Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cancer Lawsuits
As a result of recent legislation signed into law
, U.S. Marines, family members and others can now file a Camp Lejeune injury lawsuit. These service members and their families and other injured people can now get compensation for injuries caused by severe water contamination in the base's drinking water from August 1953 to December 1987.
Camp Lejeune marine base water contamination has been linked to different cancers
, neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease
, kidney damage, birth defects and other serious illnesses
. New claims for Camp Lejeune settlement benefits can be filed until August 10, 2024.
Camp Lejeune What Were the Sources of Water Contamination?
Drinking and bathing water contamination at Camp Lejeune was caused by several sources including spills and/or leaks from underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, and businesses both on and off the base.
From August, 1953 through December, 1987, Marines and and other military personnel and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune's main base, barracks, family, temporary housing, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point may have drank or bathed in water contaminated with dangerous toxins at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times levels permitted by safety standards.
The contamination appears to have affected the water from two of the eight water wells on the base. The main chemicals involved were volatile organic compounds
(VOCs) such as perchloroethylene
(PCE), a dry cleaning solvent, and trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser; but more than 70 chemicals have been identified as contaminants at Lejeune.
According to the EPA, many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants.
VOCs are usually industrial solvents, such as trichloroethylene; fuel oxygenates, such as methyl tert-butyl ether
(MTBE); or by-products produced by chlorination in water treatment, such as chloroform. VOCs are often components of petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry cleaning agents. VOCs are common ground-water contaminants.
Camp Lejeune's Huge Problem the staggering number of injured people
Over one million U.S. Marines and their family members, and other folks who worked or lived at Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River (MCAS) in North Carolina between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 were exposed to contaminated drinking water that contained toxic chemicals and solvents, which are known to cause cancer and other serious diseases.
Camp Lejeune Injuries who is Eligible?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
allows marine veterans, family members and other injured people to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit until August 10, 2024. This date is the current hard deadline to file an injury claim.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allowed a two year window for injury claims to be filed for folks who developed injuries caused by exposure to contaminated water
while being stationed at the base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, including:
- U.S. Military Service Members
- Military Family Members Residing on Base
- Unborn Children Exposed In Utero
- Civilian Contractors Working at Camp Lejeune
What Camp Lejeune Injuries are compensable?
Camp Lejeune lawsuit settlements may be available for various injuries linked to chemicals found in the drinking water, including:
Extent of the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Over 70 toxic chemicals were discovered in the Camp Lejeune drinking water between 1953 and 1987, which have been known to increase the risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, birth defects and other devastating diseases.
Camp Lejeune Administrative and Lawsuit Procedure
Injury claims being made under this legislation will be complex in many ways.
1. The injury claims can be almost 70 years old with the resulting loss of key documents, service records, proof of residence at the camp during the eligible time period, key medical records and death certificates.
2. To be eligible for any type of evaluation by the Department of Navy requires an administrative filing before the filing of a lawsuit. And the Department of Navy has up to 6 months before they reject or accept the case and injury for compensation.
3. The 2022 legislation block's the government's ability to raise immunity defenses that applies to injuries and damages sustained by military members while on active duty. Ordinarily military members while on active duty cannot sue the U.S. government for injuries sustained during the period of employment.
4. The 2022 legislation requires all Camp Lejeune Water Contamination lawsuits to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which has been granted exclusive jurisdiction, if the Department of Navy denies the claim after 6 months evaluation time period.
Camp Lejeune MCAS Fast Track Settlement Option
The U.S. government has recently filed a notice in September 2023 to inform of a new “Elective Option”, detailing the voluntary process that will allow individuals to quickly settle claims involving certain injuries linked to toxic chemicals that contaminated water at the North Carolina military base.
The Department of Justice and U.S. Navy
first announced the elective Camp Lejeune settlement option on September 7, 2023 offering up to $550,000 to veterans and their families if they suffered specific medical conditions, including kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemias, bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease and systemic sclerosis.
The government hopes the option to settle Camp Lejeune lawsuits quickly and lead to the settlement of the nearly 100,000 claims that have already been filed under a new law that went into effect last year.
Camp Lejeune Elective Option Settlement Offer Summary
The Camp Lejeune Elective Option will provide settlements ranging from about $100,000 to $550,000, to folks who suffered specific types of cancer and diseases that have been identified as potentially linked to Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Those injured people who accept the Elective Option currently being offered by the government would be divided into two tiers of qualifying injuries.
Tier 1 includes those injuries backed by evidence of a causal link between one or more contaminants found at Camp Lejeune, including:
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Bladder Cancer
Tier 2 includes injuries where there is enough research to support a link between a contaminant and the injury, but not enough to firmly conclude there is a causal link, including:
- Multiple Myeloma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Kidney Disease/End Stage Renal Disease
- Systemic Sclerosis/Systemic Scleroderma
The two tiers will be further divided into categories based on how long they were exposed to water at the military base, with claimants receiving a larger reward based on how long they were exposed to water at the base, and which tier of injury they experienced.
Tier 1 Qualifying Injuries will receive $150,000 if they lived or worked on the base between 30 days and a year, $300,000 for one to five years of exposure, and $450,000 if they lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for longer than five years.
Tier 2 Qualifying injuries will get $100,000 for a month to a year of exposure, $250,000 for one to five years, and $400,000 for more than five years.
Camp Lejeune Elective Option Filing Procedure
In addition to the injury qualifications for all Camp Lejeune lawsuit plaintiffs, those who wish to participate in the elective option must properly present an administrative claim to the Department of the Navy. Their injury must have been first diagnosed or treated before August 10, 2022.
To qualify for the Elective Option, the claimant’s diagnosis must have occurred at least two years after their first exposure to Camp Lejeune water, and no longer than 35 years after they were last exposed.
They must also have the appropriate medical documentation showing their diagnosis or treatment, and there must be evidence that they resided or were employed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
Plaintiffs Who Don’t Qualify for Elective Option May Still File Claims
The Department of Justice notes that claimants who do not qualify because they have not suffered those specific injuries, or for other reasons, may still file a claim and seek relief from the U.S. Navy.
The government noted that there may be additional Camp Lejeune settlement frameworks introduced in the future, as the officials continues to look at the scientific evidence, and as the litigation develops.
Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm Investigating Camp Lejeune Injury and Death Cases Nationwide
Did you or a loved one experience injuries after service at Camp Lejeune? Dr. Shezad Malik law firm based in Dallas, Texas is now reviewing injuries and wrongful death claims from Camp Lejeune nationwide. Please call 214-390-3189 or email us for further information.