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Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit: Who Are Eligible For Claims?

Last updated: November 12, 2023

The new law signed by President Biden provides plaintiffs with a means of suing the federal government for damages resulting from cancer, congenital disabilities, and other severe health consequences. This guide will explain how to file a claim, how you can file your claim, and what to expect along the way.

Veterans and their families at Camp Lejeune have been fighting in court for more than three decades for justice and compensation. By signing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the government will no longer be protected from lawsuits related to contaminated water supplies at the camp.

If you or a loved one were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, a seasoned personal injury attorney could assist you with your legal options.

Brief History

One of the worst environmental disasters in US history occurred at Camp Lejeune's toxic water contamination. More than 750,000 Marines, their families, and civilian workers at the base drank water from two toxic wells contaminated by industrial chemicals from the 1950s to the 1980s.

The wells were already damaged when the government closed them in 1987. Thousands of Marines have suffered devastating health effects from exposure to a toxic cocktail of chemicals, such as bladder and kidney cancer, infertility, and leukemia. Camp Lejeune's water was contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the early 1980s.

Water wells at the camp contained the following VOCs:

  • The solvent tetrachloroethylene (TCE) is used for metal cleaning
  • Dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
  • Vinyl chloride: TCE and PCE break down into vinyl chloride over time
  • Benzene, a chemical used in plastics, resins, and other products

Multiple sources of toxic contamination contributed to the contamination of the water. Several spills and leaks occurred from waste disposal sites and underground storage tanks near Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point Treatment Plants.

These toxic substances contaminated the groundwater as they soaked into the aquifers and leached into the groundwater.

Who Is Eligible To File A Camp Lejeune Damages Claim?

A claim for damages may be filed by anyone who lived, worked, or was otherwise exposed to Camp Lejeune drinking water from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. The group includes the following:

  • The above period of military service at Camp Lejeune was for veterans who served in the military
  • Veterans' family members who live on the base
  • Residents or workers on the base who were civilians

Can Family Members Sue On Behalf Of Deceased Loved Ones?

That's right. An individual exposed to contaminated water during the specified period can file a claim on behalf of their relative or legal representative under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Representatives of the exposed individual may include their parents, children, spouses, or siblings.

Can A Non-Veteran Sue For Injuries?

If you wish to file Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits, you can still do so. People - not just veterans - who lived, worked, or were otherwise exposed to Camp Lejeune's water between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, can bring a lawsuit against the government under the new law.

A large group of individuals can be included in this category, including veterans, civilian workers, contractors, and family members of veterans, including those inside the womb at the time and those exposed during their pregnancy.

Can I File A Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit If I've Received VA Disability Benefits?

Certainly, Camp Lejeune lawsuits can be filed even if you've already received VA disability benefits. You will be compensated for any damage awards you may receive under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 if you receive VA benefits.

You would have a total award of $50,000 if, for instance, you receive a $100,000 settlement due to your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in 2022, in addition to your already paid-out VA disability benefits of $50,000.

How Are Compensation Amounts Determined?

In addition to individual factors, the class action group will also play a role in determining your compensation. In the following sections, we will discuss these factors in more detail.

Individual Case Factors

Based on the strength of your particular case, we will consider the first set of factors. There are several factors to consider:

  • You must have a qualifying, diagnosed condition that is severe
  • During the period of August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, you must have lived at Camp Lejeune
  • The conditions you have already been diagnosed with
  • Records of your medical treatment and injury documentation
  • Your particular illness is linked to contaminated water based on scientific evidence
  • Expenses for lost wages and medical care you have incurred as a result of your exposure

An experienced class-action attorney can estimate how much your case is worth based on the individual medical factors that may affect it.

Class Action Group Factors

There is a second set of factors to consider depending on the entire class action lawsuit group. The following are among them:

  • Each person's share of the settlement will depend on the number of people who join the water contamination at Camp Lejeune lawsuit (this will affect the amount each person gets)
  • Damages suffered by the entire class-action membership.
  • A fund that is set aside by the government for compensation of victims (also called the "class fund").
  • It is impossible to predict how many people will join the lawsuit, even though 750,000 people were exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

According to the CBO report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the cost of the Honoring our PACT Act at $667 billion over a 10-year period. There are estimated to be $6.1 billion in payments associated with Camp Lejeune's settlement claims.

Should I Be Aware Of Any Lawsuit Deadlines?

The deadline for filing a water contamination lawsuit against Camp Lejeune is limited, so you'll need to act quickly. Litigants must file their claims within two years of the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Your Damages Lawsuit

Affected veterans and civilians often wonder how to be a part of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Suppose you or a loved one were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and were diagnosed with a qualifying illness.

In that case, it may be worthwhile to speak to a personal injury lawyer with Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation experience to learn what the law suggests we can do to help you with your claim.

Through their knowledge, resources, and dedication, experienced personal injury attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve. A few examples of what they will do are as follows:

  • Assemble critical medical records and evidence supporting your claim after thoroughly investigating your case
  • Building a solid case on your behalf requires consulting with the best experts
  • You can focus on your health while they handle all legal paperwork and deadlines for your case
  • Make sure you are compensated as much as possible by negotiating with the government
  • Take your case to trial if needed and fight for you every step of the way

How Much Will An Attorney Charge?

Personal injury attorneys commonly use contingency fee agreements. Therefore, your Camp Lejeune lawyers only earn compensation if they recover your compensation. A percentage of the settlement recovered in your case is all you have to pay them, and there are no upfront costs or hourly rates.

Attorneys specializing in personal injury do not present any financial risk to their clients. Contact an attorney today for a free consultation if you were affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination.

To learn more about different types of disability and the associated cash compensation for the affectees of Camp Lejuene water contamination, please visit DisabilityHelp.org today!

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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