United States Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune has been in the news lately in relation to the water contamination class action lawsuit.
Veterans, family members, workers, and more who were at Camp Lejeune, located in North Carolina, between 1953 and 1987 may have been affected by toxic chemicals that contaminated the water supply.
How Did This Happen?
The toxic water contamination was caused by poor waste disposal practices of a nearby dry-cleaning company and leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, and industrial spill areas toxins that seeped into the groundwater and water supply. It wasn’t until 1982 that The Marine Corps noticed that two of the eight water distribution systems on base were contaminated. The main contaminants were PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride. PCE is a dry-cleaning solvent, which seeped into the groundwater as a result of the poor waste disposal practices of a nearby one-hour dry-cleaning company.
Why Is It Being Brought Up Now?
President Joe Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 into law on August 10th, 2022. While this law expands Veteran Affairs healthcare services and benefits to more than 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals during their military service, it also gives those who were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune the opportunity to file claims with the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy’s Tort Claim Unit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) eliminates the immunity that the United States’ government has against lawsuits that were filed specifically for injuries sustained from the toxic water contamination as well as North Carolina’s ten-year statute of repose. For decades, the Veterans Affairs office denied claims from veterans who were seeking medical payment recuperation for the injuries they sustained at Camp Lejeune from the water crisis. The CLJA allows that injustice to be corrected.
How Do I Know If I Qualify?
To qualify to participate in the class action lawsuit, you must have lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31, 1987, have suffered from health complications related to the water contamination that were diagnosed prior to August 10th, 2022, and have proof of the relationship between the water contamination and the injury you sustained.
These health complications include but are not limited to:
- Multiple types of cancer, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, and lung cancer.
- Female infertility and miscarriage.
- Hepatic steatosis.
- Multiple myeloma.
- Myelodysplastic syndromes.
- Neurobehavioral effects, such as Parkinson’s disease or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
- Renal toxicity.
How Do I File A Claim?
To maximize your chances of successfully filing a claim, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to file a claim on your behalf. First, you must qualify based on the qualification criteria mentioned above. Your attorney will submit a claim that will detail the injury you sustained, how you suffered from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, how your life has been affected by this injury, and how your injury is related to the water contamination. To prevail, you will need medical records and additional evidence to prove how you were harmed by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The JAG will have 6-months to accept or deny your claim. If they deny your claim or they do not take any action on it within 6-months, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Under current law, $6.7 billion has been allocated by the Congressional Budget Office to a special fund to compensate victims who qualify for compensation.
If you or a loved one were exposed to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune within the time frame of the 1950s to the 1980s, you may be entitled to financial compensation and medical payment recoupment. Our team at Glass & Robson Trial Attorneys have begun strategizing legal action for people affected by the water contamination. We are here to represent you in the fight for justice. If you have a potential case, contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/faq_chemicals.html
CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/toxic-water-marine-base-service-members-families-justice/ Congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2192