Bladder cancer is one of the conditions linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination. If you were living at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1953 and December 1987, you were possibly exposed to toxins in the water supply that could have caused or contributed to a bladder cancer diagnosis.
If you or a family member had bladder cancer and meet the other qualifications, you could be able to get disability and/or health care coverage through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Laws currently being considered by Congress as of April 2022 may also make it possible to sue to recover additional damages such as lost wages, reduced quality of life, and much more.
What Was the Issue with the Camp Lejeune Water Supply?
For military members and their families who called Camp Lejeune home between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, contaminated water could be the cause of many health problems they are experiencing now. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), those affected served or lived at:
- Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina
- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina
The VA has listed several diagnoses as presumptive conditions for disability benefits for veterans stationed on these bases. Family members living on these bases who were exposed to the contaminated water may also be able to receive healthcare benefits for these health conditions. Presumptive conditions include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal toxicity
This issue occurred because two sources of water for these bases, open until at least 1985, were contaminated by leaking storage tanks on the base and an off-base local dry cleaning company. The water was found to contain:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other chemicals in high concentrations
Scientific research has proven that there is a tie between being exposed to water with these contaminants and developing the above conditions later in life.
Many People Blame the Marine Corps for Their Health Conditions
Service members and their families always thought the Marines would take care of them. They trusted them to keep them out of harm’s way while on base in North Carolina. They are now alleging that the Marine Corps knew about the contamination years before taking action.
Early on, the VA denied many disability claims, and veterans and their family members struggled to pay for their treatment and care linked to what are now presumptive conditions. On top of that, there are rules that prevent military members or veterans from suing the government and tight statutes of repose—the ultimate deadline for taking legal action.
Many of the health conditions linked to the contaminated water supply take years to develop, making it difficult or impossible for family members to sue based on what happened to them. While VA benefits are now available—offering disability and healthcare benefits for veterans as well as treatment reimbursement for family members—there has been no way to sue and recover damages as of April 2022. However, this could soon change.
Who Qualifies to Claim Benefits Through the VA?
According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), there may be almost one million people who drank, cooked with, bathed in, or otherwise had significant exposure to the contaminated water. These people can file a claim with the VA to get disability or healthcare support. You may qualify if:
- You lived at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
- You were there for at least 30 days.
- Your medical records document a diagnosis included on the current list of linked conditions or you previously received treatment for one of these conditions.
Getting Compensation for Your Bladder Cancer and Camp Lejeune Contamination
- A current disability
- An in-service injury or illness
- A link between their injury and the disability
However, the VA presumes an in-service injury for the diagnoses on the list above for veterans and their families who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River.
As of April 2022, lawsuits against the U.S. Marine Corps or other government agencies are still banned for Camp Lejeune cases. However, recent legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2022 could change this soon. The bill is currently in the U.S. Senate awaiting a vote.
Speak to a Team Member at Ben Crump Law, PLLC About Your Options Today
If you believe you or a loved one has a condition linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, you can speak to a team member from Ben Crump Law, PLLC about your options for free today. We provide free case reviews and handle lawsuits or VA disability appeals based on contingency. Connect with us today.