Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyers
Advocating for Those Affected by Toxic Water
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a 240-square-mile military training facility bordering the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Since its establishment in 1941, Camp Lejeune has housed millions of service members and their families and employed thousands of civilian workers.
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered toxic levels of contamination in the base water supply, believed to have begun in the 1950s, exposing all who resided or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. Though aware of the water contamination, the government failed to address the issue for decades, resulting in more than 1 million veterans, military workers, and their families suffering chronic or fatal illnesses due to toxic water exposure.
What Contaminants Were Found in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
Over 74 volatile organic compounds (VOC) were found in Camp Lejeune’s groundwater supply in concentrations of 240 to 3,400 times higher than allowed by safety regulations. The four most highly concentrated chemicals included:
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride
How Was the Water at Camp Lejeune Contaminated?
During the 1940s and 1950s, industrial contaminants and oil were discharged into the storm drains at Camp Lejeune, which began seeping into the area’s groundwater. Camp Lejeune housed two separate water systems. Due to weak environmental regulations, the base water supply was not thoroughly tested until the 1980s, when it was discovered that both systems suffered a series of contamination, predominantly by PCE and TCE. News of the contamination became public in 1984.
To make matters worse, it was discovered that storage tanks at the base fuel depot had leaked thousands of gallons of fuel into the surrounding earth, prompting the state of North Carolina to shutter the depot in 1989.
Decades later, the U.S. government finally took the initiative to address the contamination and acknowledge those who suffered harm from the toxic water exposure. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began providing disability benefits to qualifying veterans and their family members, and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was enacted to allow victims to file a lawsuit against the federal government for compensation.
What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
In 2022, following years of public pressure and activism for those harmed by the toxic water, Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, eliminating the obstacles preventing victims from seeking compensation. The passing of the Act also established government accountability and removed any possibility of immunity from Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits. The law is designed to be an “exclusive remedy” for those harmed by the toxic tap water at the military base, meaning individuals who receive compensation through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act cannot seek additional government compensation under any separate laws.
Who Is Eligible to File a Lawsuit for Water Contamination Exposure?
To be eligible for compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, impacted individuals must be able to show a causal relationship between the toxic water and their diagnosed illness or condition. Service members, their families, residents, workers, and civilians present at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 are eligible to seek compensation for the following illnesses or injuries:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Aplastic anemia
- Birth defects
- Birth complications
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- CNS cancer
- Cardiac birth defects
- Cervical cancer
- Choanal atresia
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Fetal death
- Hepatic steatosis
- Impaired immune system function
- Intestinal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer or cirrhosis
- Lung cancer
- Major malformations
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Neural tube defects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Oral cleft defects
- Ovarian cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Renal disease
- Renal toxicity
- Severe, generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder
- Small for gestational age
- Soft tissue cancer
If you or a family member worked or lived at Camp Lejeune between the affected dates and have been diagnosed with an eligible illness, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King can assess your case and discuss your legal options.
What Compensation Can I Seek for My Illness?
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates compensating Camp Lejeune victims over $20 billion in collective damages. The types of compensation vary case-by-case and may include economic damages, the actual costs of exposure and illness, and non-economic damages, which refer to the intangible expenses endured due to pain and suffering. Compensation may include but is not limited to:
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages and future earning potential
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement and disability
- Reduced quality of life
- Wrongful death and funeral expenses
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit?
The deadline for filing a claim is August 10, 2024, two years from the date the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law. Victims whose disability claims are denied by various federal agencies, such as the VA, are entitled to file a lawsuit within 180 days of the denial date.
Those who do not file a lawsuit before the deadline will forfeit their right to compensation, so it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced water contamination lawyer as soon as possible.
How Much Are Camp Lejeune Claims Worth?
Currently filed lawsuits are seeking over $3 trillion in damages, which is likely to increase as more are filed before the deadline. However, the requested figure is considerably higher than the government expects to disperse.
In September 2023, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Navy introduced the Camp Lejeune Elective Option to streamline the process and offer expedited payouts to those with five or more years of exposure and suffering a limited list of illnesses. Settlements vary from $100,000 to $450,000, depending on the type of illness and date of diagnosis. Wrongful death claims will receive an additional $100,000. The first three Elective Option payouts were issued in October 2023, totaling $850,000, and the government is awaiting responses to numerous other settlement offers.
At the Law Offices of Duane O. King, our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers are committed to seeking justice for veterans, their families, and others affected by the toxic water supply.
Our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Are Committed to Helping Victims of Toxic Water Exposure
If you or a loved one has suffered an illness from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, contact our experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.