According to the United States Veterans Administration, there are more than 400,000 disability claims in an appeal from Marines who were harmed by toxic exposure after being stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Suppose you are a Marine suffering after being diagnosed with a serious or deadly condition at this North Carolina base. In that case, you are far from alone—and a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer can help.
If you or a loved one have cancer or another illness from exposure to toxic water, we can help. Our legal team isn’t afraid to take on the VA to ensure your rights are protected and upheld. Ben Crump is a nationally recognized trial attorney with a reputation for seeing that justice is served in class action lawsuits—even if it means going up against our nation’s largest institutions.
Helping Veterans Exposed to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
Individuals present at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s were exposed to chemicals in the drinking water from Hadnot Point that caused serious illnesses and diseases. These toxic chemicals were present in both residential areas and training facilities.
If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune during this period and developed diseases associated with the toxic chemicals in the drinking water, you may be eligible for significant compensation. Please speak with the attorneys at Ben Crump Law today to discuss how we can help with your water contamination claim.
How to Get Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Benefits
The United States Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act in 2012. The law automatically allows veterans and family members exposed to toxic substances to qualify for benefits while on base from the Hadnot Point water supply.
There are some requirements to qualify for compensation under this legislation, however. Like all benefits that come through the Department of Veterans Affairs, you must show that…
- You were on active duty during the specified period (1953 to 1987).
- You and your family must have been stationed in Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days.
- You must have a qualifying condition.
If you can prove those elements, your claim should be approved, and you should be able to receive healthcare benefits to cover the costs of medical care you have received due to these injuries.
How Much You Can Get in a Camp Lejeune Contamination Settlement
There are two types of compensation victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination can receive. The first is monthly compensation. This can go as high as $3,000 a month if you have a 100% disability rating. How much you will be entitled will depend on your disability rating and other factors.
The second type of compensation you can receive is Special Monthly Compensation. This extra compensation may be available in select cases involving the most serious disabilities.
Why You Need a Class Action Lawyer for Your Claim
Your benefits could be denied for several reasons. Usually, the issue is that your application fails to include proper evidence of the necessary elements listed above. However, many claims are denied solely because of improper formatting or failure to use the correct forms.
However, If you have applied and your application was denied, don’t lose hope. A Ben Crump Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer can help you file an appeal and increase your chances of being approved.
Conditions That Qualify for VA Toxic Exposure Healthcare Benefits
Some of the conditions victims of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune have developed that qualify for healthcare benefits include:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Live Cancer
- Lung cancer
- Cardiac Defects
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Brain cancer
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Cervical Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
Please note that these are different conditions than the ones considered “presumed disabilities” by the VA. Benefits for Camp Lejeune water contamination fall under their own category.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination FAQs
- What caused the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?
- What were the effects of the Camp Lejeune contamination?
- What Was in the Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune?
What Caused the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
When chemicals from a dry cleaning company near the military base at Hadnot Point were introduced into the water supply at 240 to 3,400 times the levels considered safe, the water on the base became toxic and dangerous to use.
According to the Agency For Toxic Substance Diseases and Disease Registry (ATSDSD), specific volatile organic compounds and other toxic chemicals were detected in two out of eight water supply systems at the water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune’s Marine Corps Base.
Service members and their families were harmed when they drank and bathed in the contaminated water.
What Were the Effects of the Camp Lejeune Contamination?
The effects were devastating when service members and their families were exposed to toxic substances in the water they were ingesting and bathing. Some of the conditions many would later go on to be diagnosed with include cancer of the kidneys, bladder, and liver and adult leukemia. Many were also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
What Was in the Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune?
There were two main volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were found to have contributed to the contamination injuries: trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). TCE and PCE are dry cleaning solvents and degreasers linked to cancers, including Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Who Can Get Benefits for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Any service member or members of their family who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and developed a qualifying condition can file for benefits. There have been cases where spouses and children of Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune became ill and died due to toxic water exposure. Injured parties at Camp Lejeune include:
- Naval personnel
- Civilian workers
One example of the damage that was done by Camp Lejeune contamination is Janey, a girl who grew up on the base and died of cancer at age nine. The Janey Ensminger Act, named after the young victim and passed in 2012, is one of several measures the government has passed since the link between these illnesses and the contamination was established.
If you believe you or a loved one qualifies for benefits, but your benefits were denied, it may be time to seek the help of a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer at Ben Crump. If we review your claim and determine that you qualify for benefits, we will fight to get you the compensation you need to cover your expenses.
5 Requirements to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
The deadline to file a federal lawsuit over alleged health problems caused by drinking contaminated water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina passed without a single person taking action against the government. The deadline to file a federal suit over alleged health problems caused by drinking contaminated water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corp base in North Carolina passed without one person taking action against the Government.
There are five requirements to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit:
- You must have lived or worked within the area where the contaminated water originated.
- You must show that you suffered some type of illness or disease from exposure to the contaminated water.
- You must provide evidence that the illness or disease was caused by exposure to the contaminated water and not something else.
- You must file a complaint with the Department of Veterans Affairs within six years of exposure to the contaminated water, or you risk losing your ability to sue.
- You must pay all legal fees associated with the case.
Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune During the Relevant Time Period
The U.S. government has been accused of covering up evidence related to toxic contamination at Camp Lejeune. A report published by the Center for Public Integrity found that nearly 4,000 Marines and sailors were exposed to dangerous chemicals while serving at the base during the 1970s and 1980s. These contaminants included perchlorate, trichloroethylene (TCE), dioxins, and lead.
In response, the federal government announced it would pay out $2 million to those impacted by the contaminated water. This money will come from the Treasury Department’s Disaster Relief Fund. However, claims must be submitted within six months of the settlement’s final date. If you believe you are eligible, you can file a claim here.
If you cannot submit a claim because you served at Camp Lejeune before January 1, 2018, you may still be able to receive benefits under the Military Longevity Pay Act of 2017. Under this act, veterans who served 20 years or more are entitled to a monthly pension equal to 2% of their basic pay.
Cancer or Other Verified Medical Condition Linked to Contaminated Drinking Water Exposure
In June 2018, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation allowing residents of North Carolina to sue the federal government over alleged health problems related to drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, N.C., during the 1970s and 1980s. The law, known as House Bill 551, went into effect on July 1, 2022.
The bill allows anyone who believes they had cancer or another verified medical condition linked to exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune to file a lawsuit against the federal government within three years of the date they learned about the potential connection.
There are many different kinds of cancer that could be associated with the contaminated water at Camp LeJeune. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the most common types of cancer include leukemia, brain tumors, thyroid cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and lymphoma.
A person must prove that he or she developed one of those conditions from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. A plaintiff cannot recover damages unless it is proven that his or her illness was caused by contaminated water.
Filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
The deadline to file claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 passed without a single person filing suit against the government over alleged health problems related to exposure to toxic chemicals at the Marine Corps base in North Carolina.
Filing in the U. S. District Court for the Easton District of North Carolina
According to the law, claims must be filed within three years of the date of discovery or occurrence, giving rise to the cause of action, whichever occurs later. However, the statute provides that no such action shall be commenced more than 10 years after the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of the cause of the injury or death for which damages are sought.
Claims Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 Will Be Heard In the United States District Court For The Eastern District Of North Carolina
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, the court will hear claims under the act in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Filing Within Two Years Is Required (In Most Cases)
The federal government enacted the Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, commonly known as the Clean Water Act, on December 31, 1972. This law requires plaintiffs to file civil suits under the act within two years of the alleged violation or violations. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the plaintiff knew about the violation before the expiration of the two-year period, then the filing deadline is extended to three years. If the plaintiff did not know about the violation two years ago, the filing deadline remains at two years.
However, even if a claim is dismissed because it was filed outside the two-year window, the plaintiff can refile the case within six months of the dismissal. Therefore, if you believe that your property has been damaged by toxic waste, you must file suit within two years of the occurrence. If you fail to do so, you risk losing your ability to sue over the matter.
Meeting the Burden of Proof
To prove causation, claimants must demonstrate a causal connection between the contaminated water and their disease. This requires providing sufficient evidence to show a causal link between exposure to contaminated water during active duty service and the development of specific diseases.
There are several different types of evidence that can be used to establish causation. These include epidemiological studies, animal testing, and clinical trials.
In addition to proving causation, claimants must also show that their illness occurred within a specified period following their discharge from active duty. For example, veterans diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease must file claims for benefits no later than 10 years after their discharge.
The Veterans Affairs Department has set up a system called the Compensation Decision Review Officer System (CDROS). CDROS provides a process for reviewing decisions regarding disability compensation. This is the office you will need to submit medical evidence to.
CDROS reviews each claim individually and makes recommendations based on the information submitted by the claimant and the VA medical examiner. If the veteran disagrees with the recommendation, he or she has 30 days to appeal the decision.
If the veteran does not agree with the decision, he or she may submit additional evidence to support his or her case. Once all appeals have been exhausted, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs makes the final determination.
How to Get Benefits for Water Contamination Injuries as a Family Member
Getting your deserved benefits starts by completing. You also need to show evidence that you qualify under the existing law. This can include VA Form 10-10068: Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Application.
- Legal documentation that you are a veteran’s dependent (i.e., marriage or birth certificate)
- Evidence of your residency at the base between 1953 and 1987 (this can include tax forms, military orders, housing records from the base, etc.)
- VA Form 10-10068b: Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Treating Physician Report (your doctor must complete this)
In addition, you need to prove that you have medical expenses and adverse health conditions associated with a qualifying condition. Usually, this means you must show medical records for the following dates.
- If you lived at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1956, you can have your medical expenses reimbursed for costs you paid on or after December 16, 2014.
- If you lived on base between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987, you could get compensation for out-of-pocket medical costs from August 6, 2012, until today.
Get Help From a Camp Lejeune Contamination Lawyer
If you are having difficulty getting approved for benefits after being injured by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, reach out to the team at Ben Crump, PLLC. You can speak to a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer who will fight tirelessly to ensure you get the help and respect you deserve.
If you are suffering after your diagnosis, don’t lose hope. We aren’t afraid to take on big governmental agencies to make sure justice is served. There is never a charge to talk to us, and we are happy to answer any questions you have.