The full scale of the tragedy that occurred for thirty years at Camp Lejeune may never be known. From 1953 to 1987, the water coming from the base’s wells was poisoning U.S. Marines, their families, and civilian contractors.
What began as a series of denials and cover-ups in the 80s and into the late 90s has finally come to light in the last fifteen years. For the first time, many veterans are now able to claim compensation for a host of diseases, cancers, and other conditions, and are even able to seek redress for dental issues from Camp Lejeune water contamination. This article will look at the history of the contamination and give you an idea of what could be expected from a settlement in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
What Was in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
Water testing campaigns began in earnest across the United States in the late 70s and early 80s in response to several landmark pieces of environmental legislation such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
The wells at Camp Lejeune were first tested in 1980 and found to contain chemicals such as TCE and PCE (trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene); further testing in the mid-80s also found benzene. Though the wells were shut down in the late 1980s, the government swept most of the chemical test results under the rug, especially those related to benzene, and continued to deny any linkage between the base water and disease.
As late as 1997, the government was still claiming that cancerous effects were not caused by bathing and consuming the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Finally, in 2009, the government was forced to admit the presence of benzene in the water—a contamination was caused by approximately 800,000 gallons of benzene leaking into the groundwater right next to where the living quarters and hospital water wells were located.
How Much Are Camp Lejeune Settlements?
Because so many settlements happen out of court before a trial ever begins, it’s difficult to know exact amounts recovered from Camp Lejeune lawsuits. There is an extensive number of factors that go into calculating damages:
- How long the veteran or family member was stationed at Camp Lejeune and how much water was consumed
- The amount of provable losses due to illnesses as a result of the contaminated water—for example, if a leg was lost to cancer and a person could no longer work their primary job through which they previously earned $100,000 annually
- The specific nature of the condition or cancer that was caused by the water at Camp Lejeune
Currently, the U.S. Government has estimated that compensating the victims of Camp Lejeune will cost almost seven billion U.S. dollars. This amount includes settlements, medical care, and additional care that may be needed for injuries suffered as a result of the contaminated water.
If you or a loved one was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for thirty or more consecutive days and has gone on to develop serious illnesses, you may have a valid claim for compensation from the Veterans Administration.
A qualified attorney from Strom Law will be very familiar with the ins and outs of this case, and will stand by your side throughout the entire process to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible in your fight for justice.