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Fort Benning Water Contamination Lawsuit

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The Fort Benning water contamination lawsuits address the serious issue of environmental and health hazards caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in the water supply at this military base. 

Now known as Fort Moore, this military installation has gained notoriety not only for its strategic importance but also as a designated superfund site due to significant environmental contamination concerns (a superfund site allows the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up). 

The legal actions taken against Fort Benning seek to address the repercussions of exposure to these hazardous chemicals, often referred to as “forever chemicals”, because they persist in the environment and the human body. 

Victims of this contamination, including service members—often military firefighters—their families, and civilian employees, may be entitled to compensation for serious health effects attributed to PFAS exposure. 

Fort Benning Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates

The lawsuits concerning water contamination at Fort Benning are part of an evolving legal landscape, reflecting growing concerns over the impact of hazardous substances like PFAS and lead on public health. Here are some of the updates to note in this area:

Service members, including servicemen, their families, and civil employees who served, resided, or worked at Fort Benning, are entitled to sue over water contamination that caused PFAS or lead exposure-related illnesses. 

The Environmental Working Group and others have identified PFAS presence on 455 military bases and sites, including Fort Benning, shedding light on the extent of the contamination problem within the military bases. [1] This revelation has prompted increased scrutiny and calls for comprehensive cleanup efforts to protect service members and their families.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new drinking water limitations on six PFAS compounds, including PFOA and PFOS. [2]

Fort Benning Lawsuit Eligibility Criteria

You should understand the criteria you must meet to be able to file a Fort Benning water contamination lawsuit:

  • Direct exposure to hazardous conditions: If you’ve been directly affected by the hazardous conditions created in Fort Benning, like toxic water or toxic foam faced by many military firefighters, you may be able to file a claim. 
  • Timing of exposure: To be able to file a lawsuit, your toxic exposure to these hazardous conditions must have occurred within a specific time frame that aligns with the events or conditions cited in the lawsuit.
  • Evidence of harm: You’ll need to be able to provide evidence that the toxic exposure has led to health problems: for example, thyroid disease or kidney cancer. Medical records and expert testimony can help establish this connection for you and any affected family members.

Given the intricacies and nuances surrounding Fort Benning’s legal claims, it is strongly recommended that you speak with a law firm to determine if you qualify and have a case. 

An experienced lawyer can offer individualized advice, collect the evidence you’ll need, and lead you through the legal process to get the justice and compensation you need. 

Toxic Chemicals in Fort Benning Drinking Water

Fort Benning is a prominent United States Army post stationed in Columbus, Georgia. The military base is vital for the training, readiness, and deployment of US Army forces. However, its drinking water safety has been called into question recently. The major contaminants found in the drinking water supply at Fort Benning were:

PFAS are a family of human-made chemicals that have been utilized in a variety of industrial and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. These include firefighting foams (used for their fire suppressant properties), which are often employed at military installations for training exercises. 

PFAS are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not readily degrade in the surroundings and can accumulate over time in the human body. The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that PFAS exposure has severe health effects, such as cancer, thyroid disease, hormone disruption, immune system issues, and other health problems.

A 2018 survey conducted by Reuters on the levels of lead in Fort Benning led to troubling findings. Testing from five homes in the base indicated the presence of dangerously high levels of lead contamination, with one of the homes recording 58 times more lead than the federal safety restriction. [3]

Additionally, the medical records and documents acquired from Fort Benning Hospital highlighted that at least 31 children had been diagnosed with dangerous levels of lead over a 6-year period. [3] 

Lead poisoning can lead to serious health consequences, especially in children. It causes memory and cognitive issues as well as mental health and behavioral problems. This issue was said to have been discovered during unscheduled maintenance at the military base.

In investigations and environmental assessments at Fort Benning, other hazardous substances, apart from lead paint, contamination, and PFAS, have been identified. 

Thallium, a toxic metal that was previously found in rat poisons and insecticides, has also been identified in low levels. [4] It can have a range of adverse health effects, leading to damage to the nervous system and heart, liver, and kidneys, even with minimal exposure.

Arsenic was also found at Fort Benning water supplies. [4] Arsenic may contribute to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skin disorders, and some types of cancer after long-term exposure.

Health Risks of Drinking Contaminated Water Sources

Drinking PFAS-contaminated water can pose significant dangers. Some may manifest immediately, while others lead to severe long-term medical issues.

In terms of immediate symptoms, consuming contaminated water may result in a range of acute issues, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and throwing up. Skin rashes and eye irritation are also common immediate effects of consumption of or contact with toxic water.

Over time, the symptoms of toxic exposure can worsen. Lead contamination affects children more than it does adults, resulting in developmental delays, learning, and behavioral problems. 

Both lead and PFAS affect the nervous system in children and adults, and cognitive function deteriorates. Other concerns include reproductive issues and liver and kidney damage. Ulcerative colitis is another medical issue people have developed as a result.

One of the most detrimental health risks of toxic exposure is an increased risk of certain cancers, most often kidney cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

If you’re facing any of these difficulties after being exposed to these or other toxic chemicals on a military base, we’re here to help you pursue a PFAS contamination lawsuit

How to File a Fort Benning Water Contamination Lawsuit

For those impacted by PFAS contamination at Fort Benning, filing a lawsuit can provide you with the financial compensation and justice you deserve. Here’s what this process looks like:

  • Document your toxic exposure: Obtain documentation of when you or your family member spent time at the military base. Include any information about exactly where you resided or worked and would have come into close proximity with these chemicals.
  • Seek medical evaluation: If there’s a possibility you’ve experienced health problems as a result of water quality, undergo a complete medical evaluation to establish the correlation between your medical records and the polluted water
  • Consult with an attorney: Find a lawyer experienced in cases related to contamination at military installations. A lawyer who has experience with water contamination at Fort Benning will help you get what you’re entitled to.
  • Investigate your case: Your lawyer will have the necessary knowledge to examine your case in detail and collect evidence to substantiate your claims. This includes acquiring scientific information on the contaminated sources, consulting with medical experts, and speaking with other individuals who were affected.
  • File your lawsuit: Following the lawyer’s advice, filing a lawsuit may be the best course of action. 
  • Negotiate a settlement: Many cases are resolved before going to trial. Your lawyer will do their best to negotiate with the defendant and their attorneys/insurance companies to obtain an appropriate settlement offer.
  • Prepare for trial: If a settlement is not possible, your case will go to trial. Your attorney will present detailed evidence of your toxic exposure to the contaminant, the health impacts suffered, and expert testimony in court.

Evidence Needed to Support Your Claim

To build your claim for water contamination based on when you spent time at Fort Benning or similar locations, it is essential to gather evidence. Below is a list of the most common types of evidence that you or your family member will need:

  • Medical records: Records of all doctor visits, diagnoses, treatments, and other health-related records that will connect your health condition to the water contamination – for example, testicular cancer or other serious health conditions.
  • Proof of residency/employment: Military records and documents that prove that you lived or worked at Fort Benning at the time when the water there was contaminated.
  • Water quality reports: Official documentation and results of water testing that show the existence of contaminants in the water at Fort Benning
  • Expert testimonies: Statements from medical professionals, that will help to prove the connection between your medical condition and the toxic chemicals at Fort Benning, and statements from environmental experts in some cases.
  • Historical studies: Scientific research, governmental papers, or news articles regarding contamination at Fort Benning can help build your case.
  • Witness Statements: Testimonies from other individuals affected by the water contamination can support the claim that the issue was widespread and known.
  • Documentation of expenses: Receipts, bills, and records of expenses related to medical treatments, water filtration systems, or bottled water purchases that were necessitated by water contamination.

Given the complexities involved in pursuing a water contamination lawsuit like that of Fort Benning, working with a personal injury law firm early in the process is crucial. 

You Have Limited Time to File a Fort Benning Lawsuit

Statutes of limitations provide the maximum amount of time you have to file a lawsuit for water contamination at Fort Benning. 

These legal time limits vary depending on the state and can greatly influence your opportunity to hold parties accountable and obtain compensation. Considering the timeframes and the nuances of the water contamination legal process against military bases, it’s important to take action as soon as possible.

Fort Benning Lawsuit Financial Compensation Estimates

Due to various factors involved in estimating financial compensation in Fort Benning water contamination lawsuits, the potential compensation amount can vary quite a bit. However, victims should all be entitled to the following types of compensation: 

  • Medical expenses (current and future) 
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages in some cases 

Some factors affecting the compensation amount include the severity of the injury and the evidence proving the relationship between your condition and the Fort Benning water contamination.

For a better idea of what you may be entitled to, we strongly encourage you to contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation for help with your toxic exposure claim.

Contact a Fort Benning Water Contamination Lawyer Today!

Jonathan Rosenfeld, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or your family members have been affected by the water contamination at Fort Benning, one way to secure the justice and compensation you are entitled to is to pursue legal action. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has the necessary knowledge and dedication needed to fight for you. 

Whether you want to discuss your options regarding a lawsuit or are just looking for more information, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today. Our legal team is ready to provide you with the assistance and advice you need from the very first consultation. 

Reach out online or call us at (888) 424-5757.

Resources: [1] ewg, [2] EPA, [3] Reuters, [4] US Army Environmental Command

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