the Act, these conditions include:
- Multiple myeloma
- Liver cancer
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Adult leukemia
- Parkinson's disease
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
Other Health Conditions Linked to the Toxic WaterThe Act also indicates that service members and their loved ones can pursue benefits if they suffer certain conditions from this contaminated water. However, while the below conditions do not qualify for presumptive disability compensation, individuals who developed the following medical issues and can show that they stemmed from the toxins in the water can also pursue benefits and compensation. These other health issues include:
- Female infertility
- Breast cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Esophageal cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Renal toxicity
- Lung cancer
Gathering Evidence to Prove Your Legal ClaimIf you qualify to take legal action under the Act and want to pursue compensation for the trauma and losses you endured, gather documentation to help prove your legal claim. While the evidence you gather will depend on your circumstances, in general, this evidence usually includes:
- Documentation showing that you resided at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 for at least 30 days. This documentation can include any bills you have from this time, tax documents, and housing records.
- Military documentation showing when and where you served, including where you were stationed.
- Medical treatment bills and other fees that you have showing the amount of money you spent on your disease and the losses you suffered because of it
- Medical records, including test results, diagnostic information, and any other information that establishes a connection between the condition and the toxic water
- Documentation related to your disability benefits or any other compensation you received pertaining to your health condition
- Any other documentation that can help your claim
- Paperwork proving your relationship to the service member stationed at the base, such as marriage documentation, birth records, or adoption records
- Housing records proving that you resided at Camp Lejeune for the required period indicated in the Act
- Expense records showing the bills you had to pay related to the covered condition
The Financial Damages You Can Pursue When You File a Camp Lejeune LawsuitIf you are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, there are various financial damages you can pursue, including compensation for:
- Medical feels related to doctor appointments, hospitalization, medications, surgical procedures, and other types of health care treatments you had to receive due to your health issues that developed because of the contaminated water
- Future medical support or ongoing treatments
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Humiliation or reputation loss
The Time Limitations to File a Camp Lejeune LawsuitAlthough the new Act created new opportunities for individuals to pursue legal action against the harm they suffered at Camp Lejeune, the time to file is not unlimited. According to these regulations, if you qualify to pursue legal action, you will only have two years from the date the Act was signed into law or two years from August 10, 2022, to file your suit. If you fail to file within this period, you can miss out on obtaining the money you need for the losses and suffering you endured. For these reasons, it is essential not to delay pursuing this claim. Instead, you should reach out to a knowledgeable and skilled Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can determine whether you can file this lawsuit and ensure that the appropriate legal documents are prepared and submitted to the proper court before this period runs out.
Do You Need an Attorney to File Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?Due to the many unknowns involved with these lawsuits and the detailed medical evidence and arguments that will likely be needed to prove your case, if you want to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you should consider contacting an attorney as soon as you can. When you work with a lawyer who has experience handling these complex types of claims and knows about bringing legal action against the government, it gives you a better chance of securing the compensation you are entitled to. You can get the knowledgeable legal assistance you need to put together a solid legal case that can show how your disease or health complications resulted from your exposure to the toxic water from Camp Lejeune. An attorney can help you fight for the total monetary damages you deserve. For these reasons, do not wait any longer to go over your case with an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney. Instead, get your questions answered today by contacting these lawyers and scheduling a free case consultation.
Questions and Answers About Camp Lejeune Multiple Myeloma Cancer Diagnosis and Camp Lejeune Water ContaminationSuppose you are considering taking legal action because of your myeloma cancer diagnosis that resulted from the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. In that case, you likely have numerous questions about what you should do next and what this lawsuit may mean for you. However, until you can speak to a lawyer about your case, we have prepared answers to the below FAQs. We hope with these responses, you will have a better understanding of your legal options, the remedies you can pursue, and how an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney can help you go after the justice you deserve.
1. If You Already Obtained Benefits for Your Health Condition, Can You Still Pursue a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?If you received benefits for the losses and harm you endured because of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you can still file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit and go after compensation beyond what the VA benefits offered, such as payment for pain and suffering, lost wages, and other types of emotional distress. Note if these additional damages are provided, the court may decide to reduce the total benefits awarded by the already paid benefits. In addition, even if you were denied disability benefits in the past, you can still file a lawsuit and have another chance to go after maximum compensation. However, to fully understand these options, we recommend you contact an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer. These attorneys can help you better understand what legal action you can take, the benefits and compensation you can pursue, and assist you as you go after all the financial recovery you are entitled to.
2. What Chemicals Were Found in the Water At Camp Lejeune?Once testing was done at Camp Lejeune, it was revealed that the water on base was contaminated with over 70 different toxic chemicals, including:
TrichloroethyleneTrichloroethylene, or TCE, can be found in the water, soil, and air in places where it is made or used, and it breaks down slowly, meaning that any remains can last in the environment for a long time. The chemical is often used to produce refrigerants or as a metal degreaser. However, it can also be found in paint removers, carpet cleaners, spot removers, and cleaning products. Studies have also revealed that prolonged exposure to TCE can cause kidney cancer and increase the risks of liver cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
TetrachloroethyleneTetrachloroethylene is typically used as a dry cleaning agent and metal degreasing solvent. However, it can also be used as a building block for creating other dangerous chemicals and other consumer products. If you are exposed to tetrachloroethylene, you may develop harmful effects on the liver, kidneys, nervous and reproductive systems. This chemical can also be dangerous to unborn children. Plus, if you are exposed to this chemical for an extended time on a continuous basis, you are also at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Vinyl ChlorideVinyl chloride is a type of colorless gas that does not occur naturally. It is produced for commercial use. This toxin is typically used to make PVC, a material used in various plastic products, including wire and cable coatings. For those exposed to vinyl chloride, their risk of cancer increases, especially brain and lung cancers, lymphoma, and leukemia, as well as a rare form of liver cancer.
BenzeneBenzene is an organic chemical compound that does not fully dissolve in water. It is used to create rubber materials, pesticides, and detergents. Those exposed to this chemical for a long time often have issues with their blood since benzene causes harmful effects on the bone marrow and can decrease the red blood cells, causing anemia. This long-term exposure has also been linked to Leukemia.
3. Who Can File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?According to the new regulations, any individual who resided, worked, or otherwise was exposed to the dangerous toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 can pursue legal action against the government and try to secure financial damages fo the trauma and losses they endured. This means that veterans, service members, family members, contractors, and civilian workers can file a lawsuit if they qualify under the Act.
4. How Much Is a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Worth?Because the Act is relatively new, there is not enough information regarding the potential payouts that may arise from these lawsuits. However, it is contemplated that these monetary damages will depend on each case and specific factors, including:
- The type of disease or harm the individual is dealing with
- The prognosis of the condition
- The severity and extent of the disease
- The extent of the pain and suffering the victim has to endure
- The victim's age
- The evidence available to link the disease to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
- The total extent of the damages that resulted
- The ability to take part in regular and daily activities
- The inability to work because of the health condition
5. If Your Family Member Died Because of Their Exposure to the Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune, Can You Pursue a Lawsuit?If you lost a loved one because of a condition caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you might be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Under the new Act, surviving family members of Camp Lejeune victims can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government, even if their family member died years ago from this exposure. When these individuals bring this lawsuit, they can seek financial compensation for the losses they endured because of this death. Yet, to verify your legal options under these circumstances, it may be in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer. These attorneys can help you determine whether you and your family have a viable claim and go over your options, discuss the timeline of how long you have to file your legal case, and help you secure the money you are entitled to.
6. How Long Will It Take for These Camp Lejeune Claims to Resolve?As of right now, it is still too early to tell how long it will take for these Camp Lejeune claims to be resolved or how long it will take for victims of this terrifying ordeal to secure the money they need. It is also important to remember that if some of these cases do not settle, they can proceed to the litigation stage. The timeline to resolve these cases will be even longer since the litigation process can take some time to complete. However, if you want further information regarding these potential timelines, it may be a good idea to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable legal professional as soon as possible. These lawyers can keep you abreast of what is happening with these cases and any new legal updates and also provide you with a better idea of what you can expect when you file your legal claim.
7. If Your Illness Developed Many Years After You Left the Camp Lejeune Base, Can You Still Bring a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?Even if you developed your illness or health condition years after you left the Camp Lejeune base, you could still bring legal action to recover compensation for the harm you suffered. The point of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was to give qualified individuals more time to bring their legal suit and let those previously denied have another opportunity to seek the compensation they need. Consequently, if you believe you have a viable claim, even if significant time has passed since you resided at the Camp Lejeune base, you should still discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer. These Camp Lejeune water contamination attorneys can go after the circumstances of your situation, figure out whether you have a valid legal case, and help you fight for the justice you deserve.
8. How Much Does a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer Cost To Work With?Most Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers work on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you will not have to pay any upfront fees, hourly payments, or owe these attorneys anything unless they win your case. And if they are successful, you would only have to pay these attorneys an agreed-upon percentage of your winnings that would come from your trial verdict or settlement award. As a result, there is little risk in working with these attorneys on your Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. However, if you want further information regarding these fees and how they may apply to your legal claim, you can always discuss your case with an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney. These lawyers can not only go over your case for free, but they can also discuss with you their fee arrangement and help you understand what you would owe if you win your case.
9. Is There a Class Action Lawsuit When It Comes to These Camp Lejeune Legal Claims?Currently, there is no Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit. As more of these Camp Lejeune lawsuits get filed, the cases will likely be consolidated into an MDL class action lawsuit to save victims and the government both time and money. Multidistrict litigation is a special legal procedure where federal civil cases from around the nation are transferred to one court.
10. How Can Experienced Legal Counsel Help You Fight for Your Rights When It Comes to Your Camp Lejeune Legal Claim?If you dealt with severe health consequences from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you and your family have suffered enough. The last thing you should worry about is preparing a lawsuit or strong legal arguments to help you secure the money you have been waiting years to receive. Fortunately, you will not have to take on this challenging legal case alone. Instead, you can leave this work to the professionals while you continue to focus on yourself and healing. Once you hire these lawyers to handle your case, they can:
- Review your circumstances, determine whether you can pursue legal action, help guide your next steps, and provide you with the support you require to get through this challenging time.
- Thoroughly investigate your diagnosis and stay at Camp Lejeune, and gather the evidence needed to prove the connection between the harm you suffered and the contaminated water on the base.
- Hire experts to help prove your legal case.
- Help you go after the money you need if your previous disability claim was denied.
- Handle the negotiations with the other side and go after fair compensation.
- Proceed to trial if the other side is unwilling to give you the money you are entitled to and fight vigorously for maximum financial recovery.