Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
The law firm of Levin & Perconti is currently investigating claims on behalf of veterans and family members stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.
Thanks to a new congressional law, individuals diagnosed with cancers, birth defects, and other severe health consequences linked to the camp’s toxic drinking water will soon be able to sue the federal government for damages. This guide will help you determine your eligibility to file under the law, how you can file, and what you can expect from the claims process.
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Camp Lejeune Lawsuit: July 2022 Legislative Update
On June 16, the U.S. Senate voted 84 to 14 to pass the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. The bill, part of the larger Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, passed the House in March and heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature. He is expected to sign it later this summer.
This legislation will be a significant victory for the estimated 750,000 military service members and their families exposed to toxic chemicals in the camp’s drinking water before the Marine Corps deactivated the wells in 1987.
What does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act mean for victims?
For more than three decades, Camp Lejeune veterans and their family members have been fighting for the right to seek justice and compensation in court. With the president’s signature, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will clear away previous legal loopholes that shielded the federal government from lawsuits related to the camp’s contaminated water supply.
If you or a loved one were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Levin & Perconti to discuss your legal options. You can benefit from being one of the first to file a claim under the new law—so contact us online or call us at 877-374-1417 for a free case evaluation.
Who is eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
Under the law, anyone who “resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed” to Camp Lejeune drinking water for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may be eligible to file a damages claim. This group includes:
- Military veterans who served at Camp Lejeune during the above period
- Family members of veterans who live on the base
- Civilians workers who lived or worked on the base
Can family members sue on behalf of deceased loved ones?
Yes. Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a relative or legal representative can file a claim on behalf of a person, living or deceased, who was exposed to the contaminated water during the specified period. These representatives may include the exposed individual’s parent, child, spouse, or sibling.
Which illnesses are linked to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency, evaluated the scientific and medical evidence linking Camp Lejeune’s water contamination to various health conditions.
The original ATSDR report and subsequent scientific studies identified more than three dozen diseases linked to chemicals in the camp’s drinking water.
Cancers linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination:
- Bladder cancer
- Brain/CNS cancers
- Breast cancer (male and female)
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Soft tissue cancer
Birth defects and reproductive health conditions linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination:
- Cardiac birth defects
- Choanal atresia
- Female infertility
- Fetal death
- Low birth weight
- Major malformations
- Neural tube defects
- Oral cleft defects
Other diseases and conditions linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination:
- End-stage renal disease
- Liver cirrhosis
- Parkinson disease
Have you or a family member been diagnosed with any of the above mentioned diseases? Do you believe the illness resulted from water contamination at Camp Lejeune? If so, you may be eligible to file a claim for damages under the new law.
The government is likely to set up a program to evaluate and review claims, much like the process set up for victims of September 11. Connecting with an attorney as soon as possible can help ensure that your claim will get filed before any announced deadlines.
For a free consultation with one of our skilled mass tort attorneys, please reach us today through our online form or call us at 877-374-1417.
VA Disability Benefits vs. Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Damages: What’s the difference?
Following the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided health care benefits to veterans and their family members stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 who suffer from any of these 15 health conditions:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
Setting aside the VA’s notorious “deny until they die” approach to rejecting veteran’s disability claims under the 2012 law, the health care benefits available through the VA are not the same as filing a lawsuit and receiving compensation for your injuries. VA disability benefits only cover the cost of health care related to the qualifying condition. They do not compensate for pain and suffering, lost wages, or other damages.
In contrast, filing a successful Camp Lejeune lawsuit is the only way to receive compensation for those damages. Because each case is unique, it’s essential to speak with an experienced lawyer to get an accurate assessment of the payment you may be eligible to receive.
Can I file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit if I’ve received VA disability benefits?
Yes. You can file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit even if you have already received VA disability compensation.
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, any damage awards you may receive from a successful lawsuit will be offset by the cost of benefits received from the VA. For example, if you receive a $100,000 settlement from your suit and you’ve already received $50,000 in VA disability benefits—your total award would be $50,000.
How much compensation can I expect from a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit?
Because the president hasn’t yet signed the bill into law and no one has filed a lawsuit, it’s impossible to say how much compensation victims will likely receive from a Camp Lejeune settlement.
Your compensation will depend on a few factors related to your individual case, the entire class action group, and other political considerations. We’ll address these factors below.
Individual Case Factors
The first set of factors will hinge on the strength of your particular case. These factors include:
- the severity of your qualifying, diagnosed condition
- proof of residency at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
- your pre-existing conditions
- available medical records and documentation of your injuries
- the scientific evidence linking your particular illness to contaminated water
- damages you have suffered as a result of your exposure, such as lost wages and medical expenses
The individual medical factors that will affect the value of your case are complex, and you should always consult with an experienced class-action attorney to get an estimate of what your case is worth.
Class Action Group Factors
The second set of factors will depend on the entire class action lawsuit group. These include:
- the number of individuals who join the lawsuit (this will affect how much each person receives)
- the total amount of damages suffered by all members of the class-action
- the amount of money the government has set aside to compensate victims (this is called the “class fund”)
Although an estimated 750,000 people were exposed to Camp Lejeune water contamination, it’s impossible to say how many will join the lawsuit.
However, we know that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has published a cost estimate for the Honoring our PACT Act, estimating the 10-year cost of the bill at $667 billion. Of that total, they estimate that Camp Lejeune’s settlement claims would account for $6.1 billion in payments.
Because politicians determine the settlement funding amounts, there is always the risk that the final numbers could be lower than what is ultimately needed to compensate all victims fairly. Fortunately, both political parties support the bill, and it’s likely to pass into law with $6.1 billion in funding for victim settlements.
Should I be aware of any lawsuit deadlines?
Yes. There is a limited timeline to file your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit—so it’s critical to act quickly. Litigants must file their claims within two years from the final passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help with Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
If you or a loved one were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and were diagnosed with a qualifying illness, you may wonder what a personal injury lawyer can do to help with your lawsuit.
The attorneys at Levin & Perconti have recovered more than one billion dollars for our clients. With over 200 years of combined litigation experience, we have the knowledge, resources, and dedication to help you get the compensation you deserve.
For example, we will:
- thoroughly investigate your case and gather critical medical records and evidence to support your claim
- consult with the top experts in the field to build a strong case on your behalf
- handle all of the legal paperwork and deadlines associated with your case so that you can focus on your health
- negotiate with the government to get you the maximum compensation possible
- fight for you every step of the way and take your case to trial if necessary
How much will I need to pay to hire an attorney to help with my Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit?
At Levin & Perconti, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means our Camp Lejeune lawyers only get paid if we recover compensation for you. There are no upfront costs or hourly rates, and you only pay us a percentage of the settlement recovered in your case.
There is no financial risk to working with us.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help with your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you get the justice you deserve!
Tragic History of Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination
Camp Lejeune’s Toxic Water Contamination is one of U.S. history’s most serious environmental disasters. From the 1950s to the 1980s, two toxic wells contaminated by industrial chemicals pumped water to over 750,000 Marines, their families, and civilian workers stationed at the base.
When the government shut down the wells in 1987, the damage was already done. After exposure to a toxic cocktail of chemicals, thousands of Marines and their families have suffered various devastating health effects — including bladder and kidney cancer, female infertility, leukemia, and more.
What toxic chemicals contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, and how did they get there?
In the early 1980s, the US Marine Corps learned that a multitude of volatile organic compounds (VOC) contaminated the water at Camp Lejeune.
The VOCs found in the camp’s water wells included:
- Tetrachloroethylene (TCE): a metal cleaning solvent
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE): a dry-cleaning solvent
- Vinyl chloride: TCE and PCE break down into vinyl chloride over time
- Benzene: A chemical used to manufacture plastics, resins, and other goods
The toxic water contamination originated from multiple sources. They included industrial spills, leaks from underground storage tanks and waste disposal sites near the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point Treatment Plants, and leaks from off-base dry cleaning facilities.
As toxic substances from those sources leached into the groundwater and spread through the aquifers, they contaminated the water pumped to the base.
Is the water at Camp Lejeune safe to drink now?
The Camp Lejeune water supply has been determined to be safe to drink. According to ATSDR, the two primary contamination sources—the treatment plants at Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point—have been shut down.
In 2007, the Marine Corps reported that “the water at Camp Lejeune is safe to drink today and has been since at least March 1987.”
Levin & Perconti: Experienced Attorneys Handling Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
If you or someone you love were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987, it’s essential to understand your legal rights and options.
The Camp Lejeune attorneys at Levin & Perconti are committed to fighting for the rights of water contamination victims. Our lawyers are available to answer your questions and help you understand your legal options. You can reach us 24-7 through our online form or call us at 877-374-1417 to schedule your free consultation.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.