Neurobehavioral Effects and Camp Lejeune

January 25, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

If you or a loved one suffers from neurobehavioral effects and believe they are related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you may have new legal options that were not available in the past. These legal rights only exist for a short amount of time, so it's important to understand your specific options related to the neurobehavioral effects of Camp Lejeune water contamination you may have experienced.

If you are considering filing a claim or lawsuit for compensation based on your time spent at Camp Lejeune and related toxic water exposure, reach out to an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney who can help you fight for the justice and damages you deserve.

What Happened at Camp Lejeune That Can Cause Neurobehavioral Effects?

Camp Lejeune began to experience severe water contamination in the 1950s when hazardous solvents and chemicals contaminated the base. The toxins entered through two of the area's water treatment plants, Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace, and spread through the site, exposing more than one million service members, their loved ones, and civilians to these dangerous chemicals.

This water contained approximately 70 different chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride, all of which can have devastating health and neurobehavioral effects on people exposed to these chemicals, especially for an extended period of time.

Worse yet, these toxins continued to infiltrate people's homes and bodies until 1982, when the Marines finally confirmed the dangerous substances in the water. But, it was not until 1987 that the water was finally taken care of and cleaned up.

Signs and Symptoms of Neurobehavioral Effects

Neurobehavioral effects are conditions related to the relationship between the nervous system and behaviors. These effects include issues such as headaches, poor concentration, anxiety, dementia, and insomnia, as well as behavioral and learning problems. However, they do not include neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's.

Symptoms related to neurobehavioral effects can include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory disturbances
  • Tension
  • Issues with concentration, reaction time, motor function
  • Learning and behavioral disorders
  • Tremors
  • Involuntary muscle movements

In addition, people with neurobehavioral effects also report experiencing personality changes, memory issues, and changes in their mood. While neurobehavioral effects from exposure to hazardous chemicals can last a couple of days or many years, long-term exposure to high levels of toxins can ultimately lead to significant damage that may be permanent.

Numerous studies have shown that long-term exposure to even low concentrations of TCE has been associated with neurobehavioral deficits. This is a critical conclusion since, on average, individuals who resided at Camp Lejeune stayed at the base for about 18 months and were exposed to TCE levels of 366 parts per billion. The maximum safe containment levels of TCE in drinking water should be around five parts per billion.

A report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry also concluded that service members at Camp Lejeune could have consumed as much as two quarts of water every hour and bathed themselves twice a day during training. This water was also disbursed to homes, schools, and other businesses in the area, meaning that family members and civilians were exposed to these toxins daily.

VA Health Care Benefits for Neurobehavioral Effects of Camp Lejeune Water

If you suffered from neurobehavioral effects due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you might be eligible for certain Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits,  or rather the ability to be reimbursed for your out-of-pocket health care costs related to these effects.

However, to qualify for these benefits, you must have been stationed at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days from August 1953 through December 1987.

You also have to provide:

  • Records showing that you served at Camp Lejeune during the time indicated in the Act
  • Medical records indicating that your diagnosis may be related to the toxins at Camp Lejeune
  • Bills and receipts showing that you paid for medical care related to your neurobehavioral effects

For family members to get reimbursement for their neurobehavioral effects, they have to show proof of their relationship to the service member who served at Camp Lejeune, which can include a marriage license, adoption papers, or birth certificate, and show that they lived, resided, or otherwise stayed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 through December 1987. This documentation can include things such as tax records, housing paperwork, and bill statements.

VA benefits for neurological effects related to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can be limited to certain expenses, but there is another legal avenue for qualified individuals to receive compensation for what they have endured because of their exposure.

A recent bill called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act gives those affected by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune the right to pursue a lawsuit against the government for illnesses that can be linked to the hazardous water.

This bill was signed into law by President Biden in August 2022 and is considered one of the most extensive single bills in the nation's history that addresses service members' exposure to toxic substances.

Who Can Pursue a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

According to the new law, anybody who lived, stayed, or worked at Camp Lejeune or the surrounding areas for at least 30 days (cumulatively) between August 1953 and December 1987 and developed one of the below illnesses may qualify to pursue a lawsuit.

Cancers linked to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune:

Other diseases and conditions:

  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Liver disease
  • Female infertility and miscarriage
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

As a result, guardsmen, reservists, veterans, their loved ones, and civilian members can pursue legal action under the new law if they meet the eligibility requirements. Plus, individuals who were in utero during this time period may also qualify.

Also, if you developed another severe condition that is not on this list, and you believe it may be the result of your exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you should still reach out to an experienced Camp Lejeune contaminated water attorney to see if you qualify for compensation.

Potential Monetary Damages Available in a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

If you qualify to pursue a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you may be able to request compensation that includes more than just reimbursement for medical costs.

In fact, you may seek financial damages, including payment for:

  • Medical bills related to doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medications, surgeries, and other types of medical care that you need for your condition
  • Ongoing medical care expenses
  • Lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Other costs associated with your health condition

To determine which of these damages you may recover in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you should discuss your case with a knowledgeable Camp Lejeune attorney who has experience handling these complex, large legal claims, especially against the government. These legal professionals can figure out the types of damages you may pursue and help you fight for the maximum compensation you and your loved ones deserve.

Can You Receive Other Types of Compensation and Still Bring a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Even if you received other types of benefits or compensation for your condition that resulted from the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you can still pursue a Camp Lejeune lawsuit and request further financial damages. Yet, it should be noted that the court may reduce your potential recovery by the benefits you previously received.

To determine what Camp Lejeune lawsuit resolution might be available for your situation, it is best to discuss your unique case with an experienced Camp Lejeune lawyer. These attorneys can explain how filing a claim may affect your other benefits and what you can expect if you succeed in your legal case.

How Much Money Might You Receive by Filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Unfortunately, at this time, it is still too early to know how much money successful plaintiffs will recover with their Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Potential awards will depend on:

  • The specific condition that an individual was diagnosed with.
  • The severity of the disease or the condition that resulted from the toxic water.
  • The ability to work following this diagnosis.
  • The lost wages suffered from being unable to work.
  • The amount of time the individual was exposed to the toxic water.
  • The estimated total costs of all the medical bills and fees involved.
  • Burial and funeral costs, where relevant.
  • Other types of financial losses related to the health condition.

Thankfully, although many of these losses may be speculative right now, a skilled Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer can help you deal with these unknown aspects of your claim. A dedicated Camp Lejeune attorney will keep you informed about all the latest updates regarding these toxic water claims and ensure your lawsuit is properly prepared regardless of what new details develop.

Is There a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Filing Deadline?

While new legal channels were opened when President Biden signed the Act into law, it is important to note that there is a deadline for the amount of time to file a legal action. According to this law, qualified individuals only have two years to file their suit from August 10, 2022, the date the Act was signed. If you do not file within this allotted period, you can be barred from pursuing further legal action to obtain compensation for the harm and losses you suffered due to the contaminated water.

Because this deadline is approaching quickly, you cannot afford to wait to discuss your case with an experienced Camp Lejeune lawyer. These attorneys can figure out not only whether you have a viable legal claim but also ensure that all the required documents and files are prepared and submitted before your window of opportunity expires.

Personal Injury Lawyer
Matt Dolman, Camp Lejeune Attorney

If you suffer from the neurobehavioral effects of Camp Lejeune water contamination exposure, now is the time to pursue legal action to receive the justice you and your family are entitled to. We understand that fighting the government is probably the last thing on your mind during this challenging time in your life. But remember, you do not have to face this situation alone.

Instead, when you work with an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer, they can protect your legal rights by:

  • Reviewing the time you spent at Camp Lejeune and your medical diagnosis to help you determine if you have a viable legal case.
  • Securing the evidence required to prove that your condition resulted from exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
  • Hiring experts to substantiate your claim.
  • Negotiating a settlement with the government and fighting for the maximum settlement amount.
  • Taking your case to trial if the government is unwilling to settle for the amount you need and fighting for the justice and damages you deserve.

For these reasons, do not delay discussing your situation with an experienced lawyer. Contact a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer for a free consultation and case review. Your lawyer can provide the answers you need and help you determine the best way to fight for your rights.


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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