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Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Claims

From August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, an undetermined number of individuals were exposed to toxic substances through contaminated drinking water while living and working at the Camp Lejeune U.S. Marine Corps facility in North Carolina. The exposure may have led to severe, chronic, and fatal health conditions in individuals who spent at least 30 cumulative days within the camp’s boundaries.

New legislation will allow any individuals with an associated medical condition and potential exposure during the above-listed timeframe to bring a claim for their illness. Their claim could allow them to obtain compensation from the U.S. government for their medical costs, incidental expenses, and other damages directly related to their medical condition.

Put simply: if you were living or working at Camp Lejeune or any of its conjoined facilities between fall 1953 and the end of 1987, you may be eligible for compensation from the federal government (and other parties) in regards to damages for specific medical conditions attributable to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Speak to our experienced injury and negligence attorneys today, as our lawyers may be able to help you file your claim(s). Our experienced team will work hard to represent your interests and fight to get you the compensation that you may be entitled to. 

Conditions Presumed to Be Related to Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

The following conditions are listed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as having a presumptive service connection for Veterans, as well as Reservists and National Guard Members, who were exposed to the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune from 1953 – 1987 to determine disability compensation:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Adult leukemia
  • Kidney cancer
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Liver cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Additionally, any Veterans who served at least 30 days at the Camp Lejeune facility (consecutive or nonconsecutive) can receive cost-free care from the VA for all of the following conditions:

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

If you have any of the above conditions or a medical diagnosis related to them, you may be eligible to seek damages for injuries related to toxic chemical exposure at Camp Lejeune. You will be eligible to receive compensation for all damages related to reasonable and necessary medical costs, minus the value of any benefits and remedies already received in relation to your condition caused by exposure to contaminants at Camp Lejeune.

What Damages Are Available to Qualifying Individuals?

Potential damages assessed for your claim depend on expenses related to treatment and other related costs of exposure. These may include:

  • Reimbursement for past medical costs
  • Payments for the estimated costs of future treatments
  • Compensation for lost wages or loss of earnings potential
  • Disability benefits, including compensation for permanent disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, consortium, companionship, or household income
  • Pain and suffering damages

The exact damages available depend on the circumstances of your case. Your total damages award/settlement may be reduced by the amount of any benefits or other forms of compensation you have received related to your medical conditions caused by exposure at Camp Lejeune.

Who Is Eligible to Seek Compensation for Their Exposure to Toxic Water from Camp Lejeune?

U.S. Armed Forces Veterans and their family members who resided on-base with them from 1953 – 1987 are eligible to seek VA health benefits for the treatment of the 15 conditions listed above. Additionally, Reservists and National Guard members who stayed on the base during that period are eligible to receive VA health benefits, even if they are technically disqualified from receiving other forms of VA coverage.

The recent passage of the Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act means that any individual who spent 30 total days at Camp Lejeune at any point from August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, may be eligible to pursue a claim directly against the federal government and other responsible parties concerning their toxic exposure and subsequent medical condition.

Parties eligible to join a class action lawsuit seeking remedy include any of the following individuals, so long as they spent the equivalent of 30 days at Camp Lejeune or its incorporated facilities during the applicable period:

  • U.S. Veterans, Reservists, and National Guard Members
  • Family members living at Camp Lejeune (including unborn individuals in-utero)
  • Civilian contractors and other non-military service workers present on the base
  • Any other individual lived, worked, or was authorized to regularly visit Camp Lejeune facilities such that they spent the cumulative equivalent of 30 days on the property

What About the Military Facilities Surrounding Camp Lejeune? Was There Chemical Exposure There?

The property known as “Camp Lejeune” encompasses multiple U.S. Armed Forces facilities located within Camp Lejeune proper, situated on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the New River, just south of Jacksonville, North Carolina. 

Anyone present at the following facilities may have been exposed to contaminated water through drinking, washing, bathing, or other activities as a result of lapses in environmental protocol at the base:

  • Camp Lejeune Military Reservation
  • Camp Lejeune Greater Sandy Run
  • Marine Corps Air Station New River
  • Hadnot Point
  • Holcomb Boulevard
  • Camp Johnson / Montford Point
  • Paradise Point
  • Tarawa Terrace
  • Camp Geiger
  • Stone Bay Rifle Range
  • Onslow Beach

What Contaminants Were Present at Camp Lejeune?

For three decades — from the 1950s to the mid-1980s — the water supply used by hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families was laced with chemicals from an off-base dry-cleaning company and industrial solvents used to clean military equipment.

L.A. Times, “The few, the proud, the stricken”

by David Zucchino, August 26, 2009

Multiple activities contributed to the contamination of the water at Camp Lejeune, water that service members and their families drank, bathed in, did their washing in, and in some cases even played or swam in. The contaminants of primary concern included multiple types of volatile organic compounds. These came mainly from off-site operations that improperly dumped chemicals that seeped into groundwater and the New River, leaching into wells that provided the primary drinking, bathing, and washing supply for residential housing and barracks. Other contaminants were found improperly buried or otherwise disposed of in such a way that led to repeated and cumulative exposure over several decades.

The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) identified two primary water treatment plants where chemicals were allowed to aggregate. The treatment facilities then failed to eliminate the compounds from the drinking water supply, allowing them to remain at 240 – 3,400 times the acceptable concentration level.

Contaminants included the following VOCs of primary concern:

Perchloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

PCE is a chemical commonly used for dry cleaning fabrics. This chemical was found to have primarily affected the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant due to unsafe waste disposal practices of a company known as ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry cleaning firm located off-base. PCE is a known carcinogen and can lead to kidney and liver damage, menstrual problems, and miscarriages in women after repeated exposure.

Research from the ATSDR determined that PCE concentrations in drinking water on-base exceeded the 5 (parts-per-billion) ppb contaminant level set by the EPA for 346 months from November 1957 – February 1987.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

TCE is a commonly used degreasing solvent utilized by the U.S. military and contractors to clean equipment in the mid-to-late 20th century. The chemical is also used as a refrigerant and a solvent for industrial and household products, including carpet cleaners, spot removers, tool cleaners, spray adhesives, paint removers, and cleaning wipes. TCE is a known carcinogen with strong links to kidney cancer and evidence of links to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.

The ATSDR determined that TCE had contaminated the water at the Hadnot Point treatment plant. Other derivative chemical compounds were also detected, including vinyl chloride and trans-1,2-DCE (t-1,2-dichloroethylene). Vinyl chloride has links to multiple myeloma, liver cancer, and other forms of cancer. Contamination was traced to industrial spills, improper waste disposal sites, and leaking underground storage tanks.

Benzene

Benzene is an organic carbon-rich chemical compound created naturally within crude oil deposits. It also is used in the production of resins, plastics, nylon, and other synthetic fibers, as well as some forms of rubber. It may also be present in certain pesticides, detergents, and dyes. Significant exposure is linked to leukemia and other blood cancers or blood disorders.

What Evidence Is Needed to Establish My Disease Was Caused by Toxic Chemicals at Camp Lejeune?

Research from the ATSDR, the VA, the EPA, and other governmental organizations has determined a strong link between the use of water supplies at Camp Lejeune and subsequent cancers and other serious conditions. 

Nevertheless, individuals seeking remedy for their ailment must be capable of producing “evidence showing that the relationship between exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune and the harm is: (A) sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists; or (B) sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not,” according to the wording of the PACT Act.

Valuable evidence that can be produced to strengthen your claim includes:

  • Service records and other documentation proving the presence of yourself or a service member or family member at Camp Lejeune at the applicable dates
  • Any document that can establish your residence at Camp Lejeune, including correspondence, receipts, invoices, etc.
  • Travel records indicating trips to/from the Camp Lejeune area during the applicable period
  • Medical documentation establishing a diagnosis and prior symptoms related to the named conditions
  • Medical bills documenting expenses and procedures related to the care of the named conditions
  • Documentation of disability benefits or VA compensation benefits

What Is Needed to File a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Claims

All torts (wrongdoing that leads to civil legal liability) related to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune will be considered under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Anyone present for 30 cumulative days at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953 – December 31, 1987, who has a diagnosis of one of the 15 official conditions or a directly related diagnosis can be a part of these claims.  Our experienced N.C. personal injury attorneys will be able to provide additional information about these claims and the procedure for initiating a new claim.   

The Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act stipulates that all prospective claimants intending to take a civil action seeking remedy for their exposure-related conditions must first file a claim pursuant to 28 U.S. Code § 2675. If the claim is denied, the claimant is eligible to seek remedy under the provisions of the PACT Act within 180 days.

How Can a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Attorney Help Me?

Filing a case against the U.S. government is a challenging affair. These cases require conclusive evidence of the plaintiff’s presence on the base for the allotted time during the applicable date range. Injured parties must also be prepared to show that they have a condition directly related to exposure to the toxic chemicals in the finished (drinking) water furnished at Camp Lejeune.

Our experienced attorneys can help you prepare your case with the documentation and evidence needed to prove your case. With our assistance, you can adhere to the proper procedures and complete all the needed paperwork on time and accurately. You will have an experienced attorney by your side from day one. 

Preparing paperwork related to your prior medical diagnoses, VA claims, service history, and other key factors can be stressful and difficult. Let our experienced attorneys help you put everything together and handle your case from start to finish, allowing you to focus on your health and your family during this difficult time.

Reach Out to a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Claim Lawyer Today

Receive a free case evaluation when you call Auger & Auger.  During your case evaluation, you can feel free to ask questions and learn more about what this claims process entails. For over 25+ years, our law firm has been representing the interests of the Carolinas’ injured.  We are a client-focused law firm and will do all we can to help you.  Please contact us and let us know if you would like to speak to us about your potential Camp Lejeune claim. Our phones are answered 24/7 and we look forward to speaking with you. 

Schedule your free case evaluation when you call (855) 971-1114 or contact us online.

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