Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 are now entitled to disability compensation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This comes after researchers discovered that the water supply on the base camp was contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals from an off-base dry cleaner during this time. As a result of drinking this water, many veterans developed serious Camp Lejeune service-connected conditions.
If you served at the camp during this time and have been diagnosed with any of the specified conditions, you should look for the best lawyer for a Camp Lejeune contamination lawsuit from a reputable law firm like Strom Law. A good lawyer will help you file a successful Camp Lejeune water contamination class action lawsuit and ensure you are fully compensated. But what does this lawsuit entail? Read on to find out.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune is one of the largest Marine Corps bases and military training facilities in the United States, covering approximately 250 square miles in Onslow County, North Carolina. Since its establishment in 1942, the camp has been home to tens of thousands of members of the armed forces and their families. In 1987, an environmental study in the area revealed that the water supplied to the camp was contaminated with toxic chemicals, including trichlorethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE).
Most of the chemicals found in the water were volatile organic compounds (VOCs) commonly used for dry cleaning. According to researchers, the chemicals found in the water came from a nearby dry cleaner established long before the camp was opened. They concluded that the water wells supplying the camp with water had been poisoned well before the Marine camp was developed.
Main Issue in Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
Every Camp Lejeune water contamination class action lawsuit claims the water at the camp was contaminated between 1957 and 1987. Litigants also allege that the US Navy and the government did not take the claims of contamination seriously, exposing military service members to more danger. They added that the government carelessly put service members at risk of disease and death by failing to prevent dangerous water contaminants.
Litigants also claim the chemicals found at Camp Lejeune are linked to many serious health complications, including adult leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and aplastic anemia. Veterans can also file lawsuits against the VA for Camp Lejeune water contamination neurological effects, such as Parkinson’s disease. If your Camp Lejeune contamination lawsuit succeeds, you become eligible for presumptive service connection benefits. This means you do not have to prove that the contaminated water caused your condition at the camp.
You will only be required to prove that you served at the camp during the specified time frame (between 1953 and 1987). Initially, the previous North Carolina statute of repose did not allow civil tort lawsuits to be filed after ten years, which prevented many veterans who served at Camp Lejeune from filing lawsuits seeking compensation from the VA. Even the Janey Ensminger Act, which was passed in 2012, did not give these veterans a lot of hope because it only offered them disability benefits and did not cover the family members affected.
New Law Allowing Camp Lejeune Lawsuits
In 2022, Congress proposed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which allows Camp Lejeune victims to file lawsuits in federal courts seeking compensation. Under this law, veterans who served at the camp for at least thirty days between 1953 and 1987 can file lawsuits against the US government for the damages they suffered.
The settlement benefit for Camp Lejeune veterans is based on the severity of your damages and your attorney’s ability to link the damages or death to the contaminated water. So, find an attorney who knows how to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, such as those at Strom Law Firm, to get the compensation you deserve.