camp lejeune water contamination

Were you or a loved one affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune? If so, you deserve justice and fair compensation for your suffering.

Gregg M. Goldfarb, LLP understands the gravity of the health issues you could be facing. We’re here to help you secure the necessary resources for your medical care and related losses. Our firm partners with experienced attorneys who have proven track records of success handling complex cases like Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims.

Don’t face this challenging legal undertaking alone. Reach out to Gregg M. Goldfarb, LLP for a free initial consultation session today. You’ll learn how a lawyer can help pursue the compensation you deserve in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.

What Is a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

This is a legal action by a veteran, military family member, or other person exposed to contaminated water at this North Carolina military base. This type of lawsuit, which is known as a mass tort, seeks compensation for various health conditions linked to exposure to toxic substances in the base’s water supply, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 gives affected parties two years to file new lawsuits. These lawsuits aim to provide financial relief for medical expenses and other losses linked to contaminated water exposure.

129,158 claims have been filed with the Navy and 1,419 lawsuits have been filed in Federal Court, as of the last status report that was filed by the attorneys on November 14, 2023.

What Caused the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a North Carolina Marine Corps base, was an environmental health disaster that unfolded over several decades, from 1953 through 1987. The water poisoning came from a variety of hazardous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. These toxic substances entered the base’s drinking water supply from various sources of pollution.

One primary source was leaking underground storage tanks nearby that held gasoline and other petroleum-based products. Improper disposal of industrial solvents used in vehicle maintenance and other base activities also contaminated the groundwater. In some instances, waste was simply dumped on the ground or in ditches, allowing the chemicals to seep into the soil and eventually the water table. Another significant source was off-base dry-cleaning facilities, which contributed particularly to the PCE contamination.

Military personnel, their families, and civilian employees at Camp Lejeune used water from these contaminated sources for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other everyday activities. The affected wells remained open until the mid-1980s after numerous people were exposed to these hazardous chemicals for years. The long-term health effects have been staggering, contributing to various illnesses, including cancers, birth defects, and other serious conditions.

What Illnesses Have Been Connected to Camp Lejeune’s Contaminated Water?

These 15 health conditions have been linked to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune. If you have any of the following illnesses and can prove you meet certain criteria for living or working at the base, you could qualify for medical coverage:

  • Bladder Cancer – A type of cancer beginning in the cells lining the bladder
  • Breast Cancer – A cancer that originates in the breast tissue
  • Esophageal Cancer – A malignancy that starts in the lining of the esophagus
  • Female Infertility – The inability to conceive due to hormonal imbalances or other factors
  • Hepatic Steatosis – The accumulation of fat cells in the liver, often leading to liver dysfunction
  • Kidney Cancer – A form of cancer that begins in the kidneys
  • Leukemia – Cancer that originates in the bone marrow and increases white blood cell counts
  • Lung Cancer – A cancer that starts in the lungs, sometimes due to environmental factors
  • Miscarriage – Spontaneous pregnancy loss before the 20th week
  • Multiple Myeloma – A cancer affecting plasma cells in the bone marrow
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes – A class of disorders caused by dysfunctional blood cells
  • Neurobehavioral Effects – Manifestations affecting mental functioning or behavior
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – A cancer originating in the lymphatic system
  • Renal Toxicity – Adverse effects on the kidneys due to exposure to harmful substances
  • Scleroderma – A chronic autoimmune condition causing connective tissues to harden and tighten

Who Can Sue for Injuries Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is part of the broader Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, which President Biden signed into law on August 10, 2022. Under this law, certain individuals can file claims if they were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Specifically, this legal provision applies to veterans, reservists, and National Guard members stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Veterans are entitled to medical coverage for designated health conditions if they served at least 30 days on active duty at Camp Lejeune during this time.

Family members who lived at the base during this same time frame (or were in utero while their mothers lived there) also may qualify. The Camp Lejeune Family Member Program reimburses out-of-pocket medical expenses for those who resided on base for at least 30 days during the designated period and developed a recognized condition.

In September 2023, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Justice announced an initiative that would expedite financial settlements for veterans and their families who were victims of Camp Lejeune’s toxic water. These settlements would range from $100,000 to $550,000, but they would only cover specific medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, and leukemia. Anyone else who does not fit these criteria may still pursue civil claims against the government for compensation.

Do You Need Documentation of Your Medical Conditions?

Yes. To qualify for VA benefits as a veteran under the Camp Lejeune Just Act, you must provide certain documentation supporting your toxic water claim. For disability compensation, you must meet three criteria:

  • You served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
  • You received an honorable discharge or an other than dishonorable discharge.
  • You have a diagnosis of a presumptive condition like adult leukemia or bladder cancer.

When filing a claim, you’ll need your military records to confirm your service period and medical records to prove your diagnosis of a presumptive condition.

To qualify for benefits as a family member, you must prove your relationship to the eligible veteran with documents like marriage licenses or birth certificates. You’ll also need evidence, such as utility bills or base housing records, to confirm when you lived at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River. Finally, you’ll need medical records demonstrating you have one of the 15 covered conditions.

While not mandatory, you can also support your claim with a report from your healthcare provider. If possible, have them fill out a VA Form 10-10068b on your behalf and submit it with your application.

What Forms of Compensation Are Available for a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Claim?

Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, individuals exposed to contaminated water while living or serving at Camp Lejeune could be entitled to various forms of compensation. This compensation aims to provide financial relief for medical expenses and other losses resulting from health conditions linked to the contamination. Here are some possible types of compensable losses:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Future medical costs
  • Long-term disability
  • Travel costs for medical care
  • Long-term care expenses

Any court-awarded financial relief will be reduced by the amount of VA benefits, disability awards, or payments you have already received in relation to your Camp Lejeune water exposure. Similarly, your award must also be offset by any Medicare or Medicaid benefits you’re receiving. Therefore, it’s wise for you or your lawyer to consult with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to fully understand the implications for your benefits under those programs.

Is There a Time Limit to File a Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim?

Yes, there is a specific timeframe within which you must file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Before taking any legal action, such as filing a lawsuit, you must submit an administrative claim to the Department of the Navy. If the Navy denies your claim, only then can you proceed with a federal lawsuit in North Carolina.

The deadline for you or your attorney file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit depends on the timing of your water contamination-related illness. If your condition manifested on or before August 10, 2022, you have until August 10, 2024, to file your lawsuit. However, if the Navy denies your administrative claim, you also have the option to sue within 180 days following that denial, even if this period extends beyond August 10, 2024.

How Can an Attorney Help with the Lawsuit?

If you’re considering filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a legal professional can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. A lawyer with experience in this area can guide you through every stage of the claims process, ensuring you don’t miss any deadlines and that your case is as strong as possible. They can also help you by:

  • Reviewing your military and medical records for eligibility
  • Identifying medical evidence linking your health condition to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune
  • Preparing and submitting your administrative claim to the Department of the Navy
  • Communicating and negotiating with the Department of the Navy on your behalf
  • Filing a federal lawsuit on your behalf if your administrative claim is denied
  • Calculating the full value of your compensable losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages
  • Advising you on how your compensation award could affect your other government benefits
  • Advising you on the potential tax implications of any compensation you receive

Contact a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Attorney Today

Act now to secure the best possible outcome for your Camp Lejeune toxic water claim. Contact Gregg M. Goldfarb, LLP for a free consultation, and let us connect you with the legal representation you deserve. Hablamos español.