For roughly 30 years, hundreds of thousands of service members based at Camp Lejeune, and their families, suffered exposure to contaminated drinking water. Until recently, many of the people who fell ill as a result of that exposure have been unable to seek compensation. But that changed in August 2022, when President Biden signed a federal law entitling many of those victims to hold the government accountable for the harm they suffered by filing a claim for damages.
If exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune made you or your loved one sick, Edward Bernstein and Associates wants to help you secure the compensation to which the law now entitles you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.
Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit Guide
- What toxins did Camp Lejeune’s water contain?
- Illnesses and Health Problems Conditions Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
- Mercury Contamination at Camp Lejeune
- Eligibility for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Compensation Claims
- Potential Compensation for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
- How We Can Help With a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
- Is there a class action claim for Camp Lejeune victims?
- Statute of Limitations for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims
- Contact a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer Today
What happened at Camp Lejeune?
Located in Jacksonville, Onslow County, North Carolina, Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base that also serves as a training ground for other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the early 1980s, the Marine Corps began testing the water at Camp Lejeune as per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
The tests revealed that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was highly toxic and contained far greater contamination levels than safety regulations allowed. Further investigation revealed that the contamination had begun in 1953, and that hundreds of thousands of people who worked or lived on the base had drunk, cooked with, and bathed in toxic water over the ensuing decades. The contamination lasted until 1987.
What toxins did Camp Lejeune’s water contain?
Two water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune supplied most of the contaminated water to the base. The plants served on-base work facilities as well as housing where soldiers’ families lived. Anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 had a high risk of suffering toxic exposure to contaminated water there.
Water supplied by the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant to base facilities and housing contained perchloroethylene (PCE), a colorless liquid typically used in dry cleaning processes. The source of the contamination was a dry cleaning company neighboring the base. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, the PCE levels at the Tarawa Terrace Treatment plant far exceeded safe levels from November 1957 to February 1987, reaching up to 43 times the safe level of 5 parts per billion (PPB).
Water from the Hadnot Treatment Plant, which also supplied facilities and housing, contained trichloroethylene (TCE). TCE is a volatile liquid without color and odor and is considered a volatile anesthetic. The primary source of TCE contamination at Camp Lejeune was waste disposal sites, industrial area spills, and underground storage tank leaks. The TCE levels found at the Hadnot Treatment Plant reached as high as 1,400 PPB—280 times higher than amounts deemed safe.
Illnesses and Health Problems Conditions Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Over time, service members and their families who were exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune may have developed a wide range of illnesses and health problems linked to TCE and PPE poisoning.
Those conditions include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Hepatic steatosis
- Fatty liver diseases
- Cardiac defects
- Multiple myeloma
- Brain damage
- Aplastic anemia (and other bone marrow conditions)
- Myelodysplasia syndromes
- Immune disorders
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal toxicity
- Birth defects (especially neural tube defects, like spina bifida)
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Renal cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Furthermore, in 2013, the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry released a study finding that children born to mothers who drank the Camp Lejeune contaminated water were four times more likely than others to suffer birth defects like spina bifida. They also had a slightly increased risk of developing childhood cancers, such as leukemia.
Mercury Contamination at Camp Lejeune
In September 2012, investigations and tests revealed 12 pounds of elemental mercury at Camp Lejeune’s Hadnot Treatment Plant. According to officials, the possible source of the mercury contamination may have been water pressure meters containing elemental mercury, which were removed from the plant in the 80s.
Possible side effects from the mercury contamination at Camp Lejeune could include:
- Vision problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased blood pressure
- Coughing and sore throats.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination and Veterans Affairs Disability Benefits
Current and former service members exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water between 1953 and 1987 may qualify for Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits. According to VA rules, vets with qualifying service at Camp Lejeune are entitled to presumptive service connection for certain disabilities.
This means that service veterans generally do not have to present proof linking their current disabilities and health conditions to using the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, because their disabilities are already recognized as being linked to the contaminants in Camp Lejeune’s water supply.
To get VA disability compensation, veterans must prove the following:
- A current disability
- An in-service injury or illness (in this case, exposure to contaminated water)
- A connection between the in-service injury/ illness and the current disability.
For exposure to be presumed, a vet must possess certain service experience. The vet must also have exposure to contaminated water, and one or more of the disabilities the VA has determined are linked to the contaminated water for a medical link to be presumed.
As a vet, even if you do not qualify for the presumptions of in-service exposure to the toxic water, or a link between service experience and a current disability, you can still get VA disability benefits. However, your claim must show more evidence of a connection to service.
Besides disability compensation, veterans and their family members who resided at the Camp Lejeune base at the time of contamination can receive certain VA healthcare benefits in case they suffer from either of the illnesses linked to the Camp Lejeune contaminated water.
A Camp Lejeune contamination lawyer from Edward Bernstein and Associates can handle the process of applying for VA disability and medical benefits on behalf of veterans and their family members who were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Contact us today to learn more.
Eligibility for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Compensation Claims
Individuals who suffered exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune over a period of at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987 may also have the right to pursue a legal claim against the government for damages.
Besides proving exposure, a claim must demonstrate that the individual suffers from an illness linked to the effects of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination, such as:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Adult leukemia.
Anyone who sustained water exposures at Camp Lejeune—including military service members, veterans, non-military staff, and families—may have the right to pursue a legal claim for contaminated water compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys at Edward Bernstein and Associates to learn about your rights to pursue a claim against the government for damages.
Potential Compensation for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
In a claim against the government for damages arising out of exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water supply, you may receive payment for your:
- Past and future medical costs not covered by VA benefits
- Expenses related living with or managing your illness
- Loss of past and future earnings due to your health condition
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, and diminished quality of life.
The amount of compensation you might have the right to receive may depend on the length of your exposure, the severity of your illness, your age when you were exposed, and the impact your health condition has had on your life. Future laws and regulations governing Camp Lejeune water contamination claims may also affect the amount of compensation you may receive.
At Edward Bernstein and Associates, we stay on top of the latest developments in Camp Lejeune water contamination claims, to ensure that our clients receive representation that takes full advantage of their rights. Contact us today to learn about your current prospects for seeking damages from the government due to your Camp Lejeune-related illness or disability.
How We Can Help With a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
Edward Bernstein and Associates believes that anyone who suffered toxic exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune deserves compensation for the health problems they now face. Our team possesses the skill, knowhow, and financial resources to hold the government accountable for its failure to identify and remedy the water problems at Camp Lejeune.
The steps required to get you the maximum compensation for your Camp Lejeune contaminated water-related damages will likely depend on your service history, length of exposure, and current health problems.
Our team has the ability to:
- Act quickly to preserve your rights before a filing deadline expires
- Track down and secure evidence of your presence at Camp Lejeune as a service member, civilian worker, or family member
- Evaluate the full scope of your losses due to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune
- Prepare and file claims with the VA seeking medical or financial benefits on your behalf
- Prepare and file a separate damages claim against the government seeking compensation for your injuries and losses
- Negotiate with relevant authorities to secure a favorable settlement of your claim if possible
- Advise you about participation in a potential class actions arising out of toxic exposures at Camp Lejeune
- Go to court to press your claim for damages
- Collect and distributed the money owed to you
We also believe that you should not have to incur additional expense to receive the benefits and compensation you deserve. That’s why we represent Camp Lejeune water contamination victims on a contingent fee basis. We don’t charge you upfront fees or hourly rates. Instead, we only receive a fee for our services if we get you results. (Required disclaimer: You may have to pay an opposing party’s court fees in the event of a loss.)
Is there a class action claim for Camp Lejeune victims?
In August 2022, days after passage of a federal law authorizing Camp Lejeune water contamination claims, an alleged victim of toxic water exposure filed a class action lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against the government on behalf of himself and other similarly situated individuals, seeking damages.
That claim is still in its early stages, but it may ultimately serve as a mechanism for resolving the claims of at least some Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure victims. Other victims have already filed individual lawsuits against the government as well.
At Edward Bernstein and Associates, we represent Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure victims in all legal proceedings, whether administrative claims, individual lawsuits, or class actions. Contact us today to learn about how your rights fit in with the legal developments surrounding Camp Lejeune water exposure claims.
Statute of Limitations for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims
You may need to act quickly to secure compensation from the government. The statute of limitation for a Camp Lejeune water contamination suit is currently two years from the date of the August 10, 2022 passage of a federal law authorizing such claims.
We strongly encourage you to reach out to our team at Edward Bernstein and Associates today for a free consultation. The sooner your connect with an experienced attorney, the lower your risk of missing a critical deadline that could affect your rights.
Contact a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer Today
If you served, worked, or lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, there’s a good chance you suffered a dangerous exposure to contamination in the base water supply. A new law has opened a brief window of time—currently less than two years—in which you may have the right to claim compensation from the government for health problems you now suffer from that have been linked to that exposure.
Edward Bernstein and Associates wants to help you secure all compensation you deserve for the illnesses and health problems that now burden your life. Contact us today at (702) 840-5103 for your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.