Free Consultation:212-766-5222
212-766-5222
Leav and Steinberg Team

Your Contaminated Water Claim: How a Camp Lejeune Lawyer Can Help

In 1982, the United States Marine Corps discovered volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, supplied by two on-base treatment plants. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, approximately 1,000,000 military and civilian staff, as well as their families, were exposed to the contaminated water during a period of over three decades. Due to delayed intervention from the federal government, the detrimental health risks from the consumption of the toxic chemicals were not identified until years later, leading to severe illnesses, diseases, and even death. If you were exposed to this contaminated water — whether military personnel or a family member — a Camp Lejeune lawyer can help you navigate your claim and receive compensation for damages.

Veteran saluting at the flag

What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?

As restitution for the government’s neglect, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a federal remedy currently pending approval from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for victims to receive justice for any pain, loss, and suffering caused by the military base’s water contamination. Recently, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 became part of the Honoring our PACT Act, assuring access to federal justice through the court system. Once President Biden signs the proposed bill into law, residents of Camp Lejeune, active duty members, civilians, and their families will be able to sue for financial compensation from the U.S. Government within two years of its passing. 

Who Qualifies for Water Contamination Benefits?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, victims of Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water may be eligible to receive federal benefits. These benefits cover healthcare for 15 conditions, as well as disability and healthcare benefits for eight presumptive diseases linked to the water contaminants at Camp Lejeune. The presumptive conditions for healthcare for veterans and family members include:

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

The eight presumptive diseases for disability benefits include:

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

Those eligible for the benefits include veterans, the National Guard and reserve members, and family members of those who served at the camp for at least 30 days from 1953 to 1987. In addition, the primary caretaker of an individual who succumbed to the effects of water contamination at Camp Lejeune can also sue on their behalf. The eligibility for financial relief from the government for the victims includes exposure to contamination for at least 30 days.

Requirements to file a Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit 

While filing a compensation lawsuit for Camp Lejeune water contamination, you must meet certain eligibility criteria to prove the damages you have faced. To file a claim for health and disability benefits, you must submit service personnel records showing that you served at Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, in active duty, reserve, or a National Guard role. This also applies to their dependent family members — spouses, parents, or children — exposed to water contamination at the camp; evidence must support your relationship to the veteran and that you lived at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days during the applicable timeframe. Lastly, your water contamination lawsuit must be equipped with medical records that prove that you have been diagnosed with at least one of the corresponding health problems, as well as the date of your diagnosis and evidence of your treatment.

The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney 

Currently, victims of Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water are unable to sue the U.S. government for compensation due to North Carolina’s statute of repose, which bars people from filing lawsuits after a certain time has passed. Until the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 overrides this time limit and allows victims to seek federal compensation, affected military personnel, family, and caretakers can receive justice by applying for benefits through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

When crafting your legal claim, a personal injury attorney can provide an expert opinion on the link between your condition and the base’s contaminated water, in addition to ensuring that you receive the benefits you are entitled to. These attorneys can investigate your case, explain the process of claiming your financial compensation or health benefits, and negotiate a fair settlement in court — once eligible. In addition, if you have already applied for VA disability benefits and have been denied, a Camp Lejeune lawyer can help to file an appeal on your behalf. 

Camp Lejeune Attorney FAQ

What toxic chemicals were found in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune? 

For at least three decades, Camp Lejeune was supplied with water contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene. 

How do I know if lawyers contacting me are legitimate? 

Before engaging a Camp Lejeune attorney in your claim, it’s important to verify the legitimacy of anyone approaching you for legal services. To verify that your lawyer is licensed to practice in your state, check the state bar profile available online. In addition, it’s recommended that you visit the attorney’s website and look for any accolades related to law, publications, and even client testimonials that may bolster their credibility.

How the Leav & Steinberg LLP Team Can Help

At Leav & Steinberg LLP, our team of highly experienced attorneys is dedicated to representing you in your Camp Lejeune claim and getting you the justice you deserve. We consider every aspect of your case and assess how the injury, illness, or losses from water contaminants at Camp Lejeune have affected you and your loved ones in the long run. Once the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 passes, our law firm will help you bring suit and receive compensation for your hardships.

Start Your Water Contamination Claim

The Leav & Steinberg LLP legal team stands firm in our mission of helping service members attain justice and the health benefits to which they are entitled. Our law experts can help you understand your legal options with regard to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 and prepare you to move forward with your contaminated water lawsuit. To get started on your personal injury claim, request a free consultation with our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers today.