What Are Camp Lejeune Water Settlements?
Settlements are out-of-court payouts made by parties facing lawsuits. Payouts for Camp Lejeune water contamination have not yet occurred. However, with the Camp Lejeune Justice Act being signed into law, they may soon be on the horizon.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 allows people who were harmed by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base to file legal claims. This is groundbreaking since the federal government is generally immune from being sued over military-related injuries.
Accordingly, the only support Camp Lejeune contaminated water victims — and their survivors — have been entitled to for decades was through VA claims. The water contamination left sick and dying victims in desperate need of support, many of whom had their disability claims denied. Others — especially veterans’ family members — were unaware they were entitled to Camp Lejeune VA benefits.
The new laws allow victims to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits and pursue financial compensation. It’s expected that most of these cases will result in settlement agreements. This is because very few civil lawsuits ever make it to trial, with most settling out of court.
After decades of frustration and heartbreak, Camp Lejeune water settlements will allow victims to finally receive money — completely separate from VA disability benefits.
Explore the legacy of John Carberg, a U.S. Marine who developed bladder cancer from exposure to contaminated water while living at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. View Transcript.
Duration: 02 min 43 sec
I used to ask my dad, “What was it like when you were a Marine, or when you were formerly a Marine?” And he would correct me every time, he’d say, “You’re never formerly a Marine. It’s never something in the past. Once you’re a Marine, you’re a Marine for life.”
My name is Chris Carberg and my father was United States Marine John Carberg, who passed away from bladder cancer.
My dad was 17 years old when he joined the Marines. And his dad was a Marine, his brother was a Marine. It was something in our whole family that we were proud of. He lived on a military base.
My father was at Camp Lejeune for, I believe less than 60 days. He had no idea that there was anything wrong with the water.
And to think that people were spending their last moments, before they were deployed to dangerous situations, being poisoned is absolutely infuriating. We had families at Camp Lejeune. We had families on the base. We had mothers who were pregnant drinking that water.
What changed with the PACT Act and with the Camp Lejeune Act of 2022, is that for the first time, the government lowered and dropped its own immunity to being prosecuted. Veterans, their family members, they are able for the first time to file lawsuits against the government.
My dad never cared about his legacy, but what he cared about was his family. He cared about my mom, he cared about me and my sister. He cared about us. and I think that what he would want is what he always wanted. For his family to be taken care of, for my mom to be taken care of. My dad would never do something like this for himself, but he would do it for my mom in a heartbeat.
When my son and daughter ask me eventually, “What happened to Pop-pop?” I have to tell them the truth, which was that, “Well, Pop-pop was serving his country proudly. He did everything the right way, doing that that he could.” And now it’s our turn, it’s our turn to care for him and while he was sick and alive, we fought for him. We did our very best.
It’s our job as families to honor the memory of our loved ones by fighting on their behalf when they can’t fight for themselves anymore.
Who Is Eligible to Receive a Camp Lejeune Water Settlement?
Camp Lejeune water settlements are available to people who meet eligibility criteria. This includes anyone who lived or worked on the base from the 1950s to 1980s for at least 30 days and suffered from a related injury or illness.
People who may be eligible for Camp Lejeune water settlements include:
- U.S. Marine personnel and veterans
- U.S. Navy personnel and veterans
- Spouses of service members or veterans
- Adult children who lived on the base
- Civilian workers and their families
Based on the contamination dates, this would make the oldest victims of Camp Lejeune in their late 80s. Sadly, many have already passed away, but their survivors may also qualify to file a lawsuit on their behalf.
Since children lived on the base and babies were born there, victims as young as 35 years old could be eligible. These younger victims may be battling chronic illnesses that they don’t even know stem from Camp Lejeune water contamination.
No matter how long ago exposure occurred, all victims may be able to access the critical funds they are owed. This is because the federal government admits that people were injured and is finally on the hook to make it right — separate from VA claims.
Even if you are receiving VA benefits (or were denied), you may be entitled to a Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement.
What Caused Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) found that two of Camp Lejeune’s water treatment plants — Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point — were contaminated. This contamination was caused by a nearby private dry cleaning business and ongoing base operations.
ATSDR reports that from 1953 to 1987, toxic materials were released into Camp Lejeune’s water supply, exposing nearly 1 million people to hazardous chemicals.
What Was in the Camp Lejeune Water?
The toxic water at Camp Lejeune contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs found in Camp Lejeune water included:
- Dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Tetrachloroethylene — also known as perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other contaminants
People exposed to VOCs are likely to develop many severe health conditions.
What Health Issues Did Camp Lejeune Water Cause?
Many people exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune were young families, including infants and children. Pregnant women were also exposed, unknowingly putting their unborn babies at risk.
Cancer is one of the illnesses linked to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The most common cancers linked are:
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
However, due to the wide range of unsuspecting victims, Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues are extensive. This is because toxic substances affect people differently depending on age, gender, and length of exposure.
Camp Lejeune water health issues include:
- Adult leukemia
- Birth defects
- Childhood leukemia
- Fetal death
- Parkinson’s disease
Some Camp Lejeune water health issues — especially cancers — can remain hidden for long periods. Therefore, many victims may not even know that their chronic health conditions directly result from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Thankfully, Camp Lejeune water settlements may finally allow victims to access the funds they’ve desperately needed for decades. No matter how far back the exposure was, you may now be able to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
Historically, Camp Lejeune victims have been unable to file water contamination lawsuits. Instead, they were directed to the VA to pursue disability claims and other VA benefits.
Many veterans were left unable to work, meaning they could not even support their families. People suffered for decades without money to pay for quality health care or funeral expenses to bury a loved one. Many watched loved ones die, including military families who lost children to leukemia.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows victims and survivors of the contaminated water disaster to finally be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit.
While there is no way to know just yet how Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits will unfold, it is possible that there could be:
- Class action lawsuits for groups of people with a similar exposure history
- Individual lawsuits that go to court for a trial by judge or jury
- Settlement agreements that resolve out of court
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Settlement Amounts
It is impossible to know what to expect for Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts. However, settlement amounts in other environmental or toxic tort litigation claims are calculated based on a general set of factors. It is reasonable to expect Camp Lejeune water claims to be handled similarly.
Camp Lejeune water settlements will likely be calculated based on:
- Age of the victim
- Cost of medical treatment, including travel expenses
- Funeral expenses (in wrongful death cases)
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Severity of injury
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates spending $6.1 billion on Camp Lejeune contaminated water claims between 2022 to 2031.
With this budget as a reference point and past results in environmental litigation, estimated settlement amounts can be roughly estimated.
While there are no guarantees, some victims could expect to receive Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Is There a Time Limit to Get a Camp Lejeune Water Settlement?
It doesn’t matter how far back exposure was. Eligible victims may still be able to receive a Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement.
However, there will likely be deadlines for how long Camp Lejeune water victims will have to take legal action.
Additionally, there are laws called statutes of limitations that limit the time people have to file a lawsuit. The laws vary by state and should be taken very seriously.
Due to the risk of missing these deadlines, it is best to quickly contact a reliable Camp Lejeune water law firm to ensure you do not become forever barred from taking action.
File your Camp Lejeune water claim now before it is too late.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Settlement?
It is essential to understand that Camp Lejeune water contamination claims differ greatly from claims filed with the VA.
Since this is historic legislation, not much is known about how the claims will play out.
However, one thing for sure is that these claims are completely separate from VA claims — these are lawsuits. As with any type of legal action, it is best to work with an experienced lawyer to help you navigate what can be an extremely complex legal system.
Working with a Camp Lejeune lawyer will give you the advantage you need to get the best possible outcome for your claim.
Find a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Law Firm
The best Camp Lejeune water law firms are personal injury firms involved in the fight to establish legal rights for Camp Lejeune victims. We can connect you with a top-notch Camp Lejeune water contamination law firm that can help.
Qualified Camp Lejeune water law firms should be able to offer:
- Ability to help victims in all 50 states
- Contingency fee arrangements with no out-of-pocket legal fees
- Free consultations
- VA-accredited attorneys familiar with toxic exposure lawsuits
To get the best Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts, your lawyer will need to investigate decades-old information to establish your exposure history.
Do not put your trust in just any law firm. Our trained Camp Lejeune claims advocates stand by 24 hours a day to confidently speak with you.
There is no cost or obligation. Contact us today to get your free consultation.