For a period of more than three decades, Marines, their family members, contract workers, and others were exposed to contaminated drinking water at Marines Corps Base Camp Lejeune. This contaminated water has since been linked to serious health conditions, including several cancers and birth defects. Until recently, Camp Lejeune victims have been unable to secure compensation for medical bills and other related damages.
At Prince Law Firm, we believe that the men and women who dedicated their lives to military service deserve better than to be denied compensation for exposure to toxic water. Fortunately, the passing of the Honoring Our PACT Act and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act created a legal pathway for veterans to hold the United States government responsible for contaminated Camp Lejeune water.
If you or a family member developed a serious health condition or passed away after being exposed to toxic substances during your years of service, Prince Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today to learn about the unrivaled representation that our Illinois Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers can provide.
The Honoring Our PACT Act
The Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act was first introduced in June 2021 with the intent of providing health care and benefits to all veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service.
The following details the timeline from the introduction of the Honoring our PACT Act to its passing:
- June 17, 2021 – The bill for Honoring our PACT Act is introduced by Representative Mark Takano.
- March 3, 2022 – The bill is passed by the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.
- June 16, 2022 – The bill is passed by the Senate with bipartisan support.
- June 24, 2022 – A blue slip objection over a tax provision in the Honoring our PACT Act is resolved, paving the way for final passage.
- August 10, 2022 – The Honoring our PACT Act is signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Included in the Honoring our PACT Act is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Whereas the Honoring our PACT Act secures the right of U.S. veterans exposed to toxic materials to receive health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act creates a legal pathway for those affected by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Historically, service members and their families have been barred from taking legal action against the federal government for service-related health conditions. If you served at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and have since developed related health issues, you may now seek compensation in a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit.
What Happened to the Water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune?
As early as Aug. 1953, water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Sources of contamination have been linked to:
- ABC One-Hour Cleaners (an off-base dry cleaner)
- Industrial site spills
- Underground storage tank leaks
- Improperly stored oil drums
The contaminants affected the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water-treatment plants, both of which serviced Camp Lejeune.
There were many key failures that allowed the continual contamination of the base’s drinking water for more than 30 years. Both federal and North Carolina law strictly govern the discharge of wastewater from commercial and industrial sources. Since 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency has been charged with the enforcement of proper wastewater and industrial chemical discharge.
Despite this, Camp Lejeune residents were continually exposed to harmful chemicals without any intervention from officials. As a result, many have since developed cancer, neurological defects, or birthed children suffering from birth defects.
Following the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, our attorneys are taking on clients who could benefit from Camp Lejeune settlement payouts. If you believe you may be owed compensation, contact our Marion, IL office to schedule a free case evaluation.
Toxic Chemicals Found in Camp Lejeune’s Drinking Water
Specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in water provided by both the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water-treatment plants. The following were found in the highest concentrations:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) – A known carcinogen, TCE is a common ingredient in refrigerants and degreasing solvents. Long-term exposure can cause liver damage and a variety of cancers, while immediate exposure can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion.
- Perchloroethylene (PCE) – Identified as a possible human carcinogen, PCE is the most commonly used dry cleaning solvent in the United States. Environmental agencies have determined that it is also a neurotoxicant and reproductive toxicant that may cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat upon exposure.
- Vinyl Chloride – Exposure to vinyl chloride puts individuals at an increased risk for liver cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma. It is a common component in many plastic products, including cable coatings and packaging materials.
- Benzene – Another carcinogenic substance, benzene can be found in plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers. Immediate exposure can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches.
Other toxic chemicals were found in lower concentrations in the water supply at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, including methylene chloride and toluene.
The Impact of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Harmful chemicals found in the water caused a wide range of serious health conditions and illnesses among Camp Lejeune victims. If you or one of your family members developed any of the following health issues after living or working at Camp Lejeune, you may have a valid claim to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked exposure to PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene to the following cancers:
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Soft tissue cancer
Not everyone exposed to a contaminated water supply will subsequently develop cancer. However, those who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 developed cancer at rates higher than the average population.
Although all of the above cancers have been linked to the water at Camp Lejeune, veterans, family members, and other workers are particularly vulnerable to developing kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, multiple myeloma, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) conducted over a period of three years determined that women who were pregnant between 1968 and 1985 while living on Camp Lejeune were much more likely to have children diagnosed with childhood hematopoietic cancer before the age of 20. In particular, the study found higher rates of both childhood leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Researchers traced these childhood cancers back to the consumption of contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune during the mother’s pregnancy.
At Prince Law Firm, we understand that members of the Marine Corps were not the only ones affected by the presence of toxic chemicals in the water. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act affords family members who were also present at the time of the water supply contamination the right to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits that seek compensation for health care benefits and much more.
Pregnant women who ingested the drinking water at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987 also had a much higher chance of giving birth to children with birth defects and other serious health issues. Health conditions present at birth in many of these children include:
- Spina bifida
- Cleft lip
- Cleft palate
- Choanal atresia
The lifetime medical costs for a child born with birth defects can be astronomical, far outpacing the earning capacity of most Illinois parents. A Camp Lejeune lawsuit seeking compensation for exposure to toxic chemicals in the drinking water can help families struggling with the cost of these types of health issues.
Toxic water contamination was also found to cause serious neurological health issues among those who served, worked, or lived at Camp Lejeune. Neurological problems can profoundly impact a person’s quality of life, including their ability to care for themselves and maintain gainful employment.
Anyone who has experienced the following neurological problems after serving at Camp Lejeune may be entitled to compensation:
- Short-term memory problems
- Visual perception deficits
- Attention deficits
- Delayed reaction times
- Decreased blink reflex
Definitively linking your neurological conditions to exposure to contaminated water requires expertise. At Prince Law Firm, our Camp Lejeune lawyers know how to investigate these types of claims, including confirming your military service record and reviewing your medical records for evidence that confirms what you already know—that the water contamination at Camp Lejeune caused your injuries.
Other Illnesses and Injuries
Other health issues that Camp Lejeune veterans have developed as a result of exposure to toxic substances include:
- Cardiac defects
- End-stage renal disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Impaired immune system functioning
- Severe generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder
- Aplastic anemia
- Liver cirrhosis
If you’ve developed a serious illness or health condition after exposure to a contaminated water supply, contact Prince Law Firm today to discuss your legal options with one of our Camp Lejeune attorneys.
What Base Facilities Used Contaminated Water?
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was serviced by the Hadnot Point and the Tarawa Terrace water-treatment plants. Both of these plants used water from wells contaminated with toxic chemicals like PCE, TCE, benzene, vinyl chloride, and more. That contaminated water was then used across the Marine Corps base, including at the following locations:
- Enlisted family housing
- Barracks used by unmarried service members
- Base administrative offices
- On-base schools
- Recreational areas
- Wallace Creek Fitness Center
- Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune
There was no safe water at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987.
Who Was Exposed To Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?
As a military training facility, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune hosted more than 750,000 Marines during the period of time that its water was contaminated. That water contamination has been strongly linked to the development of liver cancer, bladder cancer, and a number of other severe health conditions.
Anyone who was stationed, worked, or lived at Camp Lejeune for a period of at least 30 days between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987 was exposed to levels of toxic chemicals sufficient to cause the development of cancer, neurological issues, birth defects, and other health problems.
Following the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the attorneys at Prince Law Firm are prepared to help you file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Who Is Eligible to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Eligibility to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit hinges upon whether you or your loved one were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days at any point between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987 and developed serious health issues as a result. These lawsuits are not to secure VA benefits, so they are not limited to military service members.
At Prince Law Firm, we are meeting with anyone who has been harmed by the water at Camp Lejeune. Below are some of the individuals who may have a legal standing to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Active Duty Marines and Veterans
Marines and veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the time period that toxic chemicals were found in the water can file a lawsuit if they are now suffering from adverse health issues, such as cancer. You are still eligible even if you were not stationed at Camp Lejeune but were instead sent there for temporary duty (TDY) of at least 30 days.
If you are unsure of your eligibility, Prince Law Firm offers free case evaluations to injury victims who are ready to pursue a wide variety of personal injury claims.
Service Members From Other Branches of the Military
Although not common, service members from other branches of the military are sometimes stationed at Marine Corps bases. We represent anyone from the armed forces who was harmed by Camp Lejeune water, including those who served in the:
- Air Force
- Coast Guard
If you have been unsuccessful at securing disability benefits for your health issues through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit may be the most appropriate legal option.
It is important to understand the far-reaching implications of the long-term water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The toxic chemicals found in the water affected everyone at the base, not just the Marines who were stationed there.
Camp Lejeune families, including those who were born while their parents were stationed at the base, are also eligible for disability compensation via a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Spouses and children of former active duty Marines were the most commonly exposed family members.
The military employs contract workers to fill a wide range of roles on military installations. At Camp Lejeune, contract workers fill many of the following positions:
- Advisory roles
- Logistics and maintenance
- Intelligence gathering
- Technical services
- Security and escort services
Contract workers are not eligible for disability benefits through the VA. If you were a contract worker at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination and are now living with a serious health condition, contact us as soon as possible to get started on your water contamination lawsuit.
Military bases also employ many people in the local community. These men and women were also exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune during the course of their employment:
- Food service workers, including those employed at the Paradise Point Officers’ Club
- Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) workers
- Commissary workers, including cashiers, baggers, and stockers
- Landscaping workers
Contaminated water at Camp Lejeune posed a threat to everyone. Even if you never served in the military, you may still be owed compensation for health injuries related to water contamination.
What Type of Compensation Is Available in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Every lawsuit is unique, so Camp Lejeune settlement amounts will vary depending on the person. While we cannot say with any certainty what you may be owed without first meeting with you to discuss your case, we can go over the types of compensation that are typically available in this type of lawsuit.
The cost of health care for a serious or chronic health condition is steep. If your illness was caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you can seek compensation for your past, current, and future medical expenses, including:
- Co-pays for doctor visits, including primary care physicians and oncologists
- Surgical expenses
- Bills related to specialized care, including chemotherapy and radiation
- Prescription drugs
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Rehabilitative services
- Mobility aids, including wheelchairs and crutches
The medical evidence required to prove your case can be found in both your health care records and the bills that you have since received. We advise that you do not throw away any medical bills you receive, even if you’ve already paid them. This evidence can be crucial to your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Maintaining employment while also living with debilitating chronic illnesses can be impossible. If you were unable to work because of the health condition you developed after being exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you can pursue compensation for the income you lost.
Many injury victims also choose to seek compensation for reduced earning capacity. This takes into account what you might have earned in the future had you not become sick and compensates you accordingly.
Physical Pain and Suffering
You might have been able to live a pain-free life had you not been wrongly exposed to contaminated water while stationed, living, or working at Camp Lejeune. If you or a family member is now dealing with chronic physical pain and suffering related to their contaminated water illness or injury, it is in your best interest to reach out to Prince Law Firm as soon as possible.
Ongoing pain and suffering can take a toll on a person’s life, and our attorneys are dedicated to helping Camp Lejeune families secure justice for this wrongdoing.
Any long-term or chronic illness will take a toll on a person’s emotional state. When your illness was the result of what should have been a preventable exposure to contaminated water, any related mental anguish may be compensable in a lawsuit.
You and your family deserve a sense of justice and closure if your loved one’s contaminated water illness was fatal. We understand how sensitive this matter can be, as we are meeting with families who are often in the throes of the grieving process.
At Prince Law Firm, we will provide unrivaled advocacy on behalf of your lost loved one. If the water contamination at Camp Lejeune was to blame for their death, we will fight for the following compensation:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of advice, nurturance, and guidance
Your loved one’s life mattered. If they were harmed by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we will fight to secure essential compensation on behalf of your family.
How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Claim?
Below are the main components necessary to a valid Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit:
- You were stationed, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.
- You developed a health condition or illness related to exposure to toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
- You suffered damages because of the development of your illness.
If you are unsure whether you meet any or all of the above requirements to file a lawsuit, contact the attorneys at Prince Law Firm as soon as possible. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act affords only a short period of time to take legal action.
How Do I File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
If you were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987 and have since developed a serious health condition, you may be entitled to compensation from a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Your lawsuit must be filed within the two-year period afforded by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
You will first file an individual claim, which will ultimately be consolidated with other claims in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina. Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, and is governed by the Eastern District Court.
Do I Need To Be Located in North Carolina?
No, you do not need to be physically located in North Carolina to file your lawsuit. Due to the nature of military service, many of the individuals who were affected by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are now spread out across the United States.
Our Camp Lejeune water contamination attorneys are prepared to help anyone who has been harmed by toxic water at Camp Lejeune, including those who were later stationed at any of Illinois’ many military bases. Although there are no Marine Corps bases in Illinois, our state is home to several other military installations:
- Scott Air Force Base
- Camp Price
- Rock Island Arsenal
- Naval Station Great Lakes
What Documents Do I Need?
Proving that you were harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune requires a significant amount of evidence. When we represent clients who have suffered because of exposure to harmful substances during their years of military service, we conduct an in-depth and thorough investigation, pulling all possible sources of evidence in your case.
Documents we use to prove the harm caused by Camp Lejeune water contamination include:
- Military service records, including DD Form 214
- Travel records that indicate TDYs
- Medical records that document the onset and progression of your illness
- Medical bills that show your financial damages
- Bank records that show a gradual or sudden decrease in earnings
- Paystubs that show fewer hours worked
There is no need to worry if you do not have access to all of the above documents. As your attorneys, we will work to identify any missing documents and locate them on your behalf.
Do I Need a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer?
Navigating a lawsuit against the federal government requires the knowledge and expertise of a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer. The average person does not have the legal skills to build and file a lawsuit that will effectively hold the United States government responsible for exposure to carcinogenic chemicals.
When you choose to work alongside an attorney, you can focus more fully on your health while we investigate your claim, gather evidence, and build a case that will stand up to even the closest scrutiny.
What To Expect When You Contact Prince Law Firm
Contacting a law firm can be a scary experience. At Prince Law Firm, we aim to eliminate any uncertainties you may have by putting your mind at ease and being as transparent as possible with the process. Here’s what to expect when you contact our law offices:
- A free initial consultation with one of our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers. There is never any obligation to commit to working with our law firm after this no-cost meeting.
- A straightforward assessment of your claim.
- Answers to all of your questions concerning your lawsuit and a clear understanding of each step of the process.
- A thorough investigation into your claim, including the collection of all relevant documents and medical evidence.
- A fair and complete valuation of your claim that takes into account your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.
When you choose to work with Prince Law Firm, our lawyers will work tirelessly to reach a full and fair settlement with the U.S. government. While we will always strive to settle outside of court, our attorneys also prepare for the possibility of court. With this approach, we are always prepared should a case go to trial.
In us, you will find a capable legal team that prioritizes the attorney-client relationship in all that we do. You will never feel alone or as if you are lost in the process when you partner with Prince Law Firm.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer?
Working with a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer is much more affordable than most people realize. The attorneys at Prince Law Firm work with injury clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that we do not require any payment upfront. Instead, we take payment as a percentage of your awarded settlement.
We believe that using this system is mutually beneficial to both our attorneys as well as our clients. A contingency fee allows injured victims to secure the services of a lawyer without any upfront costs and encourages our attorneys to strive toward the best possible award for our clients.
How Long Will My Claim Take?
The time it takes to resolve your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit will depend on a variety of factors. The timeline for your lawsuit might be affected by:
- How strong your evidence is
- The magnitude of your illnesses
- Whether the federal government chooses to accept or deny liability
We understand how eager you may be to settle your lawsuit as quickly as possible. However, we advise against rushing your claim, as it may result in you being awarded less than the full and fair amount of compensation you are owed.
Do I Qualify for VA Disability Benefits?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides disability compensation payments to veterans who were injured or otherwise harmed during their years of service. These VA benefits are also extended to veterans, reservists, and guardsmen who spent a cumulative 30 days from Aug. 1953 to Dec. 1987 at Camp Lejeune, were not dishonorably discharged, and have been diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions:
- Bladder cancer
- Aplastic anemia
- Any myelodysplastic syndromes
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Your monthly compensation for a Camp Lejeune water contamination illness will depend on your disability rating, which is set by the VA. A veteran with a disability rating of 100% may receive as much as $3,000 per month in disability payments.
Will I Lose My VA Disability Benefits if I File a Lawsuit?
You will not lose your VA disability benefits if you file a lawsuit for the injuries and illnesses you suffered because of contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Many veterans may benefit from securing both VA disability benefits and compensation available through a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
While no amount of money could ever undo the harm you have already suffered, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages typically outpace disability compensation benefits alone. We have witnessed how both disability benefits and compensation secured through a lawsuit can be essential to victims who were injured through no fault of their own.
How Do I Know if My Health Condition Is Related To Contaminated Water?
To successfully secure compensation, you must prove that your health condition was the result of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. We will help you demonstrate that your illness is directly related to your past exposure by answering the following questions.
Is There a Connection to Camp Lejeune?
Do you or your family member have a connection to Camp Lejeune between the dates of Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 30, 1987? This connection may be:
- A Marine who was stationed at the base
- An airman, soldier, guardsman, or reservist who was stationed at Camp Lejeune or spent 30 cumulative days on TDY
- A pregnant parent who ingested the water prior to giving birth
- A spouse or children who lived in family housing
- A contract worker or base employee employed for a period of at least 30 days
The most important part of determining your connection is whether you or a parent who was pregnant at the time was at the base for at least 30 days at some point during the above dates.
Have You Been Diagnosed With a Serious Health Condition?
A diagnosis of a serious health condition after living or working at Camp Lejeune is a requirement for filing a lawsuit. Speculation about possible health ailments or a suspicion that you might be suffering from an illness is not enough. You must have received an official diagnosis from a licensed medical professional.
Has a Medical Professional Connected Your Illness To Contaminated Drinking Water?
Developing an illness is not always the result of exposure to dangerous or toxic materials. Unfortunately, some people are diagnosed with serious or chronic illnesses even after living relatively healthy lives. For this reason, it is necessary to prove a clear relationship between your illness and the exposure you experienced at Camp Lejeune.
Prince Law Firm routinely partners with medical experts who can perform medical evaluations, review medical records, and conclude the cause of certain health conditions.
Water Contamination Lawyers Advocating for Veterans
The passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act created a legal avenue for veterans, their family members, and anyone else who was harmed by the presence of carcinogenic substances in the base’s drinking water to seek compensation in a lawsuit. We applaud the lawmakers who chose to prioritize veterans and their well-being by creating this opportunity to secure disability compensation.
However, we know that this is only the beginning. To successfully secure full and fair compensation for your injuries, you will need the guidance and backing of an expert attorney. Veterans and their families are a priority at Prince Law Firm, as you will undoubtedly see as we build an attorney-client relationship with you.
You have only a limited amount of time to file your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit before you risk losing your legal right to compensation. Do not delay; contact us by calling our Marion, IL office or filling out our convenient online form to schedule your complimentary case evaluation today.