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Bad Water at Camp Lejeune

Between 1953 and 1987, almost a million military personnel, civilian workers, and their families were stationed at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps training base in North Carolina. Little did they know that during their time at the camp, they were exposed to contaminated water, which would later bring them serious health conditions. 

Since then, the United States government, through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has taken steps to make rectifications, starting with benefits to compensate for some of the illnesses caused by the toxic exposure. However, because filing lawsuits against the U.S. government for the incident–even with a Camp Lejeune settlement lawyer–is still prohibited, Camp Lejeune victims have yet to get the justice they deserve.

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Established in 1941, Camp Lejeune is a military base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, that houses members of the military and their families. In 1982, it was discovered that two water systems that service the area, the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point treatment plants, were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including more than seventy health-hazardous chemicals.

Among the most prevalent and hazardous contaminants found in Camp Lejeune toxic water are trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, toluene, and vinyl chloride. The contamination affected almost a million veterans and their families, who have experienced various serious health effects.

The Effects of the Camp Lejeune Contamination

It’s been found that the medical issues developed among former residents of Camp Lejeune could be associated with the contaminated water in the area. Those affected reported serious health issues, and some even died as a result. Some of the health problems related to the camp’s bad water include:

  • Cancer (bladder, breast, esophageal, kidney, stomach, and lung)
  • Female infertility
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Leukemia
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

How Are Camp Lejeune Victims Being Compensated?

The U.S. government has recognized that veterans and their families, as well as other civilian workers stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987, were negatively affected by the contaminated water at the camp. As a result, it has introduced legislative measures to compensate the victims, primarily through the Janey Ensminger Act and the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. These two existing laws do not allow affected persons to file claims for damages in connection with the incident, but the Camp Lejeune Justice Act–a new law currently being passed in the Senate–will change that.

Janey Ensminger Act

The Janey Ensminger Act was named after a Marine’s daughter who lived at Camp Lejeune and died of cancer likely due to exposure to the bad water. The law allows non-military family members to apply for VA benefits for medical issues related to the contamination.

Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act

The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act grants benefits, such as healthcare and coverage for out-of-pocket healthcare costs, to eligible veterans, family members, and others exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act expands the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. It enables veterans and their family members, civilian workers, and any other person who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least thirty days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987 to recover damages for any harm caused by the contaminated water. It covers all types of compensatory damages, including permanent injury, emotional losses, loss of consortium, disability, and wrongful death. It also extends the privilege of filing a claim to those in-utero at the time of exposure to seek compensation, as well.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act overturns the Feres Doctrine, which prohibits individuals from filing a claim or suit based on injuries incident to their service, and extends the statute of limitation in North Carolina, which legally forbids the filing of claims for injuries that happened more than ten years in the past. This overturn makes it easier for Camp Lejeune victims to seek their deserved justice.

Can I File Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

Until the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is signed into law, Camp Lejeune victims can’t file claims for damages against the U.S. government. That said, the bill has received strong bipartisan support and is expected to be signed into law after negotiations. Contact your state senators today to help get the Camp Lejeune Justice Act moving forward.

If you’re a Camp Lejeune water contamination victim and would like to know what benefits you’re eligible for, or if you’d like to get started on filing a lawsuit for related damages, contact Strom Law to talk to a qualified lawyer for help in receiving the compensation you deserve.



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