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Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Exposure: Do You Qualify?

Reviewed by: Samantha E. Stahl
May 27, 2024
Home Firm News Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Exposure: Do You Qualify?

A broad range of people present on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to contaminated water. And many of those people developed diseases and illnesses that can be traced back to that contamination.

Weitz & Luxenberg began accepting clients for Camp Lejeune water contamination exposure cases as soon as President Biden signed into law the Honoring Our PACT Act (the “PACT Act”).

The PACT Act included a section intending to provide aid to Marines, their families, and a broad group of civilians, who suffered injuries due to exposure to contaminated drinking water on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. If you were present on base for at least 30 cumulative days during the relevant time period and were diagnosed with a serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

If you or a loved one was exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

(833) 977-3437

Is the PACT Act the Same As the CLJA?

Section 804 of the PACT Act is referred to as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA). It allows people, including veterans, to file claims against the U.S. federal government.

Unfortunately, many people who previously filed claims against the government were unsuccessful because the time to file a claim had passed. Under the new law, these victims may refile claims under a new timeframe.

What Compensation Can Victims Receive?

Claims against the U.S. government may result in compensation for medical bills, as well as for pain and suffering. However, the window of time to file your claim is short. If you believe you are eligible, do not wait to contact an attorney.

Who Qualifies for the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

The law states an individual, a veteran, or a legal representative who had “resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) for not less than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that was supplied by, or on behalf of, the United States” can now “bring an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to obtain appropriate relief for harm that was caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.” (1)

Why Is There a Lawsuit Against Camp Lejeune?

The systems that supplied water to Camp Lejeune were contaminated with toxic chemicals. In 1982, scientists confirmed that the two water supply systems, Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace, were supplying contaminated finished water.

Chemicals found in the water were:  (2) (3)

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE).
  • Tetrachloroethylene (PCE).
  • Trans-1,2-dichloroethylene.
  • Benzene.
  • Vinyl chloride.

TCE and PCE were the primary contaminants. These chemicals are often used as metal degreasers and in dry cleaning. They are also known carcinogens. The amount of TCE and PCE determined in the water at Camp Lejeune far exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established safety standard of 5 parts per billion, each. (4) (5)

These two water supply systems provided water to unmarried service personnel and families of enlisted Marines. They also supplied water for administrative offices, schools, and recreational areas. In addition, one of the water systems furnished water for the base’s hospital, an industrial area, and housing on Holcomb Boulevard’s water system. (6)

A primary source of the contamination was determined to be from “spills and improper disposal practices” of an off-base dry cleaner. (7)

People drank, cooked with, and bathed in contaminated water repeatedly — usually  over long periods of time. Additionally, people inhaled steam from contaminated water, often during cooking or showering. At the time, they could not get medical coverage or qualify for disability.

What Illnesses Qualify for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

Chemical contaminated water can lead to many life-threatening cancers and diseases. Some conditions linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water include: (8)

These diseases and ailments are the health conditions that the Veterans Administration has identified as qualifying conditions. It includes conditions identified by the U.S. government as having a causal relationship with the chemicals present at Camp Lejeune.

How Many Victims Are There of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

Victims are not limited to veterans, military personnel, and their families. Victims include contractors, civilian employees, and residents of the areas surrounding the base — if their water came from the two affected water systems. In fact, it is believed that there could be as many as 1 million victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination. (9)

As of January 2024, 1,500 lawsuits have been filed with the federal court. In March of 2024, over 170,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims had been filed with the U.S. Navy. (10)

If you or a loved one is a victim of water contamination at Camp Lejeune, our team of experienced lawyers is here to fight for you. Get started with your free case evaluation today.

(833) 977-3437

Has Anyone Received Compensation from Camp Lejeune?

Settlements have been paid under a voluntary Elective Option program released by the Department of the Navy and Department of Justice. Although payout amounts for each case are currently confidential, the framework outlines a range of potential financial awards based on the specific eligible criteria. Additional settlements are expected throughout 2024.

The Elective Option allows the Department of the Navy “to pay a maximum value of $550,000 to resolve an administrative claim,” according to a Navy website. (11)

These “expedited resolutions” are only available under certain conditions, and only for the following injuries: (12)

  • Bladder cancer.
  • Kidney cancer.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Leukemia.
  • Liver cancer.
  • Multiple myeloma.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Systemic sclerosis/scleroderma.

What Is Evidence for Claims?

Documentation is your best evidence for Camp Lejeune water contamination claims. The documents you should provide to your attorneys include:

  • Military records.
  • Military orders.
  • Military housing assignments.
  • Employment contracts.
  • Birth certificates or adoption papers.
  • Marriage licenses.
  • Rental agreements or mortgage papers.
  • Utility bills.
  • Medical records.
  • Medical bills or receipts for medications and treatments.
  • Written diagnosis from a medical provider.

These documents are used to add credibility to your claims regarding exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Camp Lejeune Settlement?

No one can say for sure how long a given case may take to reach a settlement. However, in cases of this scope and complexity, it often takes several years.

For individuals currently engaged in Camp Lejeune lawsuits, staying informed is crucial. The landscape of Camp Lejeune claims is dynamic, with the potential for a large number of new claims and future settlements.

What Is the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update?

All claims filed with the Department of the Navy are reviewed for the Elective Option settlement. If your claim is not resolved during the administrative process, you have the option to file a lawsuit in federal court.

In federal court, Weitz & Luxenberg spearheads litigation on behalf of victims from all over the country. We are a recognized leader in this effort. In July 2023, Robin Greenwald, was appointed by the Camp Lejeune lawsuit Court as co-lead counsel. She is a W&L partner and co-chair of our Environmental Toxic Torts and Consumer Protection Litigation group.

What’s the Status on Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Currently, Plaintiff’s Leadership Counsel is proceeding with the bellwether trial process approved by the court. Preliminary trials are expected to be heard starting in 2024.

How Can Weitz & Luxenberg Help Me?

If you were injured while stationed at Camp Lejeune, you and your family deserve compensation for your pain and suffering. The W&L team does everything legally possible to help you.

It is not too late to file a claim, if you or a family member suffers from a disease or medical condition in connection with your time spent at Camp Lejeune. We urge you to contact our attorneys at W&L. Call (833) 977-3437 for a free initial consultation.

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