From the early 1950s to the mid-1980s, hundreds of thousands of U.S. Marine Corps service members and their families were exposed to toxic tap water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. This water contained chemicals later linked to the development of breast cancer and many other diseases.
If you or a family member was exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or longer between 1953 and 1987 and developed breast cancer, you might be eligible for compensation for your losses. In addition, you may soon be allowed to pursue legal action against the U.S. government for your losses. Ben Crump Law, PLLC, is ready to discuss how we can assist you with a potential Camp Lejeune lawsuit or VA benefits claim.
What Caused Tap Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
When a dry-cleaning company near Camp Lejeune introduced chemicals into the base’s water supply, the water became toxic and hazardous to ingest, bathe in, or use. As a result, service members and their families were exposed to these chemicals without their knowledge.
The two main volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contributed to the water contamination at the base were perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). These chemical solvents were found in concentrations up to thousands of times more than those allowed by safety standards. What’s more, there has been a correlation between PCE and TCE exposure and several forms of cancer and other severe health conditions.
If Your Health Was Impacted at Camp Lejeune, Can You File a Lawsuit?
President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) into law in August 2022. The legislation allows former Marine base residents, including service members and their families, the right to pursue legal actions and restitution from the U.S. government for the harm Camp Lejeune’s toxic water supply caused. Claimants must have been exposed to the contaminated water for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.
Why is this important? As a general rule, the U.S. government is not considered liable for injuries to service members. Those eligible would now have a two-year timeframe from the legislation’s enactment date to file a lawsuit.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, seeks to represent individuals who experienced harm from water contamination on the Camp LeJeune military base. We believe that after decades of suffering, the victims of this long-lasting miscarriage of justice should receive compensation for their losses.
Can Contaminated Water Cause Breast Cancer?
Many factors may impact a person’s likelihood of developing breast cancer. In addition to everyday toxic chemical exposure, these include age, genetic predisposition, and lifestyle risks such as being overweight or drinking alcohol, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the level of risk caused by pollutants is not easy to determine. It often depends on the duration and degree of a person’s exposure and the contaminant’s unique properties.
According to Environmental Health, “epidemiological studies provide evidence for associations between adult PCE exposure and bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma, and possibly cervical, esophageal, kidney, lung, liver and breast cancer.”
Additionally, a case-control study of male breast cancer among Marines revealed that high cumulative exposures to TCE and PCE at Camp Lejeune were associated with earlier onset age for male breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Breast cancer is a potentially devastating condition affecting hundreds of thousands of women annually. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it is one of the most common cancers among U.S. women, accounting for around 30% of all new female cancers discovered each year. In addition, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. In fact, it is projected that in 2022, more than 43,000 women will die from this disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and believe that exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune contributed to your condition, we want to hear from you as soon as possible. We can explain how to file a case with VA or U.S. Government.
Do You Qualify for Healthcare Benefits for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The U.S. Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. Per this legislation, active-duty veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 and their families are eligible for hospital and medical care related to a qualifying condition through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to breast cancer, victims of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune have developed several other cancers that can qualify for health benefits, such as those involving the esophagus, kidney, lung, and bladder. Other eligible cancers and conditions include the following:
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
According to VA, claims are decided on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, veterans potentially experiencing Camp Lejeune water contamination-related health conditions not listed here are encouraged to contact their health provider and file a claim.
Applying for Health Benefits if You Were Exposed to Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune
If you are a veteran or active-duty service member, you can get more information on eligibility and how to apply for VA healthcare benefits at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
If you are a family member of a Veteran stationed at Camp Lejeune who was affected by contaminated water, you can apply for health benefits using Form 10-10068.
If you need help filing a claim or an appeal if VA has already denied you, a lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can help you file an appeal and represent you throughout the legal proceedings.
What Kinds of Health Benefits Are Available for Camp Lejeune Breast Cancer Survivors?
People who believe the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune caused their breast cancer can file for benefits that cover their illness-related expenses. This includes Marines, their families, and anyone who can show they spent time at the Marine base between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.
These benefits can cover:
- Medical and rehabilitation costs, including emergency and ongoing care
- Lost income and other earnings
- Lost work benefits
- Reduced or lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering (physical and mental)
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death damages (if your family member died from breast cancer after spending time at Camp Lejeune for the specified period)
How an Attorney Can Help With a Camp Lejeune Benefits Claim or CLJA Lawsuit
People who have a Camp Lejeune claim or lawsuit may find it challenging to seek the awards they are due because they are busy taking care of themselves and their illnesses. A personal injury attorney can make the process manageable, protecting their rights and interests as they seek fair compensation for their clients.
An attorney with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can take on your case and show how a breast cancer diagnosis is related to the time spent at Camp Lejeune based on the evidence. If you hire our attorney to represent you, they can:
- Collect the evidence that links the illness to service or visitation at Camp Lejeune (e.g., military service record that shows the time spent at the base, medical records, witness statements)
- Name all potentially liable parties responsible for the base’s toxic water supply
- Review your damages and determine how much you could receive in awards for your Camp Lejeune-related breast cancer
- Take care of all communications with all parties in your case, including insurers
- Prepare and file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations if necessary
Our Camp Lejeune breast cancer attorney will take care of your entire case from start to finish.
We can also help if you want to seek awards on behalf of a loved one who died from breast cancer after their time at Camp Lejeune. Wrongful death awards could compensate you for your loved one’s:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Fees for their final arrangements, such as their funeral and burial services
We can advise you further on wrongful death benefits and if you or your family are eligible to pursue them during a free consultation today. We encourage you to reach out to us as soon as you can because, as noted earlier, the statute of limitations deadline for Camp Lejeune lawsuits under the CLJA Act of 2022 is generally two years from the date the law took effect.
Consult Our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney Today
Ben Crump is a nationally recognized trial and civil rights attorney dedicated to justice and serving those who need fierce advocacy. From helping individuals file claims with the VA to initiating class action lawsuits, he has established himself as one of the country’s most prominent and well-respected lawyers and champions of social justice.
If you or a loved one has developed breast cancer or another illness from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we can help. Please contact us today for a free consultation and to speak to one of our team members. We will fight for the justice you deserve.