In 1982, harmful levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were discovered in the drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Those exposed to toxic chemicals in the water face a significantly higher risk of developing certain health conditions, including cancer and birth defects.
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we believe that Marines and their families deserved better than to be wrongfully exposed to carcinogenic substances for a period of more than 30 years. The decades of exposure and subsequent mishandling of the situation by the United States Government is unacceptable, and those affected by contaminated water deserve to be fairly compensated for their damages.
With the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, veterans, their family members, and those who were harmed due to exposure to toxic water at the base can file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Our legal team is invested in the health and well-being of veterans and their families. When failures from local and federal agencies result in harm to these individuals, we believe that it is important to take swift, decisive legal action to secure compensation for those who were harmed.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
First introduced in June 2021 as part of the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act faced a long journey to its final passage in Aug. 2022, when it was signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act gives veterans, their families, contract workers, and anyone else who was harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune the legal right to file a lawsuit against the government. Historically, this type of legal action has been barred.
If you developed a serious illness or health condition after ingesting the Camp Lejeune drinking water, you now have an unprecedented opportunity to hold the federal government at fault for your damages. Do not delay—contact Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC’s Mississippi law office to speak with a Camp Lejeune lawyer today.
What Happened to the Water at Camp Lejeune?
A 246-square mile military installation in North Carolina, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was serviced by at least two water-treatment plants between 1953 and 1987—Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace. Starting in 1953, the wells used by these water-treatment plants were contaminated with a number of toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and other serious health conditions. This was the water that base residents and workers drank, cooked with, showered in, and used to wash their hands.
The main sources of contamination of the Camp Lejeune water were:
- An off-base dry-cleaning facility, ABC One-Hour Cleaners
- On-base industrial site spills
- Leaking underground storage tanks
- Oil drums improperly stored at storage lots or disposed of at dumps
Adverse health consequences related to contamination from the above sources can be severe, and former Camp Lejeune residents who are now living in Mississippi may benefit from working with one of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC’s personal injury lawyers to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
The Main Contaminants in Camp Lejeune’s Water
Experts identified more than 70 toxic substances at varying levels in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The four chemicals found in the highest concentrations were:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) – a known human carcinogen
- Perchloroethylene (PCE) – potential human carcinogen
- Vinyl chloride – a known human carcinogen
- Benzene – a known human carcinogen
If you or a loved one served, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, you were exposed to high levels of toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and a wide range of other health conditions. The Camp Lejeune attorneys from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC can help evaluate your medical history to determine whether any current medical issues are the result of exposure to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water supply.
Base Facilities Serviced With Contaminated Water
The water contamination affected the entire base, including:
- Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune
- Barracks for unmarried military service members
- Enlisted family housing
- Marine Corps Exchange (MCX)
- The commissary
- Fitness facilities
- Administrative offices
If you were present at the Camp Lejeune military base for a period of at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987, you were exposed to drinking water that was contaminated with harmful chemicals known to be dangerous to human health. The adverse health effects associated with these chemicals can be long-lasting and may impact every facet of a person’s life, so do not hesitate to contact our Camp Lejeune lawyers to discuss your case during a free legal consultation.
Who Was Exposed to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?
For more than three decades, the water at Camp Lejeune was not safe to drink, bathe in, wash with, or otherwise interact with. Anyone who was at the base between 1953 and 1987 was exposed to cancer-causing substances and other toxic chemicals.
However, experts caution that only those who were present at the base for a cumulative period of 30 days were exposed to levels sufficient to cause serious and long-lasting harm. If you or your loved one were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days and fall into one of the below categories, you may be among those who qualify for Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuits.
Current and former members of the United States Marine Corps who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination may have a legal standing to recover compensation if they were harmed as a result. Marine veterans can contact Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC for a free case evaluation to determine their eligibility.
Immediate family members of active duty service members often live alongside them in base housing. As a result of the contaminated Camp Lejeune water, these family members were subsequently exposed to harmful chemicals known to cause adverse health consequences.
Family members who typically accompany active duty Marines include spouses and children, although parents, minor siblings, and other close members of the family are occasionally permitted to live on military installations.
Service Members From Other Branches
Although not typical, service members from other branches of the U.S. Military are sometimes stationed at Marine bases. Even if you were not in the Marines, you can pursue compensation for illnesses related to the Camp Lejeune drinking water if you served in the:
- Air Force
- Coast Guard
Even if you were not stationed at Camp Lejeune, going to the base on temporary duty (TDY) for a cumulative 30 days may be enough grounds to file a lawsuit for contaminated drinking water.
Veterans who were previously stationed at Camp Lejeune and later received permanent change of station (PCS) orders to Keesler Air Force Base, Columbus Air Force Base, or Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport may have grounds to file a lawsuit even while living in Mississippi.
The U.S. military employs contract workers for a wide range of purposes, including:
- Intelligence gathering
- Technical services
- Maintenance and logistics
- Advisory roles
- Security services
Contractors who washed their hands with or drank the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and later developed cancer, fatty liver disease, or a myriad of other serious health conditions have legal footing for a toxic water lawsuit.
The success of any military installation often hinges on the support of the local community. Civilians who live near the base fill a variety of on-base positions, and those who worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 were also exposed to the toxic drinking water.
Base workers who could potentially recover compensation for an illness include:
- Food service workers, including those who worked at Paradise Point Officers’ Club
- MCX employees
- Commissary employees
- Janitorial staff
- Housing maintenance staff
Proving that you were harmed by the Camp Lejeune water contamination can be a challenge if you were not an active duty service member, family member, or contractor. If you are unsure how to prove that you were harmed by exposure in your work place, contact the experienced legal team of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC for knowledgeable guidance on your claim.
What Health Issues Are Linked to Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water?
Exposure to water contaminated with VOCs can cause serious and long-lasting health conditions. The contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to a wide range of severe illnesses. If you were at Camp Lejeune for 30 or more days between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987, you should work closely with an experienced medical provider to monitor for the following health problems.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has linked exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and benzene to the following cancers:
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Brain cancer
- Lung cancer
- Soft tissue cancer
Cancer is unpredictable, and the development of a malignant tumor is not always linked to exposure to toxic chemicals. Before you move forward with a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit, you should meet with Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC. We have experience handling complex legal matters and can connect you with reputable medical professionals who will help pinpoint the root cause of your cancer diagnosis, which is an essential step in your Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit.
Those who lived at the base as minors and those who were born to mothers who drank the water at Camp Lejeune have higher rates of 13 childhood cancers, including leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
If you were diagnosed with cancer as a child or have a child who developed cancer as a result of your or your spouse’s ingestion of contaminated water, you can file a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit on their behalf. Compensation secured through this legal avenue can address medical bills as well as the emotional trauma of dealing with cancer as a child.
Compared to women with no exposure to toxic water, women who were stationed or lived at Camp Lejeune have a higher likelihood of giving birth to a child with birth defects.
Specifically, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has identified the following birth defects as being linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:
- Spina bifida
- Cleft lip
- Cleft palate
The financial and emotional costs of caring for a child born with birth defects can be profound. If you believe that your child’s birth injury was linked to the contaminated water at Base Camp Lejeune, the time to take action is now. Do not allow the burden of your child’s medical care to fall solely on your shoulders when you can seek compensation on their behalf today.
Other Serious Health Conditions
In addition to cancer, childhood cancer, and birth defects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ATSDR have found a link between the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and the following adverse health effects:
- Cardiac defects
- Short-term memory problems
- Attention deficits
- Impaired color vision
- Neurobehavioral performance deficits
- Decreased blink reflex
- Parkinson’s disease
- End-stage renal disease
- Choanal atresia
- Vision defects
- Pre-term birth
- Low gestational weight
- Fetal death
- Neural tube defects
- Impaired immune system functions
The severity and progression of your illness will depend on when you were exposed, for how long, and at what stage of development you were. Even if you are at the beginning stages of a serious medical condition or have been dealing with poor health for years, Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC will advocate for your right to compensation.
At our law firm, we value the attorney-client relationship and prioritize it above all else. If you are ready to pursue a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Is There a Class Action for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits will not be handled as a class action lawsuit. However, all claims that are not settled within two years of the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will be consolidated in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina in a process similar to that of personal injury mass tort claims.
Camp Lejeune victims have the possibility to settle their Camp Lejeune water lawsuits prior to the consolidation. As you pursue a settlement, we advise working closely with a qualified lawyer who understands how much disability compensation you need to address the full impact of your illness or injury.
Who Qualifies for a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
There are a few requirements you must meet to qualify to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Our law firm has experience handling complex legal cases, including personal injury cases related to mass tort claims. We are prepared to meet with you for a free consultation and evaluate whether you meet the requirements for a lawsuit:
- You must have been present at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.
- You must have been diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer (including bladder cancer and kidney cancer) or Parkinson’s disease.
- Your health condition must have been caused by your exposure to the contaminated water supply from the water-treatment plants that serviced Camp Lejeune.
- Your water contamination illness must have caused you to suffer damages.
Each of the above elements must be present in order to seek justice and compensation with a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Remember, these lawsuits are filed against the U.S. federal government, and, as such, will be subject to harsh scrutiny. Do not leave your opportunity to seek justice up to chance—contact our law firm today to learn how we can guide you through the complexities of multi-district litigation.
Documents To Prove a Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit
The burden of proof is on you and your attorney to show that you were at Camp Lejeune and subsequently harmed by the contaminated water supply. Documents that can help prove you were stationed, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987:
- Military service records, including your Form DD 214
- Travel papers and TDY orders
- Rental agreements
- Bills that show your Camp Lejeune address
- A birth certificate that proves your relationship to a service member who was stationed at Camp Lejeune
- Marriage certificate proving your marriage to a veteran
- Employment records showing the date and place of your job
Camp Lejeune lawsuits take time to build, and the more documentation you provide to your lawyer, the better equipped they will be to craft the strongest argument possible. If you have access to some of the above documents and want to know how they may support your contaminated water lawsuit, schedule a free consultation with our law firm to discuss whether you’re eligible to seek justice for the harm you’ve suffered.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Timeline
We cannot say with any certainty how long it might take to complete your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. The Aug. 2022 passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act grants you two years to meet with an attorney, build your claim, and file. There is a possibility that your claim will be settled before the two years has passed, which will give you access to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
If your claim is not settled before Aug. 10, 2024, it will be consolidated with other Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits in North Carolina’s Eastern District.
Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits are particularly complicated and require the rigorous guidance and representation of an experienced legal team. At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we will thoroughly investigate your claim, build a case, and ensure that everything is filed with the appropriate federal agency on your behalf.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Resident Requirements
Although Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, and the lawsuits concerning the contaminated water will be consolidated in the state’s Eastern District Court, North Carolina law will not govern these cases. You do not need to be located in or near North Carolina to file, either.
Mississippi veterans, their families, and anyone else who was harmed by the contaminated drinking water can file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit without leaving the state. It is advisable to work with a legal team that has a strong, well-established presence in Mississippi, but who also has the experience to handle complicated legal matters that deal with federal law.
How Much Does It Cost to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination exposure are already dealing with significant financial setbacks, including extensive medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacities, and more. The cost of filing a lawsuit might feel out of reach.
Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee allows a lawyer to provide their services without securing payment upfront. Instead, payment is only received upon successful completion of your case as a percentage of your award. This approach creates a common interest between attorney and client and incentivizes everyone involved to strive for the best possible outcome.
Average Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Settlement Amount
The goal of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits is to compensate former United States Marine Corps members, other veterans, family members, contractors, and anyone else who was harmed by the volatile organic compounds present in the base’s water. The payout for a typical water contamination lawsuit varies, ranging from an average of $25,000 to upwards of $1 million.
Compensation per claim will largely depend on the severity of a person’s illness. Claims for particularly severe illnesses like Parkinson’s disease or cancer will likely involve larger settlements or compensation awards.
Can I Get VA Benefits for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides VA benefits to veterans, reservists, and guardsmen who:
- Were at Camp Lejeune for a cumulative 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and,
- Were not dishonorably discharged.
VA benefits for illnesses related to Camp Lejeune water contamination are only available for the following health conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Aplastic anemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
You cannot receive VA disability benefits for a Camp Lejeune illness if you did not serve in the military. The new opportunity for compensation created by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is an essential opportunity for family members and other workers who were also harmed by the drinking water to seek justice.
Can I Lose My VA Disability Benefits if I File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
You will not lose access to your VA benefits if you choose to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. VA benefits are provided to veterans who suffered service-related injuries, or whose existing injuries were aggravated during their time in the military. VA benefits are not limited by income, so any compensation secured through this type of lawsuit will not affect your eligibility.
Furthermore, lawsuits seeking compensation for the volatile organic compounds found in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water are intended to hold the federal government responsible for the inaction and negligence that resulted in the water contamination.
However, we understand that it can be difficult to take any kind of action that you believe might affect your eligibility for VA benefits. If you have any concerns about how a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit might affect your VA benefits, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
How Do I Know if a Camp Lejeune Lawyer Is Right for Me?
You know that you can’t take on the burden of filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit on your own, but how do you find the lawyer that is right for your case? Before you commit to working with any law firm, you should be certain that they have the qualifications, experience, and know-how to take on your case.
Never settle for working with anyone who does not seem to have your best interests at heart, either.
When you are ready to move forward with the process of filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, we recommend taking the following steps to find a lawyer that is right for you:
- Ask friends or family if they’ve recently worked with a personal injury lawyer that they were happy with.
- Research possible Camp Lejeune attorneys online. Look for a law firm with a strong legal team. Note which law offices offer a free case evaluation.
- Schedule your free case evaluation with your top choices, and come prepared to ask questions.
Ideally, you’ll want to work with a law office that prioritizes a strong attorney-client relationship, and that has experience taking on complex legal claims.
Questions To Ask a Camp Lejeune Lawyer
The following questions will help you determine whether a lawyer or law firm is the best fit for your Camp Lejeune water lawsuit:
- Does this law firm regularly handle complex personal injury claims, or have you handled multi-district litigation in the past?
- Have you worked with veterans in the past, or have you helped other victims exposed to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water?
- What happens if my case isn’t settled?
- Do I pay up front, or do you work on a contingency fee?
- How can I contact you if I have questions about my case?
- Do I have a legal standing for a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim?
Write down your questions before your consultation, and never be afraid to ask for clarification if you do not understand an attorney’s answer. A good lawyer will be happy to explain things as many times or in as many ways as necessary to ensure that you understand your case.
Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC Advocates for Veterans and Families
The men and women of Mississippi who dedicated their lives and careers to serving the United States deserved better than to be wrongfully exposed to known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. If you were among those who drank the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and suffered serious health consequences as a result, it is time for you to take a stand.
Under the careful guidance of our Camp Lejeune attorneys, you may seek compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and much more.
If you are ready to move forward with a Camp Lejeune water contamination case, contact Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We’ll answer all your questions as thoroughly and honestly as possible, and will be prepared to begin working on your claim right away.