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Do You Qualify for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

A golden faucet with a water drop. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

You may qualify for a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit if you or a family member lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and were affected by the toxic water exposure. The water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was contaminated with hazardous chemicals during this period, which have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and other severe health problems impacting thousands of individuals, including Nevada residents.

A golden faucet with a water drop. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 allows individuals injured years ago to seek compensation through a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been impacted by injuries due to exposure to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, reach out to George Bochanis Injury Law Offices at (702) 388-2005 for assistance with pursuing compensation.

What Is the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Issue?

In 1940, the Navy acquired a piece of land spanning 110,000 acres in North Carolina. The subsequent year, Congress granted 14 million dollars for the base’s construction. In honor of Major John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant and Commanding General of the 2nd Army Division of World War I, the base was christened Marine Barracks Camp Lejeune in 1942. Camp Lejeune’s contribution to the Corps during WWII was significant, with many Marines trained or stationed there. The base’s name was changed to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in 1944.

The United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and its neighboring community together provide residence to a population of around 150,000, including active duty, dependent, retiree, and civilian employees. The base is a major contributor to the economy, generating commerce worth nearly $3 billion annually. According to reports, between 1953 and 1987, approximately 900,000 military personnel and their families had been stationed at the base.

It was discovered in the early 1980s that two water-supply systems on the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune had been contaminated with industrial solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). Between 1953 and 1987, individuals living on the base, including military service members and civilians, were exposed to these toxic chemicals by consuming contaminated drinking water and bathing in water that had been contaminated from the base water treatment facilities and a nearby dry-cleaning company. The exposure levels were over 3,000 times the safe limit for these chemicals.

Toxic Substances That Were in the Water at Camp Lejeune

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in the water supplying Camp Lejeune’s base housing and other buildings. Four chemicals were identified.

  • Benzene, which is utilized in the production of various chemicals that make up synthetic fibers, plastics, resins, and nylon.
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or PCE, which is employed in dry cleaning and metal degreasing. It was the leading pollutant in the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant.
  • Trichloroethylene, or TCE, which is a solvent that is used for cleaning metal components. It was the primary contaminant at Hadnot Point.
  • Vinyl chloride, or VC, which is a byproduct formed when TCE and PCE break down in groundwater over time.

Benzene, TCE, VC, and PCE are all known or probable cancer causing chemicals and also increase the risk of birth defects and other health problems.

Health Issues That Have Been Linked to Camp Lejeune

It has been reported that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated and has affected more than one million people. The surrounding area has been severely impacted by this disaster, with high rates of health problems and illnesses.

Studies conducted by the CDC have found that children at Camp Lejeune are more likely to suffer from birth defects and childhood diseases such as Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Neural tube defects. Additionally, people stationed at the base have an increased risk of developing cancers of the kidney, liver, esophagus, cervix, multiple myeloma, ovaries, Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease, and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Further research conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has confirmed the link between exposure to contaminated drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and birth defects and childhood cancers. This study supports the findings of the CDC.

Exposure to harmful substances has been linked to various health problems, ailments, and neurobehavioral effects related to the water at Camp Lejeune. These issues include reproductive problems, birth defects, Parkinson’s disease, bladder cancer, liver cancer, renal toxicity, breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate cancer, miscarriage, neurobehavioral effects, lung cancer, aplastic anemia, cervical cancer, and death.

Furthermore, research has shown an increased incidence of cancers due to exposure to TCE and PCE. These health issues highlight the severity of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and the importance of affected individuals seeking legal help and compensation for their damages.

Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The Camp Lejeune victims were unable to seek compensation for financial and intangible harms caused by the contaminated water at the base originally. The reasons for this included a 1950 Supreme Court ruling and North Carolina’s statute of repose, which limited civil tort lawsuits to within 10 years. As a result, over 900 lawsuits were dismissed in 2016.

However, with the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, individuals can now file claims and lawsuits for damages resulting from the contaminated water. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has also extended support to those affected, offering health benefits for specified conditions linked to exposure.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act has provided victims with a legal avenue to seek compensation for their suffering. It enables individuals exposed to the contaminated water to file lawsuits in federal court, bypassing previous legal barriers.

Qualifying Factors for a Lawsuit in Nevada

The CLJA allows claimants to have a lower burden of proof when pursuing justice for water contamination. This change intends to ensure that everyone has access to compensation and recognition of the harm caused. To be eligible for a lawsuit, you or your loved one must meet two conditions:

  • Lived or worked on the base for a minimum of 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
  • Experience health problems or illnesses that are associated with the contaminated water.

The 30-day requirement to be eligible for a Camp Lejeune settlement does not have to be met continuously. For example, if a family member visited the base for a total of 30 separate days between 1953 and 1987, he or she may still have a viable claim. Additionally, if an unborn child’s mother served, lived, or worked at the base while pregnant and the child later suffered from a health issue, the child may also be eligible for compensation.

To prove that you or a loved one suffered a health issue as a result of exposure to contaminated water, you must provide evidence that there is a causal relationship between the exposure and the harm. This requires showing that it is at least as likely as it is unlikely that the exposure caused your harm. This standard of proof is considered lenient compared to other toxic tort cases.

If you have a claim, it is important to act quickly. To be eligible for a Camp Lejeune settlement, claims or lawsuits must be submitted deadline of August 10, 2024. Waiting until the deadline may mean you have difficulty finding a personal injury lawyer in time to handle your claim, so it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you think you may be eligible for compensation.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Statistics

As of April 2024, 40 lawsuits related to Camp Lejeune have been settled, with a total payout of $9.6 million. The Torts Branch has confirmed 60 cases that meet the Elective Option criteria through documentary verification. The breakdown of cases by injury type are: 16 cases of bladder cancer, 16 cases of kidney cancer, 12 cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, six cases of kidney disease, four cases of Parkinson’s Disease, four cases of leukemia, and two cases of multiple myeloma.

Out of these cases, plaintiffs have accepted 22 offers. These include five cases of bladder cancer, four cases of kidney disease (end stage renal disease), five cases of kidney cancer, four cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, one case of multiple myeloma, two cases of Parkinson’s Disease, and one case of leukemia. Nine offers were declined, while 17 offers have lapsed. There are currently 12 settlement offers that are pending.

Moreover, the Department of Justice has made offers to 62 claimants based on information provided by the Navy. Out of these, 29 settlement offers have been accepted, two have been declined, and 25 have expired, with six pending.

Steps to Take if You Qualify

If you are eligible to file a lawsuit, you must take the right steps to guarantee a successful claim.

Gather Evidence

Quality evidence is crucial for the successful outcome of any personal injury or mass tort case. To substantiate your case, health screenings and medical records are essential. Medical records serve as evidence of an individual’s exposure to contaminated water, as well as any ensuing illnesses or health conditions. These records can help establish a causal relationship between water contamination and an individual’s health issues, which is crucial for seeking compensation for damages.

Evidence could include documents that show you lived at Camp Lejeune, records indicating your dates and locations of military service, medical records and bills, travel records, health care information, and records related to disability or VA compensation benefits.

Hire a Lawyer

If you have gathered evidence related to a legal case, a lawyer can provide valuable assistance with your case, such as evaluating the strength of your claim, collecting evidence, and building a strong case on your behalf. A good personal injury lawyer should have a Nevada personal injury case checklist.

When filing a personal injury case, victims pursue damages. Damages refer to losses, including physical and mental/emotional harm, that a person experiences due to an injury caused by someone else’s fault. Damages represent the total amount that the defendant is responsible for paying to the plaintiff in compensation for the damage they have caused. A water contamination lawyer can calculate the full extent of the damages suffered in your case.

In a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, compensation may cover various expenses and losses such as medical bills, lost wages, disability benefits, loss of companionship, consortium, enjoyment of life, and earning capacity, as well as permanent disability.

By working with a lawyer who understands the Nevada personal injury process, you can improve your chances of a successful claim and maximize your compensation.

Determine Liability

In a Camp Lejeune contamination case, there may be several parties responsible for the damages caused. This includes the federal government, other regulatory agencies, businesses that may have contributed to the polluted water supply, and any other individual or group whose negligence led to an injury or diagnosis. Camp Lejeune lawyers will work towards establishing liability for the damages incurred in such cases.

File a Lawsuit or Negotiate a Settlement

Your lawyer can help you file a claim for compensation against the liable party. If you meet the qualifying conditions, you may be offered an elective payout, but it may not be as much as what you could receive through a lawsuit. If you don’t accept the payout or your claim is rejected, your lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf against the federal government.

Your attorney can work to negotiate a settlement amount that takes into account medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other factors. If the other party fails to offer you a fair settlement, personal injury cases go to trial, where your lawyer will work to get a verdict in your favor.

If you or a loved one was affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination, contact us at George Bochanis Injury Law Offices to pursue a claim.

The George Bochanis Injury Law Offices was established in 1985. Before opening his office, Mr. Bochanis spent years representing major insurance companies in litigation cases and prior to that was a law clerk to a prominent local district court judge. Our offices have grown from a small one person setting to having its own well known office location on South Ninth Street in Downtown Las Vegas with 15 employees.

Years of Experience: More than 28 years
Nevada Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar Federal Court of Nevada, 3rd Circuit

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