How Long Do Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims Take
Camp Lejeune water contamination is a long-standing issue recently gaining more attention. For decades, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with toxic chemicals that led to serious health problems for many of its residents – including cancer. In 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Camp Lejeune Act, which provides medical services and compensation to those affected by water contamination.
Despite this progress, many victims still struggle to get the necessary help and health care. Have you or a loved one been affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune? The personal injury lawyers at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, advocate for veterans, service members and their family members, contractors, civil servants, and others hurt while at Camp Lejeune.
Contact our premises liability lawyers today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
The Long History of Legal Problem of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
In the early 1950s, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina became home to one of the United States’ largest bases for the Marines. For over thirty years, family housing and people worked on the base, bathing and drinking water from the same supply. In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered that two of the eight water distribution systems on base were contaminated.
In 2008, however, allegations surfaced that the base’s water had been contaminated with toxic chemicals for decades.
Numerous studies revealed that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). These chemicals cause severe health conditions, including bladder cancer, birth defects, and other serious illnesses.
Marine Corps Base Off-Site Contaminants
The water contamination at Camp Lejeune results from negligence on behalf of off-base dry cleaners and bad waste disposal practices leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites.
Hadnot Point Plant
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports that in the 1970s, contaminated drinking water from the Hadnot Point plant was sometimes used to augment Holcomb Boulevard’s drinking water supply.
After March 1987, Holcomb Boulevard served Tarawa Terrace family housing as well as:
- Berkeley Manor
- Midway Park
- Paradise Point
- Watkins Village
- Hospital Point family housing
The other five water distribution systems at Camp Lejeune were not contaminated, according to the ATSDR.
Since the contamination was first made public, many Marine Corps veterans and their families have sought compensation from the government at a federal level. The Department of Veterans Affairs has acknowledged that exposure to the contaminated water at the Marine Corps base may be responsible for several health concerns and has begun providing disability VA benefits to eligible veterans.
However, many family members of veterans are still waiting for justice. North Carolina law allows the victims of water contamination to seek compensation for their injuries, but the process can be long and complicated. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options if the contamination affects you or a loved one.
The history of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is long and complex. If you believe the contaminated water may have harmed you or a loved one, it is crucial to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and options under the law.
What Chemicals and Toxins Contaminated the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS)?
For years, the federal government knowingly exposed tens of thousands of military personnel and their families to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The water was contaminated with toxic chemicals, including:
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate quickly at room temperature. The compounds can cause health problems when people are exposed to them over a long time. These chemicals cause cancer, birth deformity, and other health concerns.
Some common VOCs include:
Vinyl chloride is a chemical used to manufacture PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. It is also found in some solvents and adhesives. Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause liver damage, cancer, and other health problems.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a solvent used in many industries, including aerospace. It is also used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing. Exposure to TCE can cause kidney damage, liver damage, cancer, and other health problems.
Perchloroethylene (PCE) is a solvent used in the dry cleaning industry. It is also used in the aerospace and electronics industries. Exposure to PCE can cause liver damage, kidney damage, cancer, and other health problems.
These chemicals contaminated the water supply at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 years. As a result, tens of thousands of people were exposed to these harmful chemicals.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Victims’ Legal Rights
If you are a victim of water contamination at Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to certain benefits and compensation from the federal government. The Marine Base at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with harmful chemicals for many years, which led to severe health conditions for many of the base’s residents.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 provides a legal remedy to those exposed to water contamination at the base and diagnosed with certain exposure-related conditions from bathing and drinking water. The deadline for filing claims is two years after they are notified by law enforcement or government officials that their illness may be related or directly caused by this incident.
The federal Act supersedes state law. The North Carolina statute of repose (N.C.G.S. § 1-52(16)) restricted injured victims from filing lawsuits for serious injuries caused by water contamination in a district court.
In addition, it allows those interested in pursuing an action against private parties (such lawsuits) and federal agencies like OSHA because employers should take responsibility when workers show signs/ symptoms of exposure to known or reasonably foreseeable hazardous materials.
The Law Provides for Two Types Of Benefits: Medical And Disability
- Medical benefits are available to those diagnosed with one of the following conditions: cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney disease, liver disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, or aplastic anemia. These benefits include coverage of all future medical expenses related to the condition.
- Disability benefits are available to those unable to work because of exposure-related illness. These benefits are based on the level of disability and range from $40,000 to $50,000 per year.
Family members of those who died due to their exposure are also eligible for certain benefits, including a lump sum payment of $1 million.
If you or a loved one were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, it is essential to seek legal advice to learn about your rights and options under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and North Carolina law as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and pursue compensation for what you have been through.
Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Causes of Illnesses and Medical Conditions
Many illnesses and medical conditions are caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and the development of certain diseases later. Some of these include cancer, birth defects, and neurological problems.
Doctors did not diagnose many of these conditions until decades after their patients were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River. Some of the illnesses, cancers, defects, and medical conditions include:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Hepatitis C
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes, including aplastic anemia
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
These illnesses and conditions can be devastating for those suffering. They can lead to a lifetime of medical bills and pain. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with one of these conditions, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the VA.
The Limited Time You Have to File a Compensation Claim
You have two years from the date you are notified by law enforcement or government officials that your illness may be related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune to file a claim.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 allows those exposed to water contamination at the base and diagnosed with certain exposure-related conditions to file a claim.
What You Need to Do to File a Claim
To file a claim, you must provide documentation of your exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. It can include records of your time at the base, medical records, and any other relevant documentation. An experienced attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
You will also need to prove that you have been diagnosed with one of the following conditions: cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney disease, liver disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, or aplastic anemia.
How Long a Class-Action Settlement Will Take to Resolve Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
It is difficult to estimate how long it will take to resolve the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits through a class-action settlement. However, given the complexity of the litigation and the number of plaintiffs involved, it is likely that the process will take several years. In addition, the parties will need to agree on the settlement’s terms, which could also be prolonged.
Claims made under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will be handled like a personal injury mass tort and consolidated in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Likely, most claims will be resolved in MDL (Multidistrict Litigation) courts after bellwether trials have concluded.
The courts order bellwether trials to help the parties gauge how juries might respond to specific evidence and testimony common to all the cases. The outcomes of bellwether trials are not binding on other plaintiffs, but they can be persuasive. If the defendants lose several bellwether trials in a row, they may be more likely to settle the cases rather than risk losing at trial.
Contact our attorneys for a free case review, and we will explain the process step-by-step and answer all questions you may have on the issue.
What is the Process for Filing a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit is similar to other toxic tort litigation. Plaintiffs must file a claim with the federal government, which will then be forwarded to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The VA will review the claim and determine whether the plaintiff is eligible for benefits. If the VA finds that the plaintiff is eligible for benefits, they will provide the necessary forms and instructions for how to file a lawsuit. Plaintiffs can also choose to file their case in state court.
Potential Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Some of the potential damages that can be recovered in a water contamination lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death damages (for survivors of deceased victims)
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
You are not required to have an attorney to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. However, toxic tort litigation is complex and often requires the assistance of legal counsel. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and seeking damages from the responsible parties after they perform a free legal consultation to discuss your case.
In addition, an attorney can also help you recover other types of compensation that may be available, such as punitive damages. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an attorney if you or a loved one has been exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
How Our Injury Lawyer Team Can Help Get the Benefits You Deserve
The experienced attorneys at Injury Lawyer Team are dedicated to helping victims of toxic exposures seek justice. We have successfully represented many clients in water contamination lawsuits and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on their behalf.
Were you or a loved one exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune? Did you develop a medical condition or be diagnosed with cancer due to exposure to toxins and chemicals at the Marine Corps Base?
Let us help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today for a free case review.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures you pay nothing until we resolve your case through a negotiated settlement or jury awards.