Posted On October 9, 2022 Product Liability and Class Action News
Anyone who was at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987 may have ingested toxic drinking water, which could be responsible for serious health problems, including cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s, miscarriages, birth defects and many other illnesses.
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered volatile organic compounds in the groundwater provided by two of the eight water treatment plants on base. Significant scientific and medical evidence has revealed an association between exposure to these contaminants and the development of certain diseases. Officials believe that contamination at this base is one of the most significant water contamination cases in the country’s history. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that nearly 900,000 service members were potentially exposed to the contaminated water.
In response to the growing concern about the health effects of the water contamination, the VA established presumptive service connection and cost-free health care for qualifying service members exposed to the contaminants from Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. However, these benefits often fall short of fully compensating the contamination victims. Further, historically, Camp Lejeune water contamination victims were barred from bringing suits against the federal government.
Learn more about Camp Lejeune history with our water contamination timeline resource
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a bill that could allow military families to seek justice for the injuries and damages incurred because of water contamination.
Typically, the federal government retains immunity from liability from suits by servicemembers in the military context. The bar on recovery does not rely on the military status of the tortfeasor. Rather it prohibits all claims on behalf of servicemembers against the federal government based upon service-related conditions and injuries. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 seeks to override the significant legal hurdle that has made such lawsuits impossible.
With bipartisan support, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, H.R.6482, passed as part of a broad piece of toxic legislation. The Bill establishes a cause of action for those harmed by exposure to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and for other purposes. If the legislation receives Senate approval and becomes law, it will enable individuals who suffered on-base water contamination–even in utero– to pursue lawsuits for their illnesses.
For more than three decades, Marines and Naval personnel, residents, and civilian workers were exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), vinyl chloride, benzene, and other contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
Exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of various health-related problems, including birth defects and cancers. Presently evidence suggests that the following diseases and conditions stem from water contamination at Camp Lejeune:
The effects of exposure to the chemicals on-base depend on when the person experienced exposure (such as during pregnancy or infancy). Further, the duration, amount, and avenue of exposure impact the likelihood and severity of the injury.
Learn more about the health consequences of water comsumption at Camp Lejeune.
If the Camp Lejeune Justice Act passes into law, individuals or their representatives who suffered exposure for at least 30 days from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, to drinking water on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will be able to file a claim for damages in the Eastern District of North Carolina against the United States government.
In toxic tort cases stemming from injuries caused by Camp Lejeune’s drinking water, the burden of proof is on the injured party to establish a connection between Camp Lejeune’s drinking water and their injuries. More specifically, a person bringing a claim must prove that the connection between the groundwater and their injury is:
Under the terms of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, injured parties must file a claim within two years of the Bill’s enactment.
It is important to note that under the Bill, any award made to a claimant will be offset by the amount of any disability award, payment, or benefit provided to the individual or legal representative. This includes payments the claimant receives through the VA, Medicare, or Medicaid.
If you or a loved one served or resided at Camp Lejeune between the years 1953 and 1987 and you have developed serious health problems, they may be due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. At the personal injury law firm of Console & Associates, P.C., we have more than 25 years of experience representing injury victims and their families in complex toxic tort cases. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients. And because we handle toxic tort cases on a contingency basis, we only get paid if we can secure compensation on your behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney today, call 866-778-5500 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.