The critical Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, located on New River in North Carolina, has been subject to several personal injury lawsuits due to water contamination leading to severe medical conditions. For decades, military personnel and their families stationed at the base came into contact unknowingly with water tainted by toxic substances like perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), and benzene.
Those exposed to the tainted water at the Camp Lejeune military base have experienced severe health consequences, such as renal toxicity, eye defects, and many forms of cancer. If you suffered severe health problems due to the tainted water at Camp Lejeune, you could pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. The personal injury lawyers at Russo Law Firm can assess your damages, determine if you qualify for compensation under the PACT Act, and work with you to seek compensation.
Why Choose Russo Law Firm for Help With Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim?
At Russo Law Firm, we know the impact of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination on those stationed there. We’ve heard stories of those seeking compensation for the mistakes made from 1953 to 1987. Not only have victims suffered from the medical fallout, but they have also had to deal with the mental anguish of decades of being denied compensation.
Our personal injury lawyers want to hear your story. Nobody deserves to have their right to compensation rejected for so long, and we want to help you with personalized attention that can put you in the best position to recover compensation. Contact Russo Law Firm today to learn how our personal injury lawyers can help you file your claim and earn the fair compensation you have deserved for decades.
Russo Law Firm Case Results
Those exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 have decades of damages that need to be accounted for in any settlement or award. You will likely have expensive medical expenses for years of cancer treatment and mental anguish costs for years of living with a severe medical condition.
At Russo Law Firm, our goal is not just to take the first settlement offer that comes our way but to work for you until you get fair compensation. You deserve cogent legal counsel that addresses your thoughts and concerns so that you can recover some of the money you have lost over decades of living with a severe medical condition.
The following are some of the case results Russo Law Firm has earned for clients:
- $2.4 Million for Medical Malpractice Misdiagnosis
- $2 Million for Wrongful Death Trucking Accident
- $1.75 Million Product Liability Jury Award for Crushed Hand
- $650 Thousand Automobile Accident Jury Award for Reconstructed Knee
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Camp Lejeune has been a military base operating in North Carolina for decades, with the goal of being a warfighting platform that provides support for Marines while they train, recover, and prepare for missions. However, hazardous chemicals, otherwise known as carcinogens, infected the wells that provided drinking water to Camp Lejeune.
The military personnel and the families stationed there were repeatedly exposed to hazardous chemicals, which resulted in thousands of cases of people suffering severe medical conditions. Some of the most notable medical conditions that required medical care included birth defects, cancer diagnoses, and degenerative conditions.
Two Water Treatment Facilities Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune
The water contamination at Camp Lejeune happened between 1953 and 1987. There were two water treatment facilities responsible for the water contamination: Tarawa Terrace Facility and Hadnot Point Treatment Plant Facility.
The Tarawa Terrace Facility began operation in 1952. In 1953, it was discovered that the water was contaminated by perchloroethylene (PCE), which is utilized in the process of dry cleaning. The PCE water contamination was discovered to have happened in 1953, the same year a nearby dry cleaning center was opened. Further water contamination occurred because of improper practices in disposing of chemicals, which resulted in spills into the water at the plant.
Hadnot Point served as the main barracks at Camp Lejeune, which also included family housing. The water treatment plant there was contaminated by PCE, trichloroethylene (TCE), and benzene. These carcinogens came from leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, and industrial spills.
What Toxic Chemicals Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune?
Scientific and medical evidence collected at Camp Lejeune has found four main chemicals contaminated the drinking water at Camp Lejeune:
- Perchloroethylene (PCE): A chemical used in dry cleaning, PCE can disperse through the bloodstream and cause damage to organs and the central nervous system. PCE exposure has also been linked to bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and end-stage renal disease. In 1985, it was discovered that Lejeune has 215 parts per billion of PCE in the water, 210 parts per billion over what is safe for consumption.
- Trichloroethylene (TCE): This is a solvent used for degreasing metal products that entered the water supply at Camp Lejeune through waste disposal sites and damaged underground storage containers. The TCE levels at Camp Lejeune were 20 times the amount that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems safe for drinking water.
- Vinyl Chloride: This was found in the drinking water at Hadnot Point alongside TCE. It is a gas that travels through contaminated water and releases into the air when water is used for cooking, washing clothes, or bathing. Vinyl chloride has been connected to liver, brain, lung, and soft tissue cancer.
- Benzene: This is a chemical used for industrial purposes believed to have entered the water supply at Camp Lejeune through the Hadnot Point well water system. Benzene has been connected to leukemia, compromising the immune system, and damaging bone marrow.
Cancer Caused by Water Contamination
The four main carcinogens found in the water at Camp Lejeune have all been connected to causing cancer in some form or fashion. Each attack different areas of the body’s interior, breaking down organs and causing tissue damage. Cancer is a life-threatening illness that can compromise the body of those affected and reduce their quality of life as they struggle to recover from the condition.
The following are some of the types of cancer caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune:
- Brain cancer
- CNS cancers
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Soft tissue cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Esophageal cancer
Adverse Health Conditions Caused by the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
The scope of the damage for those living at Camp Lejeune during the 30-year period of water contamination is staggering. The water contamination caused a variety of cancers, as well as other debilitating health conditions that put the lives of thousands at risk. Some stationed at Camp Lejeune have already passed away due to health complications, leaving their family without a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, or mother.
The following are some of the non-cancer adverse health conditions caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:
- Birth defects
- Choanal atresia
- Eye defects
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Renal toxicity
North Carolina Prevented Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
Victims of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have attempted to pursue compensation through personal injury lawsuits for years, but the state of North Carolina has rejected most of their claims. North Carolina has a statute of repose, which imposes a 10-year restricted window on filing personal injury claims. If you do not file a personal injury claim within ten years of the incident, you are permanently denied the ability to pursue damages through a personal injury claim.
This issue presented with this law is that most Camp Lejeune victims did not find out about the contaminated water for decades after they were affected. Many Camp Lejeune victims have presented their clear cases to the Federal District Court in North Carolina, such as the multidistrict litigation (MDL) presented in 2016. Despite clear evidence of government negligence leading to damages, all Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits were rejected.
With thousands of victims left without the potential for compensation, Congress had to step in to attempt to help. The Janey Ensminger Act of 2012 provided some monetary relief, such as limited medical beenifts to family members who lived or were in utero at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987. However, this was ot enough and Congress introduced more legislation to help victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination.
What is the PACT Act?
On August 10th, 2022, President Bidden signed into law the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act). This piece of legislation provides military veterans, civil servants, contractors, and their families the healthcare necessary to cover damages caused by dangerous toxins. Part of the PACT Act was the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which allows victims to recover damages for losses sustained at Camp Lejeune.
The PACT Act lifts the restriction North Carolina has placed with its statute of repose and allows Camp Lejeune victims to seek compensation through personal injury claims. It also expands screenings, including lab testing and medical treatment available to veterans, and codifies specific cancers and illnesses to remove the burden of proof on veterans to receive necessary benefits.
The First Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Filed Under the PACT Act
A mere few hours after the PACT Act was signed into law, the first Camp Lejeune Water Contamination lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The United States of America was listed as the defendant, with the lawsuit filed on behalf of Timothy Pugh. He was a service member at Camp Lejeune between 1984 and 1986.
Due to complications of contaminated water exposure, Mr. Pugh was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2012. He alleged that the negligence, carelessness, and recklessness of the Marine Corps led to damages, such as medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Filing a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Timothy Pugh was not the last person to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Anyone who suffered as a result of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages over the last few decades.
Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, all victims of water contamination at the military base have the legal right to file a civil lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina. To do so, you must file an administrative claim to the Judge Advocate General for the Department of the Navy.
Once filed, the Department of the Navy has six months to approve or deny a claim. A personal injury lawsuit can only be filed after the Navy makes its decision. If you contracted a catastrophic medical condition due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn what your options for pursuing compensation are.
Who Qualifies to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Anyone who sustained an injury or illness at Camp Lejeune due to water contamination has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue damages. However, to seek damages against the federal government for its negligence, you must meet certain criteria.
As outlined by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims must have lived, worked, served, or been in utero at Camp Lejeune:
- For at least 30 cumulative days
- Between the dates of August 31st, 1953, and December 31st, 1987
- Developed one of the severe health conditions outlined by the CDC
If you meet these criteria, you could file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for water contamination damages. You will need to prove your injuries resulted from the government’s failure to warn of the water contamination, which directly led to your severe medical condition. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to help you collect evidence to prove your case.
VA Disability Benefit Claims for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Illness
Veterans who suffered exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have the right to seek disability benefits by filing a VA disability benefits claims. They can potentially receive coverage in the form of a monthly payment of potentially $3,000, depending on your disability rating as judged by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
You can expedite the VA disability benefits process if you have a presumptive service connection, which eliminates your need to connect your health condition to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The requirements to qualify for a presumptive service connection include:
- Proof you served at Camp Lejeune for 30 days
- Proof you served between August 1st, 1952 and December 31st, 1987
- No honorable discharge
- Proof of suffering one of the CDC-approved health conditions
The U.S. Navy Knew Camp Lejeune’s Water Was Potentially Contaminated
One of the major factors in the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation is the fact that the US Navy was aware of the health issues presented by the water contamination. Not only did they fail to prevent the contamination of the water by carcinogens, but they neglected to do anything about it once the people of Camp Lejuene started to feel the effects of serious health conditions.
Toxic chemicals were detected in water wells near Camp Lejeune as early as the 1940s. By failing to warn Marines and their families of the risks of the contaminated water, they breached the duty of care they owed the people under their employ and their families.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Wrongful Death
In the decades since the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune affected people living there, some who suffered from life-threatening health conditions have passed away. Although they did not have the ability to claim compensation before they died, their families can file wrongful death claims to pursue compensation for damages caused by the water contamination.
These wrongful death claims can compensate family members for medical bills their family member had to pay for medical treatment while they were alive. They can also claim lost earning potential and non-economic damages for suffering the family has experienced with the premature death of their loved one.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Settlement Amount
It’s too early in the process of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits to accurately predict what settlement amounts victims can expect. It’s likely the personal injury lawsuits filed by Camp Lejeune victims consolidate into a class action lawsuit or MDL before a settlement arrives.
Based on projections accounting for other mass torts, Camp Lejeune water contamination victims can expect settlements in the low six-figure range. Although victims could receive more from a court case jury award, most personal injury lawsuits do not reach that stage, as it is a high-risk endeavor for both parties.
What Types of Damages Are Available Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for damages, or losses a plaintiff suffers due to the negligence of another party. There are two types of damage common in personal injury claims: economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages: These consist of financial losses with a monetary value attached to them, both in the past and what can be projected for the future. Some damages for water contamination claims may include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, medication and surgical costs, and disability costs.
- Non-economic damages: These are intangible costs that reflect how your life has changed following exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Although they do not have a bill attached, they can still have significant negative effects on a person’s quality of life. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help With Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim?
A personal injury lawyer can assist you with pursuing compensation for the decades of damages and unexplained health issues you have had to deal with. You were exposed to contaminated drinking water in a palace that was supposed to be your home and should explore your right to pursue compensation for this injustice.
A water contamination lawyer can help you or your loved one’s case by collecting evidence that establishes the contaminated water caused your medical condition. They can also establish that you did not have a pre-existing condition affecting your medical status.
Proving a Camp Lejeune lawsuit claim can take hours of research, conversations with military personnel, and experts in environmental and medical fields. You need the help of a personal injury lawyer with the commitment, experience, and resources necessary to process such a complicated personal injury claim.
We Can Help with Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
At Russo Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers would be honored to assist service members who represented this country with honor and those family members that stood by them. We understand the frustration of the last few decades of being barred from an ability to pursue compensation and wish to help with specialized legal advice catered to your specific situation.
We offer free consultations to personal injury victims to learn how we can help with your case. If you suffered damages from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, contact us at 844-847-8300 or leave a message on our online contact page.