Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Legislation has made it possible for Camp Lejeune contaminated water victims to recover compensation for their injuries. The O’Mara Law Group mass torts practice can help victims who may have been exposed claim their rightfully deserved compensation.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara

Content last updated on: December 19, 2023

From 1953 to 1987, water contamination at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base exposed many to harmful substances, leading to potential health issues. Our attorneys specialize in seeking justice and compensation for those affected.

Understanding Camp Lejeune's Water Contamination

Residents at Camp Lejeune unknowingly used contaminated water for daily activities like drinking, bathing, and cooking, trusting in the military’s assurance of safety. Investigations by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) revealed that the base’s water sources were tainted with harmful volatile organic compounds, including:

  • Perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene)
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Benzene
  • T-1,2-dichloroethylene (a trichloroethylene byproduct)
  • Vinyl chloride

The contamination stemmed from various sources, notably:

  • Improper waste disposal by ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning facility
  • Leaks from underground storage tanks
  • Spills in industrial areas
  • Waste disposal sites

The military’s awareness of this issue dates back to at least 1982 when these compounds were first detected. Despite this early detection, the military did not immediately inform personnel or their families, nor did it shut down the affected wells until 1985.

Eligibility for Compensation in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

In order to qualify for the various benefits and compensation associated with a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, individuals, including veterans, must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The individual must have lived at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days, whether continuously or intermittently, during the specified period (August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987).
  2. The individual must have experienced an injury directly linked to the water contamination, manifesting as adverse health effects or a medical condition as outlined above.

When should I contact an attorney?

The Camp LeJeune Justice Act was passed on August 10th, 2022, with a 2-year statute of limitations. The number of victims is substantial, and many cases are expected.

Contacting a qualified mass tort attorney now will allow them to get a head start on preparing your case and ensure it is filed before the August 2024 deadline. Even if you’re not sure if you have a case, consulting with one of our attorneys is free and can help you understand your legal options.”  

Health Impacts of Camp Lejeune's Water Contamination

There’s also a long list of health issues in this section. I suggest organising that information into categories. The section should also link the health effects of Camp Lejeun’s contaminated water to the legal implications, which the current content doesn’t exactly do. Here’s a rewrite suggestion:

The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has led to severe and sometimes fatal health conditions, underscoring the need for legal redress. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has linked the water contamination to a wide range of serious health problems, including:

  • Blood Disorders: bone marrow disorders, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Birth-related Issues: Various birth defects, fetal death, low birth weight, miscarriages, neural tube defects, oral cleft defects, and developmental issues
  • Cancers: including bladder, brain, breast, cervical, esophageal, Hodgkin’s disease, kidney, leukemia, liver, lung, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian, prostate, rectal, and soft tissue cancers
  • Autoimmune and Immune Disorders: Impaired immune function, hypersensitivity skin disorder, scleroderma
  • Organ disorders: end-stage renal disease, liver cirrhosis.
  • Neurological Effects: Attention deficits, color vision impairment, decreased blink reflex, delayed reaction times, mood changes, short-term memory impairment, visual perception issues, and Parkinson’s disease

Justice for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Victims

Camp Lejeune water contamination victims have suffered severely as a result of the contaminated water, becoming ill themselves or losing loved ones. They served our country, and they deserve justice. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 allows victims, including military personnel, their families, and civilian employees, to bypass previous limitations and file lawsuits for compensation. The act addresses the inadequacies of the Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits system, which had a notably low approval rate for claims.”

Justice Denied

Justice was previously denied to those who were wrongfully exposed to toxic drinking water, thanks to the North Carolina statute of repose, which prohibits victims from filing a civil lawsuit against a negligent party more than ten years after the last cause of action. By the time most victims had learned about the contamination, the ten-year period had already lapsed.

Jerry Ensminger is a retired marine whose nine-year-old daughter tragically died of leukemia after being conceived, born, and raised at Camp Lejeune. According to ABC News, he first learned of the water contamination in 1997, after wondering for over a decade why his daughter had suffered such a fate.

The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012

Jerry Ensminger fought for justice for Janey and the other military families who had been poisoned by Camp Lejeune water. In 2012, his efforts resulted in the passage of a bill named after his daughter, which allowed veterans and their affected family members to receive Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

VA Claims for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

To receive VA benefits, military personnel and their families must file a claim with the VA. The VA offers disability payments and medical care to Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. To qualify, claimants must prove they lived on the base for at least 30 days during the prescribed period and have a health condition that can be traced back to the contamination.

Disability benefits are available to reservists, guardsmen, and veterans who have been diagnosed with a disabling condition that can be traced back to the Camp Lejeune water contamination. The VA has established a list of eight specific health conditions that qualify for a presumption of service connection. These conditions are as follows:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

While the VA offers health care benefits to most veterans, service-connected injuries and illnesses receive enhanced benefits. The VA provides a presumption of service connection for health care for the following 15 conditions:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

VA health care for families occurs in the form of reimbursement for costs related to the care of any of the 15 presumptive conditions.

Despite the severity of the injuries suffered, veterans and their families have experienced extreme difficulty receiving the benefits to which they are entitled through the VA.

Many of the illnesses victims experience are not on the list of presumptive conditions, and according to a CBS News report, only 17.3 percent of applications are approved. This figure was as low as one percent at one point.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The shortcomings of the VA claims process underscore the need for a civil solution. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which has been added to the Honoring Our PACT Act, was signed into law on August 10, 2022. This law will allow water contamination victims at Camp Lejeune to circumvent the North Carolina statute of repose and file a Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit.

This will also provide affected civilian employees with a means to claim compensation.

Because the class-action lawsuit is still pending trial, there has not been a settlement yet, and speculating on paraquat lawsuit settlement amounts can be tricky. However, your personal injury attorney from O’Mara Law Group will fight hard for the maximum settlement you’re entitled to.

What types of Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts are expected?

This will be the first opportunity Camp Lejeune water contamination victims have had to file a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit, so there is no means by which to estimate settlement amounts.

Factors that contribute to an individual payout for Camp Lejeune victims include the extent of the injuries, the losses suffered, and the lifelong impact of those damages. Lawsuits may include personal injuries and wrongful death.

The types of damages that may be available include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost business opportunities
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of society

Punitive damages are not available.

O’Mara Law Group Is Accepting Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Cases

Mark O’Mara, the founder of the O’Mara Law Group, has a distinguished 40-year history of helping good people through the most difficult experiences of their lives. Mr. O’Mara is an authority in legal matters, who has earned immense respect from his peers and his clients.

He has taught at several law schools, including Harvard Law School, and has served as president of the Seminole County Bar Association and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. O’Mara uses a team approach to get the best results for his clients. His respected status in the legal sphere has enabled him to assemble a team of some of the most high-powered attorneys in the field, leading to stellar results for his clients:

“The O’Mara law group is a very distinguished, client-focused and caring team that provides excellent care. They were able to help me in creative ways. My result was great and most of all satisfying. I would recommend seeing Mark and his team if you have any issues, regardless of the matter…”

— Irfan Siddiqui

Camp Lejeune water contamination victims finally have the opportunity to access to the compensation they richly deserve for the harm they have suffered, but the window of opportunity is short. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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