About Camp Lejeune Water Contamination & Scleroderma
The water at Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina, was highly contaminated with dangerous chemicals from 1953 to 1987.
Camp Lejeune water contamination was due to pollutants from a nearby dry cleaner, routine base activities, and an ongoing fuel leak that entered the groundwater, which eventually reached multiple on-base water treatment facilities.
Harmful chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and more, were found in the drinking water supply.
TCE was the primary contaminant at Camp Lejeune’s Hadnot Point treatment plant. In May 1982, TCE levels were almost 300 times higher than the current safe limit.
Extensive human and animal studies suggest that TCE exposure can cause autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Anyone who was exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water for at least 30 days and later developed scleroderma may be entitled to financial compensation.
However, it’s important to act quickly, as the deadline for filing a scleroderma Camp Lejeune claim is August 2024. If you or a loved one has been impacted by Camp Lejeune scleroderma, get a free claim review right now.
Understanding Scleroderma in Camp Lejeune Victims
Scleroderma is a complex and often debilitating autoimmune disorder characterized by the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. The health effects vary in severity and can significantly reduce quality of life.
There are two main forms of scleroderma:
- Localized scleroderma: Primarily impacts the skin and the immediate underlying structures
- Systemic scleroderma (systemic sclerosis): More severe, affecting different bodily functions, and can damage vital organs, including the heart, lungs, and kidneys
Currently, there’s no cure for scleroderma. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and halting the disease’s progression. Prompt diagnosis and regular monitoring are crucial for managing the condition.
Symptoms of Scleroderma
Scleroderma is caused by an overproduction of collagen, a protein that helps provide structure to connective tissues. This excess collagen can affect various body parts. Therefore, scleroderma symptoms may vary.
Symptoms of scleroderma can include:
- Digestive issues, like acid reflux and difficulty swallowing
- Emotional stress, anxiety, and depression
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart complications, including arrhythmias and pericarditis
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Kidney failure
- Lung complications, like fibrosis and other life-threatening problems
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers and toes turning white, blue, or purple in response to cold or stress)
- Severe skin complications, like tightening, thickening, and sores
- Shortness of breath
Can Scleroderma Lead to Cancer?
While scleroderma does not directly cause cancer, people with this disorder have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, like lung cancer.
This is believed to be linked to chronic inflammation and tissue damage, which can cause DNA damage in healthy cells and create an environment that may promote cancer development.
If you’ve been diagnosed with scleroderma, it’s important to receive regular checkups and cancer screenings.
Compensation Options for Scleroderma Camp Lejeune Claims
Camp Lejeune scleroderma patients have legal options and other pathways for seeking compensation and support.
Learn about the different options for scleroderma Camp Lejeune water contamination below.
Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs
If you developed scleroderma after being exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits. Family members may also be eligible to receive benefits.
You can file with the VA to access health care, disability, and survivor benefits that can provide financial support for medical treatment and more.
The Camp Lejeune Claims Center partners with VA-accredited attorneys who may be able to help you access VA benefits.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with scleroderma, get a free claim review right now.
The voluntary Elective Option (EO) for Camp Lejeune claims is a fast-track settlement option offered by the Justice Department and the Navy.
The EO allows qualifying victims to receive a predetermined payout within a few months — without having to go through the longer claims process or pursue a lawsuit in court.
It’s important to understand that many legal experts believe these are low offers, and pursuing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit against the government might lead to significantly higher compensation.
Consulting with an experienced Camp Lejeune attorney is the best way to determine which compensation option is right for you and your family.
Lawsuits for Camp Lejeune Scleroderma
If you or a loved one was harmed by the toxic water, filing a scleroderma Camp Lejeune lawsuit may be your best option to receive the money you need.
Scleroderma Camp Lejeune lawsuits can help affected families seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and more.
Working with a top Camp Lejeune lawyer means they will handle all legal work for you. See if we can connect you with a skilled attorney by getting a free claim review right now.
Steps to Filing a Scleroderma Camp Lejeune Claim
While each case will vary, a few general steps are involved when filing a scleroderma Camp Lejeune claim.
1. Contact a Scleroderma Camp Lejeune Attorney
An important first step is to get a free case review to see if you can work with a lawyer experienced in scleroderma Camp Lejeune water contamination cases.
Top attorneys will evaluate your eligibility for a scleroderma Camp Lejeune claim, guide you through the legal process, and advise you on the best course of action based on your situation.
2. File Your Scleroderma Claim
Your attorney will gather the necessary documentation for your Camp Lejeune claim, including medical records, service history, and evidence linking your scleroderma to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Working with a skilled lawyer ensures your claim will be filed correctly and on time. Getting it right from the start can be a big factor in securing the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
3. Negotiate a Camp Lejeune Settlement
If eligible, you will receive a scleroderma Camp Lejeune settlement offer from the Navy. Your lawyer will evaluate this offer and help you decide whether taking it is in your best interest.
If the offer is not acceptable or you do not receive one, your lawyer will negotiate a settlement on your behalf, aiming to secure the highest possible compensation amount.
If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer may take your case to North Carolina court, where they will represent you at trial. They will handle all aspects of your case and keep you updated throughout.
Camp Lejeune Scleroderma Settlement Amounts
Compensation for scleroderma Camp Lejeune cases is between $100,000 and $500,000 through the Elective Option. However, if your case is more severe and has significantly impacted your family, you might qualify for a higher amount from a lawsuit.
Factors such as the duration of exposure to the contaminated water, the impact that Camp Lejeune scleroderma has had on your family, and the strength of the supporting evidence all play a crucial role in determining your settlement amount.
This is why working with an experienced lawyer is best. They’ll represent your interests, striving to obtain the maximum settlement as quickly as possible tailored to the specific details of your case.
Filing Deadline for Scleroderma Camp Lejeune Claims
You must file your Camp Lejeune scleroderma claim before August 10, 2024. After this date, you will not be able to take legal action under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA).
Once your claim is submitted, the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) has 180 days to respond with a payment offer or a denial. If they do not respond or you are not satisfied with the decision, your claim may proceed to a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with scleroderma after spending at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune while the water was polluted, don’t wait. Get a free claim review right now.
Eligibility for Camp Lejeune Scleroderma Claims
Eligibility for scleroderma Camp Lejeune claims was established by the CLJA.
General eligibility requirements include:
- Connection to contaminated water: Medical evidence linking scleroderma to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
- Diagnosis of scleroderma: A doctor’s confirmation of scleroderma, supported by medical records
- Proof of time at Camp Lejeune: Documentation that shows a minimum of 30 days on base between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987
It’s okay if you are not sure whether you or your loved one meets these requirements. The Camp Lejeune Claims Center is here to help you determine your eligibility.
Call our claims advocates right now at (866) 473-4764.
What Evidence Do You Need in a Camp Lejeune Case?
Collecting the right evidence is key to building a strong scleroderma Camp Lejeune claim.
If you’re unsure about accessing this information, a skilled Camp Lejeune attorney can help. They will take the lead in gathering the necessary evidence to strengthen your case.
Evidence your attorney will likely gather includes:
- Exposure history: Service records, housing information, and documents verifying residency or employment at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during the contamination period
- Legal documents: Any VA claims or legal proceedings related to Camp Lejeune water contamination
- Medical records: Diagnosis, treatment history, pathology reports, and imaging studies
- Opinions from medical experts: Expert opinions linking the toxins in Camp Lejeune’s water to scleroderma
Other Health Conditions Linked to Camp Lejeune Water
In addition to scleroderma, exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to a range of other health problems.
Other Camp Lejeune health conditions include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Aplastic anemia
- Birth defects
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cardiac defects
- Cervical cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Esophageal cancer
- Fatty liver disease (hepatic steatosis)
- Female infertility and miscarriage
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
If you or a loved one developed an illness linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune after spending at least 30 days on base, you may be eligible for compensation.
Get a free claim review right now to find out if you qualify.
Get Help With a Camp Lejeune Scleroderma Lawsuit
If you were affected by Camp Lejeune scleroderma, the Camp Lejeune Claims Center team is here to assist you.
Our legal partners have already helped over 30,000 families with their Camp Lejeune claims.
Our knowledgeable claims advocates are available 24/7 to answer your questions and guide you through the process of seeking compensation.
Scleroderma Camp Lejeune FAQs
Is scleroderma a presumptive condition for Camp Lejeune water contamination claims?
No, scleroderma is not a Camp Lejeune presumptive condition.
However, you do not need to be diagnosed with a presumptive condition to access compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
These are the eight Camp Lejeune presumptive conditions:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
If you or a loved one spent at least 30 days on the base while the water was contaminated, you may be eligible for compensation — even if your illness is not one of the eight presumptive conditions. Get a free claim review right now to see if you qualify.
Can contaminated water cause scleroderma?
Yes, strong evidence suggests trichloroethylene (TCE) exposure, which was found in Camp Lejeune’s water, may lead to autoimmune diseases like scleroderma.
At its peak in May 1982, Camp Lejeune had an exceptionally high TCE level, well above the current safe limit. Additionally, other contaminants were present, potentially playing a role in the development of scleroderma.
What is the VA rating for scleroderma?
Typical scleroderma Camp Lejeune ratings range from 0% to 60%. The VA provides disability ratings for scleroderma based on the severity of the condition and its impact on an individual’s ability to work and perform daily activities. Higher ratings indicate greater disability and eligibility for compensation and benefits.
How long will it take to get a Camp Lejeune scleroderma settlement?
It may only take a few months to receive scleroderma Camp Lejeune compensation through the federal government’s Elective Option.
If you are pursuing a lawsuit, Camp Lejeune scleroderma cases are expected to take at least one to two years to reach a settlement.