Camp Lejeune is a United States Marine Corps base located in North Carolina. Established in 1941, it has served as a training ground for Marines preparing for deployments all over the world.
Between 1953 and 1987, the Camp Lejeune water supply was contaminated with a range of toxic substances. As a result, over one million people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune were exposed to the contaminated water and subsequently put at a higher risk for dangerous health effects such as cancer and birth injury.
If you, a family member, or a loved one were present at Camp Lejeune during this time period and have since suffered adverse health effects, you may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows those exposed to contaminated water at the Marine Corps Base the right to sue and recover damages. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act aims to provide much-needed compensation for victims and their families.
If you believe you may have a claim, contact us for a free consultation or use the chatbot on this page to see if you qualify for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit instantly.
Discovery of Toxic Substances in Camp Lejeune Water
For years, the residents of Camp Lejeune drank, cooked with, and bathed in water that was contaminated with a host of dangerous chemicals. The water used by residents and families living on the base was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have been linked to a number of serious health conditions.
The sources of the contamination are varied, but one the most likely culprit is a dry cleaning facility that operated on the base for many years. Since the facility closed, the levels of VOCs in drinking water have decreased dramatically. However, the damage has already been done, and the residents of Camp Lejeune are now facing a range of health problems.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Studies of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
The presence of VOCs and other toxic chemicals in the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune was first discovered in 1982. Since then, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has been investigating the potential health effects of exposure to the water.
The ATSDR has found scientific and medical evidence that the chemicals can cause a number of serious health problems, including many types of cancer.
The health effects of exposure to the contaminated water are especially serious for infants and children, who are more susceptible to the toxic effects of the chemicals. It is incredibly important for people who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to be aware of the potential health risks.
Chemicals Found in Water Sources at Camp Lejeune
A variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals were found in drinking water that supplied base housing and buildings at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River. MCAS New River is located just minutes away from Camp Lejeune.
The potential sources of these chemicals include the aforementioned off-base dry cleaner, military disposal of industrial chemicals, and more throughout 30+ years of recorded contamination.
Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene, PCE or PERC, is a powerful industrial solvent. It’s used in a variety of applications, including dry-cleaning fabrics, degreasing metal machinery, and manufacturing other chemicals. PERC is also a common ingredient in paint strippers, spot cleaners, and adhesives.
Although it’s an effective cleaner, PERC poses a serious health risk to humans. Exposure to high levels of PERC can lead to bladder cancer, liver cancer, and kidney cancer. In addition, PERC exposure has been linked to birth defects and other pediatric health risks.
PERC contamination at Camp Lejeune can be traced to Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant and Hadnot Point Treatment Plant.
Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a chemical solvent commonly used as a degreaser for metal machinery. TCE can be incredibly dangerous to human health. When ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, TCE can potentially lead to kidney cancer, non-hodgkin lymphoma, and other cancers. In addition, exposure to TCE has been linked to cardiac effects such as arrhythmias and heart failure.
TCE at Camp Lejeune can be traced to Hadnot Point Treatment Plant.
Vinyl chloride is a synthetic compound used in the production of many consumer products, from food containers and water pipes to cosmetics and cleaning products. Despite its widespread use, vinyl chloride has been linked to a range of serious health problems, including liver cancer, hepatic steatosis, brain cancer, and other cancers, as well as certain neurobehavioral effects. Studies have also found that exposure to vinyl chloride can damage the nervous system, cause birth defects, and lead to fertility problems.
Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet smell. It is used as a solvent in the chemical industry and is present in crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, and exposure to high levels of benzene can cause leukemia and other blood cancers.
The ATSDR has conducted an assessment of the health effects of benzene, and their findings indicate that consuming water contaminated with the chemical has been linked to leukemias, non-hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. These findings are concerning, and further research is needed to better understand the health risks associated with Benzene exposure.
Health Issues related to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
With over 70 chemical contaminants found in the water at Camp Lejeune, it can be difficult to tell just how many medical conditions have resulted from toxic exposure. The scientific and medical evidence thus far suggests that those who were exposed to Camp Lejeune water contamination are at an increased risk for the following health problems:
- Bladder Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other bone marrow conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
- Birth defects and birth injury
- Miscarriage and fetal death
- Neurobehavioral effects
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a list of presumptive conditions related to water contamination. The VA will now allow members of the armed services who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the relevant time period to seek compensation for these conditions.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a new bill, part of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, that has recently been signed into law by President Biden.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows individuals who were exposed to toxic water at the base between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 to file a claim and recover damages for any harm they suffered as a result of the exposure. The new law would override current North Carolina law that bars actions such as these.
This is a significant step forward for those affected by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, and it will provide much-needed compensation for those who have been suffering for years without any recourse.
For years, no help or benefits were afforded to veterans exposed to volatile organic compounds and other toxic chemicals during their time at Camp Lejeune. Now, veterans, their family members, civilian workers, and any other person who was exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune may be eligible to file a claim for compensation.
What is the Honoring Our PACT Act?
The Honoring Our PACT Act is the bill that encompasses the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The PACT Act provides new VA benefits to people exposed to toxic chemicals during their military service.
The PACT Act also outlines presumptive conditions for a number of situations in which military personnel were exposed to dangerous chemicals, including at military burn pits in the Middle East, Agent Orange Exposure, and more.
The Honoring Our PACT Act went through many legislative hurdles in order to be signed into law, but now over 3 million military service members are able to get the health care benefits and compensation they rightfully deserve.
Previous Attempts by the Federal Government to Provide Benefits to those affected by Water Contamination
In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act (H.R. 1627) in order to provide benefits to those who had been exposed to tainted water.
H.R. 1627 granted health care benefits and disability benefits to veterans and their family members who met certain standards, as well as VA compensation benefits for veterans.
While the bill has helped many people, some have argued that it does not do enough to address the long-term health effects of the exposure. In particular, some families have been left without any financial assistance if they do not meet the eligibility requirements for health care benefits or disability benefits. Moreover, the VA compensation benefits are only available to veterans, not to their family members. As a result, some families are still struggling to get by after being exposed to toxic chemicals in drinking water.
In 2017, Congress passed an additional statute that granted more benefits and expanded upon the conditions associated with exposure. The amended statute associates even more presumptive conditions with contaminated water exposure.
None of these legislative actions have been as forward-thinking or comprehensive as the newly passed Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
How are Claims for the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits Submitted?
The claims process for a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit is handled first by an administrative claim process, and if not settled through that administrative portion, they will then be handled in a judicial process through the North Carolina courts, particularly the U.S. District Court: Eastern District of North Carolina.
The administrative claim process entails submitting a Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) Claim Form. The claim form can be found on the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) website.
Who Can File a Claim for Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
Active duty and former military personnel, family members living on base, civilian workers, families of deceased, and even in-utero victims who were not yet born when their mother was residing at the base may be eligible to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits.
It’s important to note that if you were dishonorably discharged, you may not be eligible for disability benefits or disability compensation.
The release and act also notes that if you have a service-connected disability, you may be able to receive free health care and prescriptions through the VA. If you think you may be eligible, it’s in your best interest to file a claim as soon as possible.
Who is Liable for My Injuries?
The liable parties may include the United States Navy, other governmental or regulatory agencies, businesses that may have contributed to contaminating water supplies, and any other group that may have contributed to an injury or diagnosis.
What are the Average Camp Lejeune Settlement Amounts?
Specific dollar amounts for Camp Lejeune settlement payouts are not yet available. Camp Lejeune victims seeking legal help should be wary of any website advertising certain numbers for settlement amounts.
We will soon know the average settlement amount for Camp Lejeune lawsuits once the administrative and judicial processes for filing claims becomes clearer.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
Hiring legal representation that understands the attorney client relationship and can effectively fight for rightful monetary compensation is essential in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit.
An attorney will help you gather evidence, add up your total damages, and put together a strong claim for compensation.
Evidence is important in any personal injury or mass tort case, and the water contamination at Camp Lejeune is no different.
Evidence for your or case may include:
- Documents proving residence at Camp Lejeune
- Military/Marine Corps service records indicating dates and locations
- Medical records and diagnoses of certain diseases
- Medical bills
- Travel records
- Health care information
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits records
- Records on disability benefits or disability compensation
Damages in a Camp Lejeune water contamination case may include:
- Medical bills and costs
- Lost wages or lost earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life and other intangible factors
- Permanent disability and life-altering medical conditions
TruLaw: Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorneys
If you, a loved one, or a family member was exposed to toxic chemicals in water at Camp Lejeune, consider contacting TruLaw for a free consultation and to discuss your legal options.
We’re connected to the leading Camp Lejeune lawyers and understand the devastating impacts that toxic water contamination has brought to people who lived on the base.
Camp Lejeune victims deserve justice and compensation for their exposure to dangerous, toxic chemicals. Our Camp Lejeune attorneys can help attain that justice.
Contact us or use the chatbot on this page to see if you qualify for legal action instantly.
Updates for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
May 2023 Update for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
May 1, 2023: A Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit is taking shape, resembling an MDL. A master complaint and a master answer or responsive pleading will be established. The court will coordinate various processes such as discovery, expert motions, dispositive motions, bellwether selection, trials, and settlement negotiations. A database will also be created to gather crucial information from each plaintiff and the defendant.
May 5, 2023: The growing number of Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits puts pressure on the Department of Justice (DOJ). U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle rejects the DOJ’s request for more time to respond, emphasizing that eight months is sufficient to prepare. The urgency to formulate reasonable settlement offers to victims is highlighted.
May 9, 2023: The Navy faces criticism for its lack of action on Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) claims. Despite receiving over 45,000 claims in the past nine months, none have been reviewed for settlement due to the absence of a portal system for electronic document submission. Frustration among veterans, lawyers, and judges grows as the Navy is urged to take action.
May 11, 2023: A proposed class action lawsuit is filed against certain law firms involved in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. The plaintiff alleges violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, claiming that the firms repeatedly called her despite her number being on the Do Not Call Registry.
May 16, 2023: A new study definitively links Parkinson’s disease to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, providing strong evidence of the connection.
May 17, 2023: Legislators demand an explanation from the Navy regarding the lack of progress in resolving toxic-water contamination cases at Camp Lejeune Marine Base. The pressure increases following a report revealing that none of the approximately 45,000 claims have been settled, and an online platform for managing the cases is not yet operational. Legislators call for swift adjudication, expressing concern over the delay and the potential termination of the MDL due to scientific evidence challenges.
April 2023 Update for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
There is a surge in the number of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits being filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Attorneys representing both the U.S. government and plaintiffs are suggesting that the cases be consolidated under one judge or that the Court manages pretrial proceedings in a coordinated manner. This would not constitute a true class action lawsuit, but it would have many similar features.
March 2023 Update for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
On March 1, 2023, a lung cancer lawsuit was filed against the United States Navy by the daughter of a former Camp Lejeune resident who was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in 1996 after being exposed to the toxic water at the base from 1953 to 1957. The daughter filed an administrative claim for compensation under the CLJA, but it was constructively denied because the Navy did not act on this lawsuit or any other administrative claims that have been filed.
On March 6, 2023, 22 new civil lawsuits were filed under the CLJA in the Eastern District of North Carolina, bringing the total to 179 Camp Lejeune lawsuits since the start of this month. Comparatively, there are only 15 non-Camp Lejeune civil cases currently pending in the same court.
On March 20, 2023, since the first claims brought under the CLJA became eligible to bring civil cases over one month ago, 260 Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The weekly volume of new Camp Lejeune civil cases has more than doubled each week since the start of this month. There is still no indication of whether these cases will be consolidated.
February 2023 Update for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
On February 1, 2023, it was reported that more than 15,000 compensation claims had been filed with the Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit since the enactment of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) in August 2022. News outlets speculated that as many as 500,000 claims could be filed before the 2024 deadline.
On February 8, 2023, it was reported that the deadline for the Navy to resolve claims filed under the CLJA was set to expire that week. Thousands of victims had already filed claims, and the Eastern District of North Carolina was expected to receive a surge of civil lawsuits.
On February 13, 2023, the deadline for the Navy to take action on administrative claims expired, and a surge of civil cases was reported in the Eastern District of North Carolina. In just three days, 79 new CLJA cases were filed, with the volume expected to increase.
On February 14, 2023, the Navy JAG reported that more than 20,000 administrative claims had been filed under the CLJA, with over 100 lawsuits filed in North Carolina.
On February 16, 2023, it was reported that nine new CLJA civil lawsuits were filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina, bringing the total number of lawsuits to 112.
On February 22, 2023, the VA Office of the General Counsel issued a statement to remind victims that filing a claim or lawsuit under the CLJA would not negatively impact their ability to receive disability benefits for injuries related to the Camp Lejeune water. Over the last ten years, the VA had received 102,265 disability claims related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
On February 27, 2023, it was reported that 158 civil lawsuits had been filed under the CLJA in the Eastern District of North Carolina since the earliest claimants became eligible to file after the six-month deadline on their administrative claims with JAG expired. While this number was relatively small, it was expected to increase dramatically in the following months. Some lawyers were taking a wait-and-see approach, keeping these claims on the administrative docket for longer.
January 2023 Update for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun processing PACT Act benefits claims for veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals during their service.
This legislation, passed in August 2022, is the first of its kind to provide benefits and legal options for victims of water contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Since the law was passed, over 200,000 claims have been submitted. However, it is believed that there are thousands more veterans who were put at risk of serious illnesses, such as cancer, as a result of the contamination.
Contact us for a free consultation, or use the chatbot on this page to see if you qualify for a Camp Lejeune claim instantly.