Can I File a Lawsuit if I Drank Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?

Can I File a Lawsuit if I Drank Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?
Can I File a Lawsuit if I Drank Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?

Camp Lejeune was established in 1942 in North Carolina. Unfortunately, in 1982, it was discovered that the drinking water on the base had specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The two water treatment plants were the Tarawa Terrace, which was contaminated by PCE, and the Hadnot Point, which was contaminated by TCE, PCE and Benzene.  Approximately 750,000 military service members and their families were exposed to the toxic substances in the water before the wells were deactivated in 1987 by the Marine Corps. If you are a veteran who used the toxic water between the stipulated period and you developed a condition as a result, then you may file a lawsuit and seek compensation.

Can family members sue on behalf of a deceased veteran?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) allows a relative or legal representative to file a claim on behalf of a person who was exposed to the toxic substances, whether the victim is alive or deceased. The representatives may be the victim’s spouse, parent, child, or sibling. These people have a right to get the justice they deserve, especially for their deceased loved one.

Illnesses linked to the toxic substances

A report and studies conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) identified over 36 diseases linked to the chemicals found in the drinking water. The cancers linked to the poisonous drinking water include bladder cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma. In addition, there are some reproductive health conditions and birth defects that were linked to the toxic substances in the drinking water. They include female infertility, cardiac birth defects, fetal death, miscarriage, low birth weight, oral cleft defects, and major malformations.

CLJA lawsuit vs VA Disability Benefits

Veterans and their families who were stationed on the base between 1953 and 1987, and suffered from various medical conditions, may be provided with healthcare benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, the VA disability benefits will only pay for medical expenses related to the qualifying condition. However, if you file a CLJA lawsuit, you will have the opportunity to seek compensation for all the damages you have suffered from Camp Lejeune water contamination, including economic and non-economic losses.

Can I sue if I have received VA disability benefits?

You can sue even if you have gotten VA disability benefits. However, under the CLJA, if your lawsuit is successful, any monetary compensation award that you receive will be deducted by the number of benefits you got from the VA. For example, if you get a $50,000 settlement from your successful lawsuit and you had already received $25,000 in VA disability compensation, your total compensation amount will be $25,000.

Conclusion

If you drank the toxic water on the base, you could file a lawsuit and seek compensation. However, you will have to show proof of your qualifying diagnosed condition and proof of residency on the base between August 1953 and December 1987. In addition, you will have to show the scientific evidence linking your condition to the toxic substances in the water and the losses you have incurred, like lost wages.

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