For 34 years, between August 1953 and December 1987, the water at Camp Lejeune – a US Marine Corps base near Jacksonville in North Carolina got contaminated with toxic chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride (VC), benzene, and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). The health effects on residents and military personnel have been significant, including increased cancer rates, neurological disorders, and birth defects. A compensation program was established in 2012; as of 2019, over $4 billion has been paid out to victims and their families.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act from 2022 became effective in August, enabling individuals and their families to seek justice after suffering from different types of cancers caused by the contaminated water supply at the Camp Lejeune military base. This act offers them an opportunity to receive compensation for their hardships.
Illness caused due to Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune.
Scientists have identified 17 illnesses/conditions linked to exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune, a US Marine base in North Carolina. Among them, eight are considered “presumptive conditions,” meaning the VA assumes they were caused by contaminated water. Scientific literature has also associated the remaining nine conditions with water contamination.
Some health problems experienced by those exposed to Camp Lejeune’s water include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and immune system disorders. The water at the base was contaminated with industrial solvents and other harmful chemicals for decades until officials finally took action in the 1980s.
The VA has established presumptive service connections for several illnesses related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. If an individual spent at least 30 days at the site between 1953 and 1987 and has been diagnosed with one of these illnesses, the VA will automatically assume that it was caused by contaminated water. This means that affected individuals may be eligible for VA disability benefits without having to prove a direct connection between the illness and their military service at Camp Lejeune.
Presumptive Service Connection affected Legal Claims for the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination.
If you or a family member were at camp lejeune water contamination lawsuit for 30 days between 1953-1987 and have a presumptive illness, you may qualify for VA disability benefits. The viability of your legal case hinges on the extent of your illness and the ability to establish a direct link between your health issues and the polluted water source. Due to the presumptive classification, the government will face challenges in denying the connection between your family’s health condition and Camp Lejeune.
The VA has determined that eight conditions can be presumptively connected to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, which will aid in filing legal claims for additional damages. Sufficient evidence has been gathered to establish this connection and support the claims made on behalf of affected individuals. This presumptive service connection should lead to smoother and more successful legal outcomes.
While not classified as presumptive illnesses by the VA, research has linked the conditions to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. These illnesses include Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, scleroderma, and miscarriage. Suppose you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any of these conditions and was stationed at Camp Lejeune during the contaminated water period. In that case, you may be eligible for VA benefits.
The Lawsuit and VA Disability Claims for the Victims of Camp Lejeune
Applying for VA disability benefits and filing a legal claim differ. VA disability benefits cover health costs for injuries and illnesses related to service members and their families can also apply. Veterans Service Officers assist in this process. Meanwhile, filing a legal claim is a separate process and involves seeking compensation for certain damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of income, and medical expenses. It is crucial to understand the distinction between the two and seek appropriate guidance.
Filing a legal claim for toxic water at Camp Lejeune differs from the VA disability claims process. Disability benefits can cover monetary losses from the illness. Still, legal claims are separate and seek compensation for the harm experienced.
The VA has determined presumptive service connection for certain illnesses linked to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Those who spent a minimum of 30 days at the location between 1953 and 1987 and have been diagnosed with one of the mentioned illnesses will automatically receive the VA’s assumption that the disease was caused by exposure to contaminated water at the site. The illnesses include various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and several respiratory and neurological conditions. This presumption does not require a veteran to provide evidence of exposure or causation, significantly simplifying the claims process.