Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Presumptive Conditions

October 17, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Service members can face a multitude of dangers during their time in the military. Most people may picture physical wounds when personnel experience harm, prompting one to apply for VA benefits. However, disabilities can arise from health conditions or severe illnesses due to chemical exposure from volatile organic compounds found in contaminated drinking water.

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The Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

There is sufficient evidence Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune water was full of volatile organic compounds that are considered carcinogens (cancer causing substance). Camp Lejeune veterans and their families were exposed to a wide array of toxic substances in the contaminated drinking water.

Camp Lejeune Veterans and Family Members Develop Cancer

Plenty of marines develop various debilitating diseases. Locations like Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in New River, North Carolina, had serious issues with unsafe drinking water that posed a greatly increased risk of cancer and other medical issues. In fact, more and more medical evidence is coming to light illustrating the serious injuries related to drinking or bathing in contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water. As a repercussion, a notable portion of former military members suffers from presumptive conditions. The most common illnesses related to Camp Lejeune water are liver cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer. We will go in to far more detail on a wide array of other forms of cancer related to Camp Lejeune water contamination.

If you are experiencing symptoms due to toxic substances found in Camp Lejeune water, contact an attorney to start your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit today. The toxic water at Camp Lejeune have caused a wide array of diseases and illnesses and we want to pursue compensation for serious medical conditions that could have been avoided if our government had taken action.

Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune & Marine Corps Air Station New River

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Presumptive Conditions

Camp Lejeune has been around since the 1940s, and the water contamination issue began soon after the base opened. Multiple treatment plants provided residents with drinking water. Two treatment plants had a significant level of solvents. These industrial solvents are toxic chemicals that can degrade the body's immune system.

PCE - Dangerous Chemical Causes Toxic Exposure

The primary source of contamination was a dry cleaning business near Camp Lejeune. Like other dry cleaning places, the company regularly used PCE to wash fabrics for Camp Lejeune residents. Additionally, another off-base cleaning firm usually disposed of the chemical. As a result PCE would then leak into the water supply. Drinking or bathing in these toxic chemicals creates a significantly increased risk in the development of at least thirteen types of cancers along with birth defects. The toxic water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was shockingly high and is responsible for many potentially fatal health conditions.

Other contaminants and known toxic substances made their way into the area's drinking water from multiple sources. For instance, chemical spills and storage tank leaks would occur. The amount of solvent in the water greatly exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum limit. Camp Lejeune residents were blissfully unaware of the gross degree of cancer causing water contamination they were routinely exposed to. Sadly, contaminated water supplies was the rule, not the exception.

However, the Marine Corps would not discover how much hazardous material was in the wells until 1982. Decades prior, people routinely used the water every day. As a consequence, they unknowingly exposed themselves to dangerous chemicals.

A later investigation would show the effects of the constant exposure for those who resided on or served at Camp Lejeune. Many people became at risk of developing cancer, and others experienced birth complications. Some veterans had to apply for disability benefits when they received diagnoses for presumptive diseases.

What Is a Presumptive Condition?

A presumptive disease is a diagnosis of a chronic illness a veteran receives during active duty. The Department of Veteran Affairs assumes the circumstances of a person's military service caused the disease. Common examples include arthritis and Type 2 diabetes. A military member can claim non-taxable benefits as compensation.

For a condition to be presumptive, a veteran must receive a diagnosis no later than a year after release from active duty. Additionally, certain groups of former service members may qualify for benefits for presumptive diseases.

For instance, prisoners of war and veterans of specific wars can apply for VA disability benefits. However, individuals may qualify if they resided on or served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station New River) for health care benefits.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Presumptive Illnesses & Conditions

The development of a specific chronic disease may occur weeks or months after exposure to contaminated water. In fact, many Camp Lejeune veterans did not manifest symptoms until fifteen to twenty years after residing at the Marine Corps base. An investigation has found a link to a variety of medical conditions. However, the Depart of Veteran Affairs labeled eight of them as presumptive.

To recover disability benefits, a person should have developed:

  • Adult leukemia. Leukemia in adults is a life-threatening illness. Treatment can become extensive and expensive. Additionally, the severe symptoms reduce an individual's quality of life.
  • Liver cancer. The Department of Veteran Affairs considers liver cancer as a form of disability. The disease impedes the organ's ability to function correctly, which the body requires. VA benefits have a rating system; liver cancer ranges from 10 percent to 100 percent.
  • Bladder cancer. A few forms of bladder cancer may have resulted from chemicals in the water supply. Someone can experience pain and suffering due to painful urination and back pain. A person may have to spend thousands of dollars on surgery or chemotherapy for the treatment of bladder cancer.
  • Aplastic anemia. While rare, a person could develop aplastic anemia after significant exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. The government offers benefits since the condition affects the body's ability to create red blood cells.
  • Kidney cancer. The disability rating for kidney cancer may vary based on its current stage and if the disease causes other conditions. A person could have a 100 percent rating and get over $3,000 per month for this presumptive illness.
  • Parkinson's disease. The condition causes disabling symptoms like muscle stiffness and impaired balance. The minimum VA disability rating is 30 percent, but it can increase due to various factors. Higher ratings generally mean more money during monthly payments.
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, and other treatment options can be expensive. Veteran disability benefits help pay for the care someone needs. However, payments might not be enough, and other legal options may be necessary.
  • Multiple myeloma. Due to the severe issues the disease causes, the disability rating usually is 100 percent. The rating remains the same for five years after the diagnosis. Payments help cover extensive treatment.

If someone received a diagnosis for a non-presumptive Camp Lejeune condition, they do not qualify for benefits. However, they may have the chance to file a water contamination lawsuit. Contact a personal injury law firm to learn more.

Camp Lejeune Tier 1 and Tier 2 Cases

This list is a bit different than presumptive conditions. Camp Lejeune cancers have been categorized into two tiers based on the strength of the scientific and medical evidence linking the disease to the toxic water contamination. A Tier 1 Camp Lejeune cancer has very strong scientific data including peer reviewed studies linking the disease to the contaminated carcinogenic water at Camp Lejeune. We believe these will be the strongest cases that warrant the largest settlements of verdicts should the government fail to reasonably assess a claim. In fact, we estimate the value of Tier 1 cancer cases as being worth in excess of $500,000 and some will exceed $1 million.

Tier 1 Camp Lejeune Cancer

  • Bladder cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Esophageal cancer

Tier 2 cancers from Camp Lejeune have some scientific evidence linking the disease and contaminated Lejeune drinking water. However, the body of evidence crating the causal link between the cancer and Camp Lejeune water is not nearly as strong as Tier 1 cancers. Please call us today if you or a loved one spent 30 days at Camp Lejeune before December 31, 1987 and have been diagnosed with cancer.

Tier 2 Camp Lejeune Cancers

These are a bit less defined but we believe lung cancer, cervical cancer, aplastic anemia, prostate cancer, brain cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer. We are very much interested in investigating your claim and pursuing damages if your cancer falls into Tier 2. However, we anticipate the government will offer between $225,000 and $500,000 on these cancers with less scientific and medical evidence linking such to Camp Lejeune water contamination. We also believe these cases have a greater likelihood of being tried before a North Carolina jury due to more resistance from the government.

Can Family Members Get Health Benefits?

Roughly one million military members and their loved ones have suffered from the effects of polluted water at Camp Lejeune. While veterans can apply for VA benefits, their relatives may wonder if they can receive payments.

The Depart of Veteran Affairs does allow benefits for the spouses, children, and other dependents of veterans and service members. Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination can receive coverage for health care.

The program recognizes the economic loss (including health care expenses) a person faces concerning the military member's service. When you need to pay out-of-pocket costs for treatment, you receive reimbursement from the system.

However, medical care needs to relate to at least one of the listed conditions:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Leukemia
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Scleroderma

If a veteran's condition causes them to pass away, their surviving family members can qualify for additional benefits. Compensation may help pay for funeral and burial expenses.

To qualify, family members must prove their relationship with the service member. Additionally, they need to collect records to show they were on the base between 1953 and 1987.

The Department of Veteran Affairs Can Deny Disability Benefits Claims

The Department of Veteran Affairs may deny a person's disability benefits claim. The common argument is the condition does not relate to the individual's military service. These presumptive diseases have multiple causes and risk factors.

The program may not think an illness relates to a person's service at Camp Lejeune because of a lack of a diagnosis. The veteran may not have a medical diagnosis in their service treatment records. However, the law does not require one. You only need to document the current condition from an outside provider.

The department might say the claimant failed to establish a clear link between the illness and their time exposed to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Proving the connection can become difficult the longer someone has been out of the military.

Additionally, a claimant has to display symptoms of the disability. The early stages of a few illnesses, like kidney cancer, do not show signs. As a result, the VA benefits program may deny the claim.

The Department of Veteran Affairs Can Deny Disability Benefits Claims

The Department of Veteran Affairs may deny a person's disability benefits claim. The common argument is the condition does not relate to the individual's military service. These presumptive diseases have multiple causes and risk factors.

The program may not think an illness relates to a person's service at Camp Lejeune because of a lack of a diagnosis. The veteran may not have a medical diagnosis in their service treatment records. However, the law does not require one. You only need to document the current condition from an outside provider.

The department might say the claimant failed to establish a clear link between the illness and their time exposed to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Proving the connection can become difficult the longer someone has been out of the military.

Additionally, a claimant has to display symptoms of the disability. The early stages of a few illnesses, like kidney cancer, do not show signs. As a result, the VA benefits program may deny the claim.

Appeal a Denied Claim For VA Disability Benefits

Veterans can appeal a rejected claim. They must submit a notice of disagreement where they write why they disagree with the decision. The submission has to occur no more than a year after the denial.

A person can request a decision review officer to evaluate the appeal or go straight to the Board of Veterans Appeal (BVA). If the decision review officer denies the request, the veteran can still go to the BVA.

Options For Appeal of VA Benefits

A Board member may deny the appeal, but the person still has a couple of options. They could reopen a new request with their local VA office. The decision may go back to the Board if a clear error is present in the original verdict.

Alternatively, some victims have tried to go the legal route for compensation. A lawsuit can get someone the money they need for damages.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits

The military members and their families from Camp Lejeune and MCAS have tried to pursue compensation through the legal system. However, the court has repeatedly denied them financial reimbursement. Nevertheless, recent legislation could help many victims.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Enables Veterans and Their Families to Seek Justice

President Biden recently signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 into law. As a result, veterans and their family members along with civil workers, can file lawsuits against the United States government for harms and losses they sustained due to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Victims may be able to claim damages for medical expenses, missed wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. However, punitive damages would not apply. The amount they receive in a settlement depends on the severity of the condition and other factors.

If the bill becomes law, you have two years from the enactment to start your case. Hire a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss any deadlines.

Who Can File a Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuit?

One group that can file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit is the people who lived on the base or at MCAS New River. The residents include service members and their relatives. Furthermore, the duration of their residence should not be less than 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987.

Other eligible claimants include people who worked on the base for at least one month. Some of the workers include civilians. The government could have hired contractors who got sick while performing their duties.

The third eligible group is anyone who otherwise became exposed on the base between 1953 and 1987. For example, a person could have suffered from the chemical's life-long effects while in the womb. They did not realize it until years after the base shut down the polluted wells.

Schedule a consultation if you are unsure if you qualify for a lawsuit. The initial meeting can provide you with valuable information about your case.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Process

Before filing a lawsuit, the potential claimant must file a claim with the Department of Navy, Judge Advocate General. In turn, the Department of Navy has six months to accept or reject the claim. However, submitting a claim is a condition precedent to filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit.

The process to start a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit begins at a law firm. You can schedule a free consultation with a Camp Lejeune cancer lawyer at Dolman Law Group to determine if you are eligible. Once you and the lawyer agree to work together, the attorney proceeds to build a strong case.

During the lawsuit process, your lawyer collects sufficient evidence to support your claim. They speak to military experts, obtain medical records, and provide documents to prove your residence at the Marine Corps base.

If the government decides to provide what your lawyers believe is an unfair or unreasonable settlement offer, you (at the advice of legal counsel) can decide to file a lawsuit against the government. All Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuits are being filed in the Easter District of North Carolina. The Dolman Law Group will associate with local North Carolina counsel if our client opt to file a lawsuit.

Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuit

As of date over 10,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims have been filed with the Judge Advocate General for the Department of the Navy. Further, over 60 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

If a trial is necessary, your attorney can present your case. Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers find the best strategy to get the jury to decide in your favor. If you are interested in discussing a potential Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit, contact us immediately.

Study of Health Risks in Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is an agency for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They serve as an investigative body for HHS and study environmental emergencies caused by man made and natural hazardous items or substances. The ATSDR performed exhaustive testing and studies to determine the environmental threat and health risks posed by the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

ATSDR has conducted several major studies over the past fifteen years. This includes a cancer incidence study and two separate mortality studies concerning the water at Camp Lejeune and its link to a wide variety of cancers and birth defects.

Mortality studies looked at the rates of death for over 150,000 marines and civilian contractors. More specifically, they looked at the rates of death for specific cancers for over 150,000 individuals subjected to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 to 1987. Researchers examined their medical records and diagnosis of various types of cancer.

Scientific Evidence Illustrates the Strongest Links to Camp Lejeune Cancer Types

In previous paragraphs we discussed the presumptive conditions, the most common cancers and what have been deemed to be Tier 1 and Tier 2 cancers related to Camp Lejeune water contamination. We will now discuss the specific cancers with the strongest scientific causal link with an individual's exposure to Camp Lejeune's water contamination.

Cancers With Strong Links To Camp Lejeune's Water Contamination - Based on Science

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Non hodgkin's lymphoma

Camp Lejeune Bladder Cancer

The bladder is a sac like organ located in the lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer is a very common type of cancer. There are several factors that can contribute to the diagnosis of bladder cancer; both environmental and genetic. Bladder cancer has a 77% five year survival rate from the time of diagnosis.

There are several environmental factors that can cause bladder cancer. Exposure to industrial chemicals, cigarette smoking and exposure to contaminated drinking water can each cause bladder cancer. In the case of those stationed or residing at Camp Lejeune, contaminated water contained tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Both chemicals are considered industrial solvents commonly used in the process of dry cleaning. ABC Cleaners was a dry cleaning facility at Camp Lejeune and these solvents unfortunately entered the water at Camp Lejeune by being spilled down drains and improperly dumped into the water supply. Both PCE and TCE are considered bladder carcinogens and were prevalent in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. A carcinogen is a cancer causing substance. Thus, we feel that the scientific evidence is very strong to support Camp Lejeune bladder cancer.

Camp Lejeune Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a very small gland located just below the bladder in men. This gland is a part of the male reproductive system and produces semen. As previously discussed multiple studies found significant amounts of TCE and PCE in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. One study shows that individuals exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune had a much higher rate of prostate cancer (among several cancers) than the normal population. Another study demonstrates that exposure to TCE creates a much greater risk and incidence of prostate cancer. We are very confident in the body of scientific evidence supporting Camp Lejeune prostate cancer

Camp Lejeune Breast Cancer

The ATSDR conducted a study of whether Marines exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were more likely to develop male breast cancer. The results of studying 444 Marines demonstrated a causal link between exposure to PCE and vinyl chloride with a much greater incidence rate of breast cancer than the ordinary population. Further, this study suggests that PCE and TCE may further accelerate the development of breast cancer. Further we have found an epidemiological study indicating exposure to TCE and PCE creates a much greater risk of developing breast cancer. We are confident in the scientific evidence supporting Camp Lejeune breast cancer.

Camp Lejeune Kidney Cancer

Camp Lejeune water contamination has been linked to both chronic kidney disease and kidney cancer. The ATSDR's previously referenced study on the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune demonstrated a much higher rate of kidney cancer among residents of this Marine Base than the average population. The ATSDR mortality studies also indicated a much higher rate of kidney cancer. Finally, the ATSDR released a morbidity study indicating exposure to TCE and PCE at Camp Lejeune lead to a much higher risk of kidney cancer among both Marines and civilian employees. There is compelling medical literature demonstrating exposure to TCE and PCE is definitely related to kidney cancer. We are extremely confident in the scientific evidence displaying what amounts to irrefutable proof of Camp Lejeune kidney cancer.

Camp Lejeune Leukemia

The rate of adult leukemia and other forms of leukemia are closely related to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Another ATSDR study reviewed hundreds of medical records and linked adult leukemia to the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. In fact, under "health effects with sufficient evidence for causation for benzene," the study references adult leukemia. In fact, one can feel confident in the scientific evidence linking the incidence of leukemia to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Thus, we feel very confident that Camp Lejeune water caused an alarmingly high rate of incidence of Camp Lejeune leukemia.

Camp Lejeune Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Non hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system is part of the immune system and defends the cells within our body from germs. Non hodgkin's lymphoma causes our bodies lymphocytes (white blood cells) to grow abnormally and can form into cancerous tumors. Exposure to contaminated water is among the environmental risk factors for this cancer. We feel confident in the scientific data illustrating Camp Lejeune non hodgkin's lymphoma.

Camp Lejeune Cancers With Correlative Supporting Studies

Multiple myeloma, liver cancer and lung cancer will now be explored in greater depth. We believe these cases have significant value but the science is not as strong as the previous cancers we discussed. However, we remain confident in these claims. Yet, we anticipate these cases will involve a tougher battle with a greater likelihood legal counsel will be forced to file a lawsuit.

Camp Lejeune Multiple Myeloma

A mortality study examined civilian workers exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune. The study's findings were significant for illustrating a much higher risk and incidence of kidney cancer, leukemias, oral cancer, rectal cancer, multiple myeloma and Parkinson's disease. However, there is an absence of numerous studies specific to multiple myeloma and contaminated water.

Camp Lejeune Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is listed in some literature as an increased risk as with all cancers across the board. However, the science illustrating a causal relationship between the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and incidence of liver cancer. Thus, the science behind Camp Lejeune liver cancer is less authoritative as the others. Some correlation has been established between the use of PCE or TCE in contaminated water and liver cancer.

Camp Lejeune Lung Cancer

A 2009 report by the National Research Council (NRC) issued a report on their study of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This study found an association between higher rates of lung cancer in former residents of Camp Lejeune. However, we believe there are so many risk factors for lung cancer that these cases may be a bit more difficult than others to pursue. However, we are investigating multiple Camp Lejeune lung cancer claims and seeking more. We do feel confident in pursuing lung cancer claims from contaminated water.

The Dolman Law Group Handles Cases Involving All Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Presumptive Illnesses

Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions

If you decide to pursue legal action, you should find a law firm with significant financial resources and experience to handle a  Camp Lejeune water contamination case. The attorney must have the appropriate characteristics to improve the possibility of success. You can look for specific qualities during the consultation. You can learn more about the attorney when you have the chance to ask questions.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Presumptive Conditions - Why Dolman Law Group?

The Dolman Law Group is a nationally recognized catastrophic injury and mass torts law firm. Our Camp Lejeune presumptive illness lawyers have over 130 plus years of experience and have resolved over $250 million in claims. We have the necessary financial resources to zealously advocate claims and lawsuits against any sized corporate defendant. Camp Lejeune water contamination presumptive conditions cover a wide array of cancers and health conditions.

What to Look for in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer
Matthew Dolman, Camp Lejeune Lawyer

One thing to look for is the amount of experience a firm has. A lawyer who has practiced law for decades is familiar with the lawsuit process and court procedures. They are aware of how the defendant may act and how to counter defensive arguments.

In addition to experience, a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney should have a history of success. Many firms post successful case results on their websites to inform potential clients. Additionally, client testimonials may give insight into the lawyer's track record.

Your lawyer must have sufficient knowledge about the laws regarding water contamination. They should stay up to date with any statutory changes as well. If a lawyer is unfamiliar with a service member's rights, they are less likely to secure a settlement.

Contact the right attorney that makes you feel comfortable with divulging personal information. They should appear welcoming and seem interested in taking your case. You can gauge how at ease the lawyer makes you feel at the initial meeting.

The Dolman Law Group works with local counsel in any jurisdiction outside Florida for the purpose of filing lawsuits in jurisdictions wherein we are not licensed.  Thus, we will follow each State's ethical rules to ensure a local attorney is involved.


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 represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 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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