Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit Settlement | Speak with TOP Lawyer Now
For decades, Marine Corps servicemen and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxins in their waters. For decades more, after they were sickened by the contaminated water, they were denied the right to sue the United States Government that put their lives in danger. Thanks to a new law that Congress stands ready to pass, these families will finally be able to get justice in the form of financial compensation for their injuries.
A New Law Will Allow Claims for Toxic Camp Lejeune Water
Camp Lejeune has been around since right before the start of World War Two. As the base expanded, the government built a network of water treatment plants on base. However, the government either did not choose locations for these plants properly or did not monitor them as they were contaminated by external sources. One of the treatment plants was contaminated by chemicals from an off-based dry cleaners that had poor waste disposal practices. The other was contaminated by leaking underground storage tanks and other toxins on base.
More than a Million People Were Exposed Over Three Decades
It was almost three decades before anyone even noticed that a large part of the base’s drinking water was contaminated. Finally, by 1980, the government realized that there was a problem. Shockingly, the government did not do anything for years after that discovery. It was not until 1987 that the government shut these treatment plants down for good. For seven years, the government knowingly exposed service members, their families and anyone else on base to grave danger.
The government did not even know the full extent of the danger for some time. However, the government may not have known because it did not want to know. Over a million people were exposed to these toxins over a 34-year period.
The Toxins Sickened Thousands of People
The Veterans Administration recognizes 15 separate illnesses that may result from exposure to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water that people bathed in, drank and cooked with for an extended period of time. Some estimates have found that this water contains 280 times the acceptable level of toxins for drinking water.
What made the whole situation even worse was the fact the government did not begin to inform people who were exposed to the toxins of this fact until 1999. In the meantime, veterans and active service members were developing some of the following cancers that are associated with exposure to toxins:
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Colorectal cancer
In addition, people who have been exposed to toxic substances have a far greater risk of developing the degenerative Parkinson’s disease. In fact, there have been reports of an increased rate of the neurological condition among people who spent time at Camp Lejeune.
North Carolina Law Prevented Lawsuits for the Toxic Water
For years, people who were sickened by the contaminated water were not able to sue because of a North Carolina law that limited the amount of time that they had to take legal action. There was a ten-year statute of limitations that the Supreme Court held preempted federal law.
The problem is that, by the time that people found out that their cancer may have been caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the time to file a lawsuit had passed. For years, families lived with the knowledge that they had been dealt a terrible hand from the combination of government carelessness and a harsh state law.
After a Long Struggle, Help Is on the Way
Things are about to change for families. At some point in the very near future, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will become law and undo decades of injustice that military families have faced. Not only do they have a right to veterans disability benefits for the health issues that they face, but they can also file a lawsuit against the United States government for exposing them to dangerous levels of contaminants in their drinking water. The specific provision in the law would allow for a two-year suspension of the statute of limitations to allow victims to file lawsuits. Therefore, you would need to act quickly to get the financial compensation that you may deserve.
The Government May Owe Billions of Dollars
The government expects to pay out billions of dollars in compensation for Camp Lejeune water illnesses. Initial estimates were that the Treasury Judgment Fund would pay out $6.7 billion in compensation. However, this is not a set amount of money that is available. If more people file claims, the government would need to pay out more money.
Claims Could Be Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
It is difficult to come up with a number of what these claims may be worth at the outset of the process. Cancer-related claims in mass torts may have payments that average between $150,000-$300,000. It is likely that there will be a mass tort class action lawsuit in North Carolina. The government may still try to defend the case in court once the lawsuit is filed. However, there is a strong chance that there will be a settlement, especially given the fact that Congress passed a law allowing victims to file lawsuits. You would still need to file your claim once there is a settlement. A claims administrator would determine how much you may be able to get in compensation if you are eligible.
There may be as many as 70,000 people who could file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. That represents the approximate number of people who have filed disability claims for toxin-related illnesses. Anyone who was on base for over 30 days between 1953 and 1987 who was injured by the contaminated lawsuit may file a lawsuit.
If you or a family member were sickened by toxic Camp Lejeune water, you should consult with an attorney to learn your legal rights. You have a limited amount of time to take legal action before North Carolina law would again bar your lawsuit. This is the time when your family can finally get justice for the government’s carelessness and recklessness in exposing you to such grave danger.