Seeking Justice for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Case Victims
Between 1953 and 1987, almost one million service family members and civilians who worked on base were exposed to contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. This contamination is considered one of the most severe cases of its kind in the history of the United States, and it has been associated with the development of cancer and various other illnesses in those affected.
Due to North Carolina’s statute of repose law, those who suffered damages as a result of the contamination have been unable to seek compensation. However, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) was passed into law in 2022, which now enables victims to file claims and get compensation for their damages.
The veterans who serve our country deserve our utmost respect and support, and it’s a disgrace that the government has waited this long to offer VA benefits to those who suffered due to Camp Lejeune’s water toxicity. If you or a loved one was harmed by the water supply at Camp Lejeune, you deserve justice. Contact our Camp Lejeune water contamination advocates today for a free, no-obligation case review.
Find Out More About Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Case
What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 permits individuals who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to file a claim in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. VA disability for Camp Lejeune water contamination is available to both veterans and family members, and individuals may pursue compensation in court even if they were previously denied benefits.
The bill specifies that potential plaintiffs will have two years from August 10, 2022, to file a claim or 180 days following notice of a claim denial. Two years may seem like a long time, but it goes faster than you think when you’re tied up in the claims process. Our advocacy group can help you understand your options and build your Camp Lejeune water contamination claim.
What Happened at Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune, located in Onslow County, North Carolina, is a Marine Corps base that provides services to Marines and serves as a training ground for various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the early 1980s, the Marine Corps began testing the water at Camp Lejeune to comply with new regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The results showed that the water was extremely toxic, with contamination levels significantly exceeding the safety standards. Nevertheless, officials decided to cover up the facts. They concealed the findings of the tests, including falsifying a report to the EPA in April 1983, stating that there were no contamination issues at the base.
As EPA oversight increased, the Marine Corps agreed to start shutting down the contaminated water wells. Unfortunately, this was too late for the hundreds of thousands of people who had already been exposed to the hazardous water between 1953-1987.
How Did Camp Lejeune Water Get Contaminated?
A mixture of chemical spills and leaks on and off the base resulted in contamination at the water treatment plants.
ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry-cleaning business located off-base, was one significant contributor to water contamination. This company disposed of wastewater containing dry-cleaning chemicals into drains, which were then released into soil and groundwater through the septic tank system on the property.
Although the dry cleaners were responsible for some of the contamination, there were likely other sources of pollution, including leaks from underground storage tanks and spills at industrial sites, according to the National Research Council. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimated that the concentrations of PCE in the water treatment plants’ drinking water exceeded the EPA’s maximum contaminant levels. The chemicals that seeped into the water supply are not intended for human consumption and have been linked to several serious health conditions.
What Toxins Were Found at Camp Lejeune?
Numerous pollutants were discovered in the Camp Lejeune water supply, including vinyl chloride and benzene. The primary contaminant at the Hadnot Point treatment plant was trichloroethylene (TCE), a colorless and odorless liquid chemical. The maximum safe level of TCE in drinking water is five parts per billion (PPB). The levels found at the Hadnot plant were as high as 1,400 PPB, which is 280 times greater than the maximum limit.
At the Tarawa Terrace water plant, perchloroethylene (PCE) was the most prevalent pollutant discovered. PCE is a colorless liquid chemical with a mild odor. In the water plant, PCE was found at levels as high as 215 PPB, which is 43 times higher than the maximum safe level of five PPB.
When Was the Water Contaminated at Camp Lejeune?
Here’s a timeline for the VA Camp Lejeune water contamination:
- 1952: Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant becomes operational, providing clean water to residents of Tarawa Terrace.
- 1953: Contamination begins in the Hadnot Point water system, affecting water distributed to residents. August 1, 1953, marks the start of the eligibility period under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
- 1957: Water processed through the Tarawa Terrace treatment and distribution system is estimated to have been contaminated.
- 1972: The Holcomb Boulevard water system begins operations, serving areas previously served by the Hadnot Point water system. Water from the Holcomb Boulevard system is generally considered safe but may have been supplemented by contaminated water from the Hadnot Point water system at times.
- 1980-1982: Water testing at Camp Lejeune reveals other chemicals in the water that interfere with results, and identifies trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) at levels above safe drinking water standards in the water supply of Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment facilities.
- 1982-1984: The Navy tests nearby drinking water wells for contaminants and identifies sites of potential contamination.
- 1985-1987: The federal government shuts down the most contaminated wells on Camp Lejeune by 1985, but it takes until the end of 1987 for the water to be completely safe. December 31, 1987, marks the end of the eligibility period under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
How Long Do I Have To File a Camp Lejeune Water Claim?
The government can now be sued for compensation by U.S. veterans, family members, civilians, and those in utero who used the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, signed on August 10th, 2022, permits people who meet certain eligibility requirements to file Camp Lejeune water claims.
This law allows affected individuals two years from the date of enactment to file their Camp Lejeune claims. Additionally, veterans and their family members who meet certain criteria may be eligible for health care or VA benefits for Camp Lejeune water.
What Illnesses Have Been Linked to the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
At contamination levels that high, it is no wonder that people developed serious medical conditions. The toxins found in the Camp Lejeune water supply have been linked to a wide array of health concerns, including cancers, neurological disorders, and birth defects. The illnesses linked to these chemicals include:
What Are the Symptoms of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The EPA reports that TCEs can impact the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as acute and chronic headaches, dizziness, confusion, facial numbness, weakness, and feelings of euphoria. People exposed to PCEs for extended periods may experience changes in memory, mood, attention, reaction time, and/or vision. TCEs and PCEs also increase the risk of several cancers, including kidney, liver, prostate, colon, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin’s disease, and more. Pregnant women exposed to TCEs are at risk for birth defects and miscarriages.
Drinking fluids containing high levels of benzene can lead to immediate effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, confusion, headaches, or unconsciousness. Long-term exposure to benzene can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia, irregular menstrual periods, and a decrease in ovary size in women. Consistent and long-term exposure to benzene can also have harmful effects on the bone marrow, potentially leading to forms of leukemia.
Exposure to vinyl chloride is associated with permanent liver damage, as well as lung and liver cancers. It may also cause changes to the skin and bones in the hands.
Furthermore, studies have linked contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to neurobehavioral effects, including poor memory and concentration, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, fatigue, and motor problems.
Who Is Eligible to File a Claim for Compensation?
You may be eligible for disability compensation payments if you meet all of these requirements. These requirements apply to veterans, reservists, and National Guard members, and include:
- You served, lived (family members), worked on base, or were in utero at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, North Carolina, for at least 30 days total between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
Additionally, you must have a diagnosis of one or more of these presumptive conditions:
How To File a Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
You now have multiple options for filing a disability compensation claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The easiest way to file your Camp Lejeune water contamination claim is to contact the experts at Disabled Vets. Our Camp Lejeune water contamination advocates can assist you through every step of the claims process.
Here are a few ways you can go about filing your Camp Lejeune water contamination case:
- Online: You can file your claim online right now by accessing the Disability Compensation page on the VA website.
- By mail: You can also file your claim by mail using the Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ). To do so, you can download VA Form 21-526EZ from the VA website, print it out, fill it in, and mail it to the Claims Intake Center at the following address:
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Claims Intake Center
- PO Box 4444
- Janesville, WI 53547-4444
- In person: If you prefer to submit your claim in person, you can bring your completed application to a VA regional office near you. To find a regional office, you can use the VA’s facility locator tool.
The claims process can be complex and difficult to deal with, especially if you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating disability. When you hire our Camp Lejeune water contamination advocates, you get a trusted partner to defend you every step of the way. You deserve nothing less than the best representation!
What Is the Average Settlement for Camp Lejeune VA Claims?
The estimated settlement payouts for victims of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune are around $6.7 billion in total. However, the amount an individual may receive as compensation depends on the severity of their illness. Typically, those diagnosed with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or other severe illnesses will receive a larger sum of money than those with less serious health problems.
Do I Need a Camp Lejeune Claims Advocate?
Yes, you should hire an advocate to file a claim for compensation related to illnesses caused by exposure to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water. Unfortunately, obtaining compensation is not a straightforward process and requires navigating a complex legal system. The government’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing does not guarantee easy access to compensation for those who have suffered harm.
Filing documents in the correct format and meeting specific deadlines are crucial, and a lack of knowledge in these areas could result in being prevented from filing a claim altogether. However, our Camp Lejeune claim advocates are here to assist you in this difficult process, and we have the expertise to ensure your claim is successful.
Our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Advocates Are Ready to Serve Your Case
If you were harmed by the water supply at Camp Lejeune, it’s time to get the justice you deserve.
No amount of money can atone for disabilities caused by this disaster, but it’s worth speaking to a Camp Lejeune water contamination advocate to recover the benefits you need. Our advocacy group at Disabled Vets knows the difficulties that Camp Lejeune victims have been dealing with for decades. We can help you prepare your case and file a Camp Lejeune water claim as quickly as possible.
Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to get started with a free Camp Lejeune case review today. We’ll ensure everything is in order to get your claim filed and finally get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review today!