During the years of 1953 and 1987, the water supply at Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina was contaminated with several dangerous chemicals. Over one million people on the base were exposed to these toxins and became ill, suffered long-term health complications, or died as a result. The chemicals responsible for these devastating consequences are:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE or PERC)
- Vinyl Chloride
These toxins were released from a variety of sources, including the improper disposal of industrial waste. Some of the contaminants came from leaking fuel tanks, while a nearby dry cleaner leaked PCE and PERC into the groundwater. Time and time again, those who were injured or diagnosed with severe health issues sought help from the U.S. military. Sadly, they were ignored by officials who allowed the contamination to continue for many years.
Now, the remaining victims and their family members can finally seek justice, thanks to the passage of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act). This legislation gives those individuals who were harmed by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune a chance to sue the U.S. government for monetary damages. If you are one of these victims, you surely have many questions regarding your legal rights, including, “What is the value of my Camp Lejeune lawsuit?”
An exact value is impossible to provide in these cases, especially now when we’re just at the beginning stage of these lawsuits. However, we can provide estimates based on mass tort settlements for similar cases. Before we get into that subject, we will provide a brief overview of the illnesses that are associated with contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Health Conditions Associated with Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
The toxic chemicals that were released into the groundwater at Camp Lejeune are responsible for many severe health conditions, which have been identified by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Here is a list those illnesses:
- Aplastic anemia (and related syndromes)
- Bladder cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Female infertility
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Renal toxicity
Many victims and their family members tried in vain throughout the years to hold the U.S. military responsible. Though previous lawsuits were unsuccessful, Camp Lejeune cases can now go forward and bring justice to all the service members, civilians, and surviving family members that were harmed by the military’s negligence.
The lawyers of DTLA are ready to assist you in recovering the damages you are entitled to. Please give us a call and schedule a time to speak with one of our attorneys.
How much is my Camp Lejeune Case Worth?
As previously stated, we are too early in the process to get a sense of exactly what these cases are worth. Furthermore, there are many factors that will affect what you can ultimately receive from a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. These factors include the illness you have, the complications you’ve suffered as a result, and the financial and emotional toll your injuries have taken on your life.
Based on what we know from similar mass torts against the federal government, settlements may range anywhere from $25,000 to over $1 million. The largest settlements will likely go to victims with Parkinson’s disease and especially dangerous forms of cancer, like kidney and liver cancer. These cases may be worth anywhere from $150,000 to over $350,000 on average. Wrongful death lawsuits are also expected to be high value cases, as public sentiment generally lies with veterans who were left to die without the care and benefits they deserved. Settlements in the 6-7 figure range are expected for Camp Lejeune claims involving wrongful death.
Keep in mind that these are estimates that should only be used for general purposes. To get a sense of what you could receive from a Camp Lejeune injury or wrongful death claim, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Damages you can Recover from a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
The monetary damages you are eligible to recover depend on the financial and emotional losses you have suffered due to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Through a lawsuit against the federal government, you may be able to receive:
- Cost of medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Disability benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Expenses for mental health counseling / medications
When you combine all these damages together, you can see the potential for high values in these cases. In particular, the ability to sue for emotional trauma (pain and suffering) is a significant development. There’s no denying that many Camp Lejeune victims suffered, and continue to suffer from mental health conditions like PTSD and depression. Our lawyers will sit down with you and discuss the full ramifications of what you have endured from the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune. Then, we will file a claim on your behalf and fight for settlement you deserve.
Can I Pursue a Lawsuit if my Family Member is Deceased?
Yes, you can file a Camp Lejeune claim if your family member passed away from a condition associated with water contamination at Camp Lejeune. In order to receive damages, you will need to prove the following circumstances:
- Your loved one resided at or worked at Camp Lejeune military base between the years of 1953 to 1987 for at least 30 days.
- Their death must have been caused by one of the conditions identified by Veteran’s Affairs as resulting from toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune.
- Your loved one must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
As a surviving family member, you can claim compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit, as well as a survivorship claim. In North Carolina, where these lawsuits have to be filed, there are specific rules on which surviving relation can initiate the claim. To learn more about the lawsuit process and decide on the best course of action for your case, please take some time to speak with one of our attorneys.
How do I File a Case if I was in Camp Lejeune?
The Camp Lejeune lawsuit process begins with a claim, which will need to be reviewed by the appropriate federal agency. The agency has 6 months to approve or deny your compensation request. If your Camp Lejeune claim is rejected or you do not get a response within 6 months, you can procced with filing a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
One issue that you will need to mindful of is the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit if you or your family member was in Camp Lejeune. In the next section, we will talk about the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit in these cases.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Camp Lejeune Case?
You have two years from August 10, 2022 (signing date of the PACT Act) to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit if you’ve already been diagnosed with a qualifying health condition. If you haven’t received a diagnosis yet, you have two years from the date of diagnosis to pursue a lawsuit. Surviving family members seeking wrongful death compensation have two years from the signing date to sue on behalf of the decedent.
Various factors unique to your situation may affect how much time you have to pursue a Camp Lejeune water contamination case. To make sure that your paperwork is filed on time, contact our office at your earliest convenience.
Legal Representation for Camp Lejeune Victims
The PACT Act is a crucial victory for those who were harmed by the toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune. However, no lawsuit is easy, especially when the federal government is involved. To ensure a favorable outcome in these cases, it’s essential to retain a law firm that’s experienced in mass torts against the federal government.
Our lawyers have the skill and experience you need, but you may be worried about the cost of legal representation. That’s why we offer a Zero guarantee, where all our expenses are deferred until you receive your settlement. That means the only way we get paid is by winning your case. If we lose, you won’t be responsible for any legal fees.
There is no risk to you or your family by giving us a call and learning about your rights and legal options. Contact out office and schedule a free case review.