The Camp Lejeune water contamination story is one of the most devastating ones for people who had a loved one there between the 1950s and 1980s.
Due to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the water of Camp Lejeune back in those years, many workers at the local U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp were exposed to drinking toxic liquids, causing sickness and even death.
Thankfully, family members of the victims still have time to file wrongful death claims and seek compensation for all the damages caused by this water contamination case.
This article by Ehline Law will cover the water contamination case in the area, as well as how loved ones of deceased Camp Lejeune victims can file a lawsuit today to recover damages.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination case is considered, by many, one of the worst public drinking water contamination cases in history.
This case was so severe that it got the camp listed as a “Superfund Site” back in 1989 and caused a lot of Camp Lejeune lawsuits over the years.
Let’s dive deeper into what happened at Camp Lejeune and how former Camp Lejeune residents got affected:
Camp Lejeune’s base once was one of the most important ones to Marines. It was founded back in 1941 in North Carolina. At the moment, it was one of the largest and busiest bases within the Marine Corps.
According to reports by the Marine Corps, they disposed of waste with the “common practices of the time.” However, many records later showed that Marines used to dump industrial wastewater and oil in storm drains.
Moreover, Marines also buried potentially radioactive materials, as the reports state. One of the most severe factors in the Camp Lejeune water contamination case was a dry-cleaning business that used to dump wastewater with chemicals into the drains.
In essence, the Marine Corps, upon investigation in the 1980s, discovered many toxic chemicals and volatile compounds in the Camp Lejeune drinking water, particularly in the Hadnot Point/Tarawa Terrace treatment plants.
According to victims who were exposed to contaminated drinking water, the Marine Corps knew the wells were contaminated and didn’t act accordingly to address the issue, causing Camp Lejeune residents to drink contaminated water for several years.
To put things in perspective, the concentrations of toxic chemicals in the water we up to 240-3400 times higher than what the current safety levels state.
The water contamination case in Camp Lejeune caused thousands of people in the area to get sick and die prematurely from cancer, leukemia, and other related ailments. It wasn’t until 1999 that the Marine Corps started to notify Camp Lejeune base members that they “might” have consumed toxic water.
The toxic chemicals found in the Camp Lejeune drinking water included:
Unfortunately, PCE was found to be a suspected carcinogen. Additionally, the Marines didn’t disclose to people that they discovered benzene in the water and also claimed that the EPA, at the moment, didn’t mandate “safe” levels of TCE and PCE.
According to reports, the USMC omitted the presence of benzene in drinking water from their 1992 federal health review, although they were well aware that it was there.
Between 700,000 and 1 million residents in Camp Lejeune got exposed to toxic drinking water. The people exposed include:
The chemicals mentioned before are known to cause a wide range of health problems; most of them being life-threatening ones. Some of these dangerous health conditions include:
If you or a loved one were exposed to the contaminated water in Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to process a lawsuit. On the other hand, those who lost a loved one due to the Camp Lejeune water contamination case can file a wrongful death claim with the help of a lawyer.
Since the Camp Lejeune case happened decades ago, many of the people who got exposed to these toxic chemicals have already passed away. While nothing can take the pain of losing a loved one, filing wrongful death lawsuits can help people seek monetary compensation for all the suffering that incident caused.
To start your legal process for a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit, your loved one must meet a few requirements:
Knowing if your loved one met all of those requirements can be hard, especially due to how long ago the case happened.
Still, if you have any doubts about your eligibility for a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit, feel free to talk to one of our expert lawyers at Ehline Law. We will be more than happy to walk you through your available options.
Even though the case happened decades ago, there are still people eager to seek justice and file a lawsuit for deceased Camp Lejeune residents.
Thanks to the efforts of many people, the US Congress approved the Camp Lejeune Justice Act as part of the “Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.”
Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, people can file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit today to seek compensation for their (or their loved ones) exposure to toxic water.
Additionally, the statute of limitations for these wrongful death lawsuits was extended to August 2024, giving people at least two years to file them.
It doesn’t matter if the victim passed away years or decades ago; you can file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Considering the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was just recently passed, it’s early to determine an average for what you could win from your wrongful death claim; no settlements have been awarded yet.
However, what we can say is that your settlement amount will depend on many different factors, which we’ll explain below.
Generally speaking, the more evidence you have for your wrongful death claim (or lawsuit in general), the higher the chances are to win more money. It also helps to work with a reputable lawyer that understands North Carolina law thoroughly.
Were you affected by a Camp Lejeune death in your family? Let us help you seek compensatory damages. As mentioned before, Camp Lejeune claims can get affected by different factors, such as the following ones:
The Victim’s Age Upon Death
It’s vital to note that many people suffered from poor health conditions for years before they died. In that sense, the legal system will evaluate the victim’s age when they were diagnosed with said health condition and their age when they passed away.
As part of the evaluation, the legal system will also consider how the victim’s life was affected by the condition they had.
Victims who had to go through numerous expensive medical treatments before passing away may get considered for higher settlements for their living families.
Overall, the higher the medical expenses the victim had, the more likely the family is to earn more money after filing the Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim.
While some victims were able to live for years even after being exposed to the contaminated water, others weren’t able to keep working normally, and some people even died prematurely.
A person who died prematurely translates to a greater lost earning potential, which a lawyer can use as an argument to ask for a higher settlement.
The Length of Time Spent at the Base
The primary requirement for people to process a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit is for the victim to have spent at least 30 days in the base.
However, there were some people that spent much more time than that, which means they were exposed to Camp Lejeune’s water supply for longer.
Depending on how long the victim spent on the base, the family members could for a higher settlement in their Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim.
Number of Dependents the Victim Had
If the Camp Lejeune veterans were found to be responsible to provide for dependent family members, Camp Lejeune lawyers could use that as an argument to get their clients better financial compensation. This applies to the victims’ spouses and children.
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs already offers veterans a wide range of health services and benefits. Even though there are many VA claims for Camp Lejeune’s case, some veterans claim that the organization has made it hard for them to get benefits already.
In that sense, some veterans worry that filing a lawsuit will make it harder for them to get VA benefits. However, thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, any claims made for the Camp Lejeune case, including wrongful death ones, won’t affect VA’s health care benefits.
Losing a loved one to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water case is already devastating enough, so let us help you seek the financial compensation you and your family members deserve to move on and pay for any pending medical expenses from the victim.
In these cases, it’s vital that you work with a reputable lawyer that understands North Carolina law and wrongful death tort laws perfectly to increase your chances of winning.
Our team at Ehline Law will take care of every step of the lawsuit process, which includes gathering evidence, filing the Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit, and negotiating a reasonable payout for you.
Contact our expert team of wrongful death legal counselors at (833) LETS-SUE for more information.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.