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 Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 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 have bladder cancer and meet the other qualifications, you might be able to get disability and/or health care coverage through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In August 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), part of the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, became law. The measure makes it possible for U.S. Marines and their families to sue the U.S. government for damages such as income, reduced quality of life, and others related to the illnesses they believe Camp Lejeune’s toxic water supply caused. A Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorney with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can help you pursue legal action or a VA benefits claim. Start with a free consultation today.
What Was the Issue With the Camp Lejeune Water Supply?
For military members and their families who called Camp Lejeune home between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 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
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. Learn more: symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Many People Blame the U.S. 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, 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 had been no way to sue and recover damages before CLJA became law in August 2022.
Who Qualifies to Claim Benefits Through 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 VA to get disability or healthcare support. You may qualify if:
- You lived at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 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 a Bladder Cancer Diagnosis Related to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
If you were stationed or lived at either of the affected Camp Lejeune sites for at least 30 days and have a bladder cancer diagnosis, you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation and/or healthcare from VA. In most cases, someone seeking disability benefits would need to show:
- A current disability
- An in-service injury or illness
- A link between their injury and the disability
However, 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.
If you receive awards for a bladder cancer illness related to the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune, they could help you cover the financial costs of the disease and compensate you for non-financial hardships, such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses for treating bladder cancer (past, present, and future care)
- Lost income and benefits because of not being able to work because of your illness
- Reduced and lost ability to earn income
- Pain and suffering (physical and mental)
- Reduced or lost quality of life
- Wrongful death awards if your loved one succumbed to bladder cancer that is related to their time at Camp Lejeune (e.g., the decedent’s medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and more
A Camp Lejeune bladder cancer attorney with our firm can review your situation and advise you on what damages you could pursue.
Statute of Limitations in Camp Lejeune Bladder Cancer Cases
Under the measure passed in August 2022, parties who wish to take legal action against the federal government for Camp Lejeune-related illnesses and losses generally have two years from the date the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was enacted. Once this limited window expires, you likely will not recover any damages for a bladder cancer illness or any other related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
We encourage you to reach out to us as soon as you can. Our Camp Lejeune attorney can manage your entire case from beginning to end, leaving you to focus on taking care of your health.
Our attorney can take care of many tasks for you, such as collecting evidence, like your military service record, which proves your stay at Camp Lejeune, and medical records, which can help show how your bladder cancer illness is linked to the military base’s toxic water. They also can identify all parties that may owe you awards and manage negotiation talks with them. We can prepare and file your lawsuit on time if we have enough time to do so.
Speak to a Team Member at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, About Your Camp Lejeune Bladder Cancer Lawsuit 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.