From 1953 to 1987, military members and their families were exposed to toxic substances at US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
These dangerous chemicals have caused potentially fatal medical conditions such as cancer and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also referred to as nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis.
If you were at Camp Lejeune during this time period and are suffering from any related illnesses, contact Schmidt & Clark, LLP, for help.
- Exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water is believed to have severe health risks, like hepatic steatosis.
- Due to Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims can receive compensation for damages caused by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water.
- Experienced lawyers can help you file a Camp Lejuene lawsuit and gather evidence to support your claim.
What Is Hepatic Steatosis?
Hepatic steatosis is a disease that occurs when intrahepatic fat reaches 5% of your liver’s weight. Prolonged lipid storage in the liver can cause major dysfunction and inflammation leading to serious forms of NAFD .
Though often symptomless at first, too much fat can cause serious health issues like liver failure or even cancer .
There are two types of NAFLD:
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – NASH is a severe form of fatty liver disease marked by inflammation and extensive damage to the liver. It can lead to scarring or fibrosis, which could progress to life-threatening cirrhosis and even cancer.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) – NAFL is a condition characterized by the buildup of fat in your liver, though fortunately, it does not usually lead to any scarring or damage. Although NAFL might be asymptomatic and harmless, its enlarged state can cause uncomfortable abdominal pains .
What Are the Primary Causes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?
The primary causes of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are obesity, type II diabetes, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels .
However, studies suggest that environmental risk may be another factor in the increase in fatty liver disease diagnoses . One example is the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Research into this issue has revealed an alarming association between exposure to vinyl chloride, a chemical present on site, and liver damage .
Present clinical research is particularly worrying for all those who were exposed during their time in Camp Lejeune without knowing it could affect them so significantly down the line.
Medical Complications Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
While displaying no symptoms, hepatic steatosis can seem harmless, with most people only reaching the initial level (steatosis).
However, for 7–30% of individuals with the health condition, it could progress through three distinct stages and lead to severe health complications :
- Steatohepatitis – In this stage, the liver becomes inflamed and damages its tissue.
- Fibrosis – Once fibrosis sets in, it causes scar tissue to build up around the liver and near blood vessels because of persistent inflammation.
- Cirrhosis – Years of inflammation result in shrinkage of the organ due to permanent scaring as well as a potential risk of liver cancer .
Overweight patients suffering from high blood pressure and/or diabetes are at a greater risk of developing NAFLD and NASH. Therefore, early diagnosis is important so medical professionals can take corrective measures before further damage occurs .
“The main complication for all these conditions is cirrhosis, or scarring of your liver. As your liver tries to stop the inflammation that comes with these conditions, it creates areas of scars. As inflammation spreads, so do the scars, and eventually, your liver can’t do its job.”
– Carol DerSarkissian, Editor at Webmd.com
If you have Hepatic Steatosis, it's important to make lifestyle changes like limiting alcohol intake and treating diabetes diagnosis, along with effective medical treatment depending on the patient .
Overusing painkillers or having untreated high cholesterol/blood pressure can worsen the condition.
For far too long, veterans of Camp Lejeune and their families have suffered in silence from serious health problems linked to the contaminated water they were exposed to .
This has had devastating effects on many individuals who are now facing diagnoses like:
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Aplastic anemia
- Adult leukemia
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple Myeloma
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
This is an important victory for veterans of Camp Lejeune because this legislation grants them the long-overdue opportunity to receive compensation for their exposure to toxic chemicals while living in Camp Lejeune.
It marks one of the first times citizens are legally able to sue and recover damages related strictly to toxic harm done to them.
Through this bill, victims can now seek compensation for any medical expenses or health issues caused by these hazardous substances, something they were previously denied access to .
After long-standing injustices against victims and families at the North Carolina military base, Camp Lejeune, legal action is being taken in the U.S. District Court. Eastern District of North Carolina will fight for fair compensation.
Those eligible are encouraged to file suit so they can receive what's rightfully owed to them after years of denied benefits or recognition.
Camp Lejeune Hepatic Steatosis Lawsuit
Now there is hope for those exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune during the years 1953–1987.
Victims of Camp Lejeune's water contamination can seek justice by filing a claim with the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Tort Claims Unit.
If accepted, they may get their desired outcome without going to court. However, if denied or not acted on within six months, as is likely due to thousands already filed and unresolved, victims must proceed through federal courts for resolution.
Who Is Eligible to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
Veterans, reservists, and guardsmen who spent at least 30 days in Camp Lejeune anywhere between August 1953 and December 1987 are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Additionally, victims may be entitled to receive VA compensation if they were not dishonorably discharged from the military and experienced one or more of the eight harmful health effects due to water contamination.
Family members can also file a Camp Lejeune suit and get healthcare benefits related to fifteen particular conditions, including renal toxicity, miscarriage, and female infertility.
To get disability compensation as a family member, you need to gather the following supporting documents:
- A document proving your relationship to the veteran who served for at least a month at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune – whether through marriage, birth, or adoption.
- Proof of residence at Camp Lejeune for at least thirty days between August 1953 and December 1987, such as utility bills, base housing records, or tax forms).
- Medical records that show you have one of the fifteen conditions listed on the official website of the Department of veteran affairs .
Related Article: Illnesses Caused by Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
What Is the Average Settlement Value of Camp Lejeune Fatty Liver Disease Cases?
The average settlement value of Camp Lejeune fatty liver disease cases is $175.000–$350.000; however, each individual's lawsuit is unique.
When trying to accurately assess the total value of a settlement amount for such claims, several factors must be taken into account, including:
- Medical expenses related to treatment;
- Disability payments may occur due to an inability to work or perform daily activities ;
- Costs associated with therapy and mental health services;
- Pain and suffering.
- VA Benefits Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
- Camp Lejeune Prostate Cancer Claim
- Camp Lejeune Renal Toxicity Lawsuit
See all related toxic tort lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.
What Chemicals Were in Camp Lejeune Water?
When Was the Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated?
The Camp Lejeune water was contaminated between 1953 and 1987 when toxic chemicals, including TCE, PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride, were discharged into the base water supply.
What Caused the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
The water contamination at Camp Lejeune was caused when an off-base dry cleaning firm known as ABC Cleaners regularly released large amounts of a toxic solvent called tetrachloroethylene (PCE) directly into local streams. These streams fed several on-base wells used for drinking water at Camp Lejeune in the 1950s .
What Is the PACT Act?
The Pact Act, or the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxic Act, is an act of Congress that seeks to protect and improve the health of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances by providing reliable funding for health services.
Consult a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer
With potential case values ranging from as low as $25.000 to over a million dollars, it is essential to seek the counsel of an experienced legal representative.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation and applicable laws in play, skilled representation could make all the difference in ensuring you receive what's rightfully yours.
Schmidt & Clark, LLP are standing strong against injustice by accepting clients from across all 50 states in pursuit of justice with these very special cases.
Contact our law firm if you or a loved one has suffered from hepatic steatosis because of contaminated water from Camp Lejeune.