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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

January 31, 2024

Over $400 Million worth of case results

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The right to health and safety is fundamental, an aspect of life many might not fully appreciate until it’s jeopardized. Sadly, countless people find themselves exposed involuntarily to dangerous toxins without their knowledge, like those experiencing serious health complications because of contaminated water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune military base.

People who were exposed have contended with an array of health complications for decades due to water pollution on the base. If you or your family encountered these conditions from the exposure to toxic waters at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Keep reading to learn more about filing a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit – from eligibility requirements to potential damages awarded. Our goal is to provide as much information as possible so that you can make informed decisions about seeking justice for yourself or your family members who have been affected by this tragic situation.

criteria to file a camp lejuene lawsuit and potential settlement values

What Is the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit About?

The Camp Lejeune lawsuit revolves around severe water contamination that occurred at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. From 1953 to 1987, the base’s groundwater supply became tainted with various harmful chemicals which resulted in potentially over one million individuals being exposed. [1]

Those facing exposure were not limited only to military personnel but extended also to civilian employees, veterans, and the families of those who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during this period. Tragically, long-term contact with these harmful chemicals has been associated with serious health consequences.

Who Qualifies for the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been and will continue to be filed by those who believe they endured health complications arising from their exposure to toxic water at the base. 

If you meet one of the following criteria, you may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit: 

  1. Lived or Worked at Camp Lejeune

You were a resident or worked on the Camp Lejeune marine base for at least 30 days during the contaminated water supply years (between 1953 and 1987).

  1. Life-Altering Illness

If you suffer from certain serious health issues linked to the contaminated water, you’re likely eligible.

  1. You Lost a Loved One

If your loved one lost their life due to illnesses associated with exposure to the polluted water at Camp Lejeune, you may qualify for filing a lawsuit on their behalf. 

The best way to determine if you meet the criteria for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit is to contact an attorney experienced in environmental and toxic tort law. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation with a Camp Lejeune lawyer.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Deadline

Under the provisions of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, affected individuals have from August 10th, 2022, to August 10th, 2024 to file lawsuits seeking redress for injuries caused by exposure to toxic water.

Any claims filed after this deadline will likely be dismissed, and claimants will lose the right to pursue justice and compensation related to this exposure. 

Make sure you contact a Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorney well ahead of this deadline to fully understand your rights, assess the specifics of your case and determine your eligibility. 

How to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit involves a specific process, and all steps must be followed, or you run the risk of being unable to recover compensation that could be owed to you. 

Here’s an overview of what you need to do to file a lawsuit:

  • File an Administrative Claim: Before filing a lawsuit, you must first file an administrative claim with the appropriate federal agency. The handling and processing of administrative claims related to Camp Lejeune is managed by The Tort Claims Unit (TCU) found within the Navy’s Office of The Judge Advocate General. 
  • Specify a Claim Amount: When submitting administrative claims, it’s crucial to specify an amount for the damages you’re seeking in your Camp Lejeune compensation. Failure to specify an amount could lead to forfeiture of your rights. 
  • Decision by the Judge Advocate General (JAG): After administrative claims are submitted, the Judge Advocate General (JAG) will review it. The JAG can either approve your Camp Lejeune claim, deny it, or offer a settlement. The JAG has 6 months to make a decision on your claim.
  • File a Federal Civil Lawsuit: When claims are denied, or if the Camp Lejeune settlement amounts offered are inadequate, you have the option to escalate your claim and file a lawsuit in a North Carolina federal court. Claims must be filed in either the Eastern District of North Carolina federal court or the Southern Division (for those who don’t live in the Eastern District). 
Flag at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina

Always Work With Camp Lejeune Lawyers

Anyone impacted by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune should get in touch with a legal representative or law firm specializing in environmental exposure cases. Such lawsuits are highly technical, requiring specialized knowledge and skills to build a successful case. 

Filing a Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit and arguing in front of a federal judge is not simple, but we’re here to help.

Evidence Needed to Support Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits

Gathering quality evidence is crucial in building a strong personal injury or mass tort case, especially in situations like the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Here are the types of evidence you should collect:

  • Documents Showing Residence at Camp Lejeune
  • Military Service Records
  • Medical Records and Diagnoses
  • Medical Bills
  • Travel Records
  • VA Health Care Information
  • Disability Benefits or VA Compensation Records

Damages That a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Lawyer Can Help You Recover

Damages refer to all the losses, both physical and mental/emotional, that you have incurred due to the injury or illness caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. What you can recover in a potential Camp Lejeune lawsuit includes:

  • Medical Bills: This typically includes expenses for hospital stays, doctor visits, medications, surgeries, medical tests, and any ongoing treatments. 
  • Pain and Suffering and Emotional Distress: This compensation addresses the physical pain and emotional distress that the victim has endured as a result of the illness. 
  • Lost Wages: This accounts for the time the victim was unable to work, as well as any future earnings lost if the victim cannot return to their previous employment. 
  • Loss Consortium and Decreased Enjoyment of Life: These non-economic damages compensate for the significant impact the illness has had on the victim’s quality of life and relationships.
  • Permanent Disability: This can include compensation for future medical care, adaptations needed for the home or vehicle, and the impact on the victim’s ability to work and engage in activities they once enjoyed. 
  • Wrongful Death Damages: If you lost a loved one as a result, wrongful death claims may be appropriate. Damages in this type of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit may include compensation for funeral expenses, lost income, loss of companionship, emotional distress of surviving family members, and punitive damages, if applicable.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be instrumental in evaluating these damages, ensuring that you receive fair compensation for all the losses and suffering caused by Camp Lejeune water contamination.

Camp Lejeune Attorney Fees

When you use the services of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for your Camp Lejeune claim, you won’t owe us anything upfront. We work based on a contingency fee agreement, which means we only receive payment if we successfully help you earn a settlement or court award.

By tying our fees to successful outcomes, we demonstrate sincere commitment towards achieving optimal results for every client. Additionally, the initial consultation is free and without any obligation.

What Is the Average Payout for the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

As the Camp Lejeune lawsuits are still unfolding, there isn’t a defined “average” payout for claimants. The Camp Lejeune settlement amount for each individual’s case will vary based on several factors, including the following:

  • The nature and severity of injuries or conditions suffered due to exposure
  • Strength of documentation proving a link between illness and contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
  • Duration spent on the base during crucial periods when contaminants were present

Camp Lejeune Settlement Estimations

To determine the potential Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts, it’s helpful to look at the elective options and understand what that means and how much these payouts have been. 

The Camp Lejeune elective option allows claimants to choose a more streamlined path to recover compensation. This option is designed to expedite the resolution of claims by avoiding the need for lengthy litigation. Plaintiffs who opt for this elective route typically agree to a predetermined settlement amount.

Regarding the payouts, they have been structured based on a tiered system, with Tier 1 and Tier 2 being the primary categories. This tiered system is designed to categorize claims based on the level of exposure to the contaminated water and its link to the condition. 

Tier 1 Elective Option Payouts

The Tier 1 elective option includes serious illnesses such as bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Settlement payouts under this option vary according to the length of time the claimant was exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:

  • Over 5 Years of Exposure: $450,000
  • 1-5 Years of Exposure: $300,000
  • 30-364 Days of Exposure: $150,000

Tier 2 Elective Option Payouts

The Tier 2 elective option in the Camp Lejeune settlement claims is designed for claimants who have developed certain serious conditions due to exposure but whose illnesses are considered less directly linked to the contamination compared to those in Tier 1. 

This tier includes conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, kidney disease (including end-stage renal disease), and systemic sclerosis or scleroderma. The settlement payouts under Tier 2 also vary based on the length of exposure:

  • Over 5 Years of Exposure: $400,000
  • 1-5 Years of Exposure: $250,000
  • 30-364 Days of Exposure: $100,000

For the elective option of both tiers, an extra payment of $150,000 is offered for those who lost a loved one as a result of the contaminated water. 

Possible Settlement Amounts Going Forward

Settlements that occur going forward for people who choose not to take the elective option could potentially fall within the previously mentioned ranges, but many legal professionals believe future settlements and verdicts could be much higher. 

The exact amount of each settlement will depend on various factors, including the severity of the illness, the age of the victim, the duration of exposure, evidence available to prove illnesses are likely linked to the toxic water, and other individual circumstances of each case.

Contact our Camp Lejeune lawyers to discuss the specifics of your case during a free case evaluation.

The Effect of Camp Lejeune Settlements Over VA Benefits

Camp Lejeune veterans who were previously concerned that filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit might compromise their VA disability benefits can rest assured; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has made it clear that seeking settlements through these lawsuits will in no way affect the right to VA disability and health care benefits.

This assurance is crucial, as those affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination may need both sources of compensation—settlements for damages and ongoing VA benefits—to fully address health impacts incurred from toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Attorney

The Time It Takes to Settle Camp Lejeune Cases

Settling Camp Lejeune claims does not have a specific timeline, as various factors can influence the duration of each case. The time it takes to reach a settlement can vary widely among claimants based on the following reasons:

  • Complexity of the Case: The complexity of an individual Camp Lejeune suit, including the severity of the health condition and the amount of evidence required to establish a link to the contaminated water, can significantly impact the time needed to reach a settlement.
  • Volume of Claims: The large number of Camp Lejeune claims being filed due to the widespread impact of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune can lead to delays in processing and adjudicating each case.
  • Legal Proceedings: Different stages of the legal process, such as filing claims, gathering evidence, engaging in negotiations, participating in a Camp Lejeune status conference, and potential court hearings, all contribute to the timeline. Additionally, any legal challenges or disputes can prolong the settlement process.
  • Government and Legal Response: The response and actions of the U.S. government and the legal teams involved can also affect the speed at which cases are settled.

Due to these variables, it’s challenging to predict an exact timeline for the settlement of these cases. Claimants should be prepared for the process to take time and should maintain communication with their Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers to stay informed about the progress.

Who Are the Defendants in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits?

In Camp Lejeune cases, the liable parties or defendants may include a variety of entities that are potentially responsible for the water contamination and its effects. These defendants can include:

  • The Federal Government: The main defendant in the Camp Lejeune civil cases is the federal government and claimants are attempting to make sure it is held accountable for the operation and oversight of Camp Lejeune. The lawsuits allege that government negligence led to the contamination of the base’s water supply and that there was a failure to adequately address the contamination or warn individuals about the associated risks.
  • Other Governmental or Regulatory Agencies: Certain lawsuits could also name additional governmental or regulatory bodies that had oversight or regulatory authority over environmental and health standards at the base. These agencies might be held responsible for lapses in enforcing regulations or failing to detect and address the contamination.
  • Businesses That May Have Contributed to Tainted Water Supplies: Some lawsuits could involve private businesses or contractors that worked at or near Camp Lejeune and may have played a role in causing or exacerbating the Camp Lejeune water contamination. This could include companies responsible for the disposal of hazardous materials or those involved in the operation of the water supply systems.

The best way to determine who is responsible for any illness you’re facing as a result of the water contamination is to speak with experienced Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyers.

Highway Sign Near Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

What Is the Status of the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

The Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group (PLG) filed a motion for partial summary judgment on causation, which, if granted, could simplify the Camp Lejeune lawsuits process for many Camp Lejeune victims. 

Specifically, it seeks a ruling on whether the Act necessitates only two things for a Camp Lejeune claim to be valid: a minimum of 30 days of residence or work on the Camp Lejeune base and a likely connection between the water and the disease in question. 

The motion is questioning whether this level of evidence is sufficient or if Camp Lejeune claimants must provide extensive additional evidence to establish a direct link between the water contamination and each specific illness. Resolving this brings everyone one step closer to litigation.

Currently, the Camp Lejeune litigation is set to begin trials in 2024. The first trials will involve cases related to specific illnesses such as bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease. There are likely to be new Camp Lejeune lawsuits in the upcoming months, with many different law firms involved.

Is There a Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act does not constitute a class action lawsuit. Instead, it’s legislation that permits many affected victims to pursue individual Camp Lejeune lawsuits. 

Unlike a class action where one or several individuals represent the interest of an entire group and there is typically one combined outcome, each claimant in this case has their own separate Camp Lejeune water lawsuit and potential for individual resolution.

How Many Camp Lejeune Claims Have Been Filed?

The number of Camp Lejeune claims filed is significant: more than 1,500 Camp Lejeune lawsuits and more than 150,000 administrative Camp Lejeune claims have been filed as of 2024. [2] 

The status of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits is dynamic and has witnessed a surge in claims since the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. 

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates

Here are the most notable Camp Lejeune litigation updates as of 2024:

  • Discovery and Upcoming Trials: Discovery is currently ongoing for the 100 Track 1 cases that were selected. These cases are being prepared for trial, with the trials set to begin in March 2024 (many likely to be jury trials, despite the government’s attempt to prevent this from happening)
  • DOJ Complains about Disparity Exposure Levels For Track 1 Cases: The Department of Justice asserts that plaintiffs in the Track 1 discovery pool, who were exposed to polluted water at Camp Lejeune for an extended period, don’t accurately represent all victims, leading to inaccuracies in evaluating the overall impact of exposure. 
  • Elective Option (EO) Progress: The government filed a joint status report on January 16, 2024, with the Camp Lejeune plaintiffs lawyers, which included details about progress in ongoing litigation.
    They identified 37 cases that were eligible for the Elective Option. Of these cases, 4 offers were accepted by plaintiffs, 3 were rejected, 6 expired, and 24 of the offers were still pending.
    An additional eight cases have been settled by the Department of Navy with the approval of the Justice Department.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney

About Camp Lejeune

Camp Lejeune is a United States Marine Corps base that plays a significant role in the training and deployment of marines. It was established in 1941 and has since been a key installation for the Marine Corps, providing facilities for training, housing, and support for military personnel and their families.

Where Is Camp Lejeune Located?

Camp Lejeune is positioned along the Atlantic coast of North Carolina and stretches across approximately 153,439 acres. Its seaside location offers a strategic advantage for marine maneuvers and serves as an optimal environment for amphibious assault training.

What Caused the Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?

The contamination of the Camp Lejeune water was primarily caused by toxic substances infiltrating two of the base’s water treatment plants, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point, due to various sources of pollution.

At the heart of the Tarawa Terrace contamination was the chemical substance called PCE (or perchloroethylene), a highly toxic pollutant. Incorrect waste disposal practices from ABC One-Hour Cleaners (a dry-cleaning company located off-base) were primarily responsible for introducing PCE into the water supply system at Tarawa Terrace. 

As for the Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant, it encountered a more diverse range of toxic substances, including trichloroethylene (TCE), and PCE, alongside other harmful chemicals resulting from the degradation of TCE. 

Several sources contributed to this pollution, such as leaky underground storage units located around the Camp Lejeune site, spills in industrial areas, and inadequate waste disposal practices across the base. Other toxic substances found in the water supply include benzene and vinyl chloride.

Is the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Legitimate?

The Camp Lejeune lawsuit is legitimate and grounded in scientific research and environmental testing, Various environmental tests performed on the base disclosed substantial quantities of hazardous chemicals and organic compounds in their water supply.

In-depth research further established a link between this contamination and significant health complications including, but not limited to, cancer and birth defects. [3]

The VA has determined that there is a presumptive service connection for those who were exposed to the contamination at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, who later developed one of the following conditions:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease [4]

However, you could still be eligible for compensation if you’re experiencing a different condition. The fact that the VA hasn’t recognized a link doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. 

Symptoms Arising From Camp Lejeune Contaminated Drinking Water

Exposure to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water has been linked to a range of acute symptoms affecting various bodily systems. These symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Skin rashes and irritation
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and numbness
  • Respiratory issues, including coughing, difficulty breathing, and asthma-like symptoms
  • Changes in taste or smell 
  • Eye irritation and vision problems
  • Behavioral changes, including mood swings and irritability
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Joint pain and muscle aches
  • Liver and kidney function abnormalities
  • Menstrual disorders and reproductive issues

It’s essential for individuals who experience these symptoms to be aware of their potential connection to the contaminated water and to seek medical evaluation and advice, as they could be related to more serious long-term health issues.

Camp Lejeune lawyers

Health Conditions Associated With Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

Long-term exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been associated with several serious health conditions, some of which can have lasting impacts on individuals’ health. These conditions include:

  • Various forms of cancer, including bladder, breast, kidney, and liver cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • End-stage renal disease and other kidney disorders
  • Liver diseases, including hepatic steatosis
  • Birth defects and miscarriages
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Scleroderma and other autoimmune disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease

Recognizing these health conditions is crucial for those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination, as they may be eligible to file a claim for medical treatment and compensation. 

We know money can’t solve all your problems, but it can help you find the road to recovery. Let our lawyers help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today. 

Is Camp Lejeune Still Open?

Yes, Camp Lejeune is still open and currently active. Despite its historical contamination, the base continues to be a pivotal installation for the U.S. Marine Corps, offering housing, training resources, and support facilities to military personnel and their families while also serving civilian employees.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (part of the PACT Act – Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) is a piece of legislation that was enacted in 2022, providing long-overdue relief for those affected by the water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. 

This crucial law allows veterans, civilian employees, and their families who were stationed there between 1953 and 1987 and experienced health issues to file claims against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Ultimately, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act makes it so the government cannot deny Camp Lejeune victims their long-awaited day in court.

 

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Lawyer

Contact a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney Today!

Navigating the aftermath of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and its consequent medical implications can be an emotionally strenuous journey, and it’s one that no individual should undertake without professional help. 

If you or a family member has been impacted by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, act now to secure the representation necessary for pursuing restitution. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers offers comprehensive legal assistance on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if compensation is won on your behalf.Don’t navigate this complex journey alone; reach out to us for expert guidance through each step of your case. Contact us online or call us toll-free at (888) 424-5757.

Resources: [1] ATSDR, [2] Reuters, [3] ATSDR, [4] VA

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