Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim

Marines and their families believe that their living accommodations onboard a military installation is safe for the time they are there. Unfortunately, those who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune may have been subjected to contaminated drinking water that led to health problems later in life. This is the basis of the Camp Lejeune situation.

 Herren Law Firm of Houston stands ready to help if you have a Camp Lejeune disability claim.

Anyone who stayed or worked at Camp Lejeune from 1953 through 1987 for more than 30 days may have been exposed to this contaminated water. In addition to the immediate impact, the various toxins in the water are known to cause serious health conditions later, including many types of cancers.

If you or someone you know was at Camp Lejeune during this period who later developed serious illness, you may be able to file a lawsuit to receive compensation. This is different from a claim for disability against the VA and is not limited to active-duty military and veterans. The deadline for filing a lawsuit is within two years from when the  Act was approved in August of 2022, so it’s vital to start your claim immediately with a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination attorney. At Herren Law, we are prepared to help you file a claim.

You may still qualify to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act even if you’ve already filed a VA disability claim and were denied. Because of this new act you can refile your claim.   Schedule an appointment today to discuss your claim.

The Facility

As the home to the United States Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division since 1941, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina has become one of the USMC’s premier facilities. The base is 150,000 acres and offers a range of services and amenities to active-duty military and their families. Today’s Camp Lejeune includes a state-of-the-art system for landfill and water treatment as well as other environmentally friendly measures.

At the time, Camp Lejeune had eight water treatment facilities that supplied water to military members and their families as well as civilian workers on base. During this time period, toxic wastewater was dumped into storm drains. This led to the contamination of aquifers that provided water supplies to different areas of the base. Camp Lejeune officials failed to monitor the quality of the water supply and therefore now it has been determined that people who were harmed can file a claim for compensation.

The water came from the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants. These facilities supplied water to enlisted-family housing, barracks for unmarried service personnel, base administrative offices, recreational areas, and schools. The Hadnot Point water system also served the hospital at the base, as well as an industrial area. Hadnot also supplied water to housing on the Holcomb Boulevard water system on a full-time basis until 1972, and intermittently afterward.

Chemical Contamination

As many as one million people may have used and consumed this contaminated water. Those who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, did not know that they could have been exposed to four volatile organic chemicals, or VOCs in that water:

• Benzene
Tetrachloroethylene, AKA perchloroethylene (PERC)
Trichloroethylene (TCE)
• Vinyl chloride

These chemicals are in a wide variety of everyday products, including:

• Plastics
• Household cleaning products
• Building materials, including paints
• Pesticides
• Refrigerants and solvents
• Automotive products, including fuels
• Craft supplies, i.e., adhesives

The water became contaminated through multiple sources onsite. Unfortunately, the USMC didn’t learn of the water’s chemical contamination in two of those eight plants until 1982. The aquifers were then shut down in 1985. But by that time, more than a million individuals had been exposed to these VOCs. This contamination affected a range of people, including:

• Active-duty military and veterans
• Spouses and children of military members
• Children who were exposed to the contaminated water during pregnancy
• Civilians and other contractors working onboard the base

Not all the water was contaminated, but the contamination spread far enough through the system. These chemicals were found to be at levels of more than 240 times the permitted safety levels, sometimes as high as 3400. This led to hundreds of cases of illnesses including cancer among military members and veterans, their families, and people who worked at Camp Lejeune.

Illness From Contamination

People exposed to these contaminants for more than 30 days developed multiple medical conditions later, including:

• Aplastic anemia
• Various cancers, such as:

o Bladder
o Breast
o Esophageal
o Kidney
o Liver
o Leukemia
o Lung
o Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

• Infertility in women
• Miscarriages and stillbirths
• Birth defects
• Parkinson’s disease
• Scleroderma (group of autoimmune diseases that affect blood vessels and other parts of the body)
• Renal (kidney) toxicity

These are just some of the many health impacts that were caused by VOCs in the base’s water system. You do not though want to assume this is a comprehensive list of health conditions. Cancer of any kind could be related to that toxic water. It is important to explore whether your medical condition is related to this exposure at Camp Lejeune.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022

Veterans exposed to contaminated water can seek compensation and medical care from the VA. But spouses and children of these Marines living in base housing aren’t obviously qualified for a VA disability unless they were Marines (veterans) themselves.

But fortunately, family exposure to the contaminated water has led to the Camp LeJeune Justice Act of 2022, part of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. President Joe Biden signed PACT into law in August 2022.

For veterans, certain illnesses related to many toxic exposures are now considered presumptive. They will not need proof that the toxic exposure directly caused their illnesses. PACT covers a range of veteran toxic exposures. This includes contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, as well as many other toxic exposures from service in specified areas during specific dates, and deployment in support of a specific contingency operation.

Twenty additional conditions were added to the list of presumptive exposures, including the ones related to the chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune.

The addition of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act gives veterans as well as their families and also civilian workers the right to file a claim for damages. They must have been at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for at least 30 days to qualify.

This act allows that now everyone who was exposed to these toxic chemicals can now file a claim for compensation, whether military or civilian.

Herren Law Can Help if You Have A Camp Lejeune Claim.

Even if we’ve helped you before with another VA disability claim, we can help you with both a new claim and a lawsuit against Camp Lejeune.

If you or your loved one meet the eligibility criteria under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, The Herren Law Firm stands ready to help. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You don’t owe a fee until we win your case.

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