Camp Lejeune Leukemia Lawsuit Attorney
Since Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune opened in 1941, hundreds of thousands of marines, navy personnel, support staff, and civilian family members have lived and worked there. Sadly, a disproportionate number of those people who spent time at Camp Lejeune have been diagnosed with, or died because of, birth defects and serious health conditions. Numerous studies have, in fact, shown a causal connection between contaminated water at Camp LeJeune from 1953 to 1987 and various types of cancer, including leukemia.
If you have been diagnosed with leukemia, or you are the surviving family member of someone who died of leukemia, and you or your family member were exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to compensation from the U.S. government. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, signed into law in August, 2022, now permits veterans and civilians who developed certain diseases and medical conditions due to being exposed to contaminated water at the camp to file a claim and potentially obtain substantial compensation from the government for the damages they have suffered.
Navigating the complex legal and procedural issues involved in filing a Camp Lejeune claim can be difficult for injured victims. An experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit attorney at Boyers Law Group can help you through the entire claims process and give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries or loss.
Call us today at 305-512-7600 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” on our website for expert advice on your Camp Lejeune leukemia claim.
How Was the Camp Lejeune Drinking Water Contaminated?
The problems with Camp Lejeune’s water supply are well documented. They began when the camp was constructed and continued for four decades thereafter. The camp’s proximity to several different sources of contamination should have raised concerns decades before the alarm was finally sounded.
Drinking water for Camp Lejeune was supplied by the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace treatment plants. Prior to 1982, assurances were made by government personnel that the water at Camp Lejeune met current safe drinking water standards. In March of 1982, however, an outside contractor was hired (Water & Air Research of Gainesville, Florida) to conduct an Initial Assessment Study (IAS) and identify any contamination at Camp Lejeune. The results of that initial assessment were shocking. Of the 76 sites inspected, 22 warranted further inspection after investigators identified contaminants, including cancer-causing solvents, fuel, transformer oil, pesticides, and explosives.
Further testing of samples taken from the Hadnot Point distribution system was conducted in May and July, 1982, December, 1984, and throughout 1985. Testing showed extremely high levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE), as well as the presence of vinyl chloride and benzene. Testing conducted in May and July, 1982, and from February, 1985, onward on samples from the Tarawa Terrace distribution system also indicated unacceptable levels of TCE, PCE, benzene and vinyl chloride, all of which are classified as known or probable human carcinogens. The contaminated supply wells were permanently shut down in early 1985; however, countless armed service personnel, civilians, and unborn children had already been exposed to the contaminated drinking water.
ATSDR Findings Regarding the Correlation between Camp Lejeune and Leukemias
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is responsible for investigating and assessing the presence and nature of health hazards pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) section 104 (i)(6) (42 U.S.C. 9604 (i)(6)). In 1997, the agency conducted a thorough public health assessment of Camp Lejeune’s drinking water, which was updated in 2017.
ATSDR found that “Marines and Naval personnel, residents (including infants and children), and civilian workers were exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), vinyl chloride, benzene, and other contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s through February 1985. Exposures to these chemicals increase the risks for cancers, birth defects, and other health-related problems.”
The comprehensive ATSDR public health assessment concluded that the following chemical compounds found in the contaminated water were causally related to the development of adult leukemias:
- TCE. There is a link between TCE-associated immune disorders and leukemias, including myeloid as well as lymphoid leukemias. Based on the evidence that TCE affects lymphoid cell types, ATSDR concludes that there is equipoise and above evidence for causation of all adult leukemias, including AML, ALL, CML and CLL.
- Benzene. Exposure to benzene was already thought to increase the risk of developing leukemia prior to the ATSDR study. Additional studies support that conclusion. As such, ATSDR concluded that there is sufficient evidence of causation between benzene and all leukemia types, i.e., ALL, CLL, AML, and CML.
Due in part to the low number of epidemiological studies relating to a correlation between PCE and leukemia, the ATSDR report concluded that there is below equipoise evidence for causation between PCE and leukemias. Similarly, the ATSDR study found conflicting results regarding the relationship between vinyl chloride and leukemia and therefore concluded that there is below equipoise evidence for causation between vinyl chloride and leukemias.
Although the ATSDR report did not address a correlation between contaminated drinking water and childhood leukemia, studies have shown an increased incidence of lymphocytic leukemias in children exposed in-utero to TCE-contaminated water.
Do I Have a Valid Camp Lejeune Claim?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) allows victims to recover damages if contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune caused or contributed to a serious health condition or to the death of a family member. The CLJA lists several “presumptive injuries” caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune, including adult leukemia. To be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune leukemia claim, both of the following must be true:
- You or your loved one served, lived, worked, or were in utero at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
- You or your loved one was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia or a related condition.
If you meet these criteria, then you are eligible to file a claim for damages related to developing leukemia or a related condition from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Getting advice from a qualified Camp Lejeune contaminated water attorney is recommended to help you navigate the claims process successfully and obtain the full, fair compensation you deserve.
How Do I File a Camp Lejeune Leukemia Claim?
The first step in filing a Camp Lejeune leukemia claim involves filling out and submitting a claim form to the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Navy’s Tort Claims Unit (TCU). If you previously filed a Camp Lejeune claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act and your claim was denied, you must re-file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA).
It is critical that the claim form filed with the TCU be filled out correctly and completely because that form establishes both your right to pursue compensation and the type and extent of compensation to which you may be entitled. The time allowed to file a claim is also limited by a two-year statute of limitations. Given the important nature of a Camp Lejeune claim, it is definitely in your best interest to consult with an experienced Camp Lejeune leukemia lawsuit attorney before submitting a claim.
What Compensation Am I Entitled to for My Camp Lejeune Leukemia Claim?
The amount of compensation to which you may be entitled will depend on things such as your long-term prognosis, the severity of your illness, and the impact leukemia has had on your life and your ability to work, as well as intangible factors such as the pain and suffering that leukemia has caused you.
In general, the CLJA authorizes compensation for economic and non-economic damages including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, depression, anxiety, stress
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished earning capacity
If you are a surviving family member of someone who died because of leukemia or the parent of a child who developed childhood leukemia related to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water, you may also be entitled to pursue a claim for damages. In addition, if you previously received benefits or monetary compensation from the Veterans Administration (VA), Social Security disability, or another government agency for your leukemia, you may still be able to file a CLJA claim. However, the amount of compensation awarded for your CLJA claim may be offset by the value of the benefits already received.
Talking with a qualified Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawyer can help you understand the nuances of the CLJA claims process and take the steps necessary for getting the compensation you deserve.
Contact Experienced Camp Lejeune Leukemia Lawsuit Attorney at Boyers Law Group
If you were diagnosed with leukemia, you have a child who developed childhood leukemia, or you lost a family member to leukemia, and you believe the leukemia is related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the Camp Lejeune attorneys at Boyers Law Group can help.
We are committed to seeking justice for all victims injured because of exposure to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. We have more than twenty-five years of successful experience helping people injured due to others’ negligence get the substantial compensation they deserve and want to put that experience to work helping you.
For compassionate, outstanding personal attention and powerful representation, call us today at 305-512-7600 or fill out the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website. Our experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers will answer your questions about filing a claim and provide free, expert advice on your case.