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Camp Lejeune Miscarriage & Fetal Death Lawsuit

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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The Camp Lejeune water pollution was one of the worst instances in history. Between 1953 and 1987, toxic substances were discovered in the drinking water of Camp Lejeune. Military members and their spouses were exposed to dangerous chemicals and diagnosed with severe medical conditions.

Women who had a miscarriage after 30 days or more of exposure to toxic water contamination at Camp Lejune are eligible to file a lawsuit, and the experts and Schmit and Clark can help.

Quick Summary

  • Miscarriage is the loss of an embryo during pregnancy.
  • Several factors can cause miscarriage, including age, smoking, drinking, infection, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, and more.
  • The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by Trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, Benzene, and Tetrachloroethylene from 1953 to 1987.
  • Exposure to TCE in pregnant women caused birth defects, delayed organ development, fetal cardiac arrest, miscarriage, and fetal death.
  • Exposure to Benzene in pregnant women causes miscarriage, anemia, irregular periods, and more.

What Is a Miscarriage?

A woman consulting a doctor for miscarriageA miscarriage is a casualty of losing a fetus or embryo during pregnancy. A miscarriage occurs within the first 20 weeks of gestation [1]

Many miscarriages go undetected when a mother doesn’t know about the pregnancy. Among 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Exposure to TCE and PCE has been linked to birth complications like miscarriage.

Fetal death occurs when a fetus survives past 20 weeks but dies before birth which is another potential risk of TCE and PCE exposure.

Factors That Cause Miscarriage

Several factors cause miscarriage, including [2]:

  • Hormonal issues
  • Uterus or cervix issues
  • Thyroid disease
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Infection
  • Improper implantation
  • Age
  • Smoking, drinking, or drug use
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Radiation
  • Thyroid disease
  • Malnutrition

Chemicals in the Water and How Contamination Happened

A scientist looking for water contaminationFrom 1953 to 1987, the local water supply at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by Trichlorethelye, vinyl chloride, Benzene, and Tetrachloroethylene.

The toxic chemicals came from several sources, but the primary source was a local dry-cleaning business that leaked PCE into the water supply.

General reckless disposal of industrial waste and leaking fuel tanks also contributed to the contamination [3].

Related Article: Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Linked to Miscarriage and Fetal Death

Several studies link the toxic chemicals found in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to miscarriage and birth defects. 

TCE and Miscarriage

A doctor and a patient talking about miscarriages

TCE is an industrial solvent used for cleaning metal equipment. It poses a risk for pregnant women in air concentrations below the OSHA maximum exposure level. The trouble is even more significant for women who drink or bathe in toxic water with TCE [4].

Scientific evidence shows exposure to TCE in pregnant women increases the risk of [5]:

  • An impaired fetal immune system
  • Neural tube defects
  • Oral cleft defects
  • Delayed organ development
  • Fetal cardiac arrest
  • Miscarriage 
  • Fetal death

Benzene and Miscarriage

Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid used in manufacturing. It is found in gasoline, tobacco smoke, plastics, and crude oil [6].

Long-term exposure to Benzene can lead to [7]:

  • Congenital disabilities
  • Anemia
  • Miscarriage
  • Increased infection risk
  • Irregular periods
  • Low birth weight
  • Leukemia

High exposure to benzene during pregnancy is correlated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia and an increased chance of birth defects such as spina bifida,”
Elyse Caron-Beaudoin, Professor of Environmental Health, University of Toronto

Agency for Toxic Substances Study

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry performed a study on the unsafe chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune and birth defects.

The study found that babies exposed to the Camp Lejeune water in utero were four times more likely to be born with neural tube birth defects. The study also found that oral cleft defects were at a higher rate [8].

The Veterans Affairs Committee also confirmed the association between the polluted water at Camp Lejeune and birth defects. They did a study in 2015 that advised there was compelling scientific evidence establishing increased rates of neural tube defects to PCE and TCE in the water [9].

Other Health Conditions Linked to Camp Lejeune Exposure

A doctor writing down health conditions link to lejeune exposure

Exposure to toxic water has been linked to several other diseases, including:

Camp Lejeune Miscarriage Lawsuit Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act: How the Act Helps Victims

The new Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has allowed those previously unable to file Camp Lejeune miscarriage claims to let those individuals file a federal lawsuit. 

There are a couple of requirements you must meet to file your Camp Lejeune miscarriage lawsuit:

  1. First, you must have resided or worked at Camp Lejeune from the beginning of August 1953 to the end of December 1987 for 30 days or more.
  2. Second, you were exposed to water at Camp Lejeune and had a miscarriage.

What Is the Average Settlement of a Camp Lejeune Injury Claim?

Two lawyers discussing the average settlement for camp lejeuneThere is currently no average settlement amount for a Camp Lejeune injury claim due to the recent nature of the Camp Lejeune lawsuits.

The Congressional Budget Office has set aside $6 billion to settle these injury claims. Still, with over 900,000 individuals exposed, it is difficult to estimate the number of claims that will be filed [10].

Here are some past settlements for miscarriage lawsuits for comparison.

  1. A $1.7 million settlement when hospital staff failed to monitor fetal distress in an infant while in the womb. The infant was without oxygen for several minutes, which led to the development of cerebral palsy and infant death.
  2. A $1.35 million settlement for a woman unaware she was HIV-positive. She was not screened for diseases when she became pregnant, so the necessary precautions weren’t taken during birth. The child was born HIV positive, developed AIDS, and died.
  3. A $5.2 million settlement for the loss of a fetus at 16 weeks. The family proved that the doctor breached the standard of care in her interpretation of the first-trimester ultrasound.
  4. A $480,000 settlement for a California inmate who was pregnant and suffered a miscarriage after the Sherriff stopped at Starbucks on the way to the hospital after her water broke in jail [11].
  5. A $350,000 settlement for a woman misdiagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy and improperly given methotrexate, causing a miscarriage. A radiology resident misread an ultrasound, and they reported to the doctor that the patient had an ectopic pregnancy.
  6. A $1,000,000 settlement for a mother who miscarried in her home at six months. The EMTs observed the baby moving its head but stated the fetus wasn’t viable and there was never a fetal heart check done in the field. The EMTs also placed the baby in a Pizzeria Uno delivery plastic bag inside a box with a lid which deprived the baby of oxygen, and the baby was unable to be resuscitated.


An attorney writing down damages for a lawsuit

Under a Camp Lejeune miscarriage lawsuit, there are several damages that the government can award.

This includes:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Medical costs for pre-delivery and post-delivery expenses 
  • Costs for mothers who are unable to have children after miscarriage
  • Support children born with birth defects due to a mother’s exposure to toxic water.
  • Compensation for loss of life enjoyment after child loss.
  • Wrongful death compensation

Related Articles:

See the other toxic tort lawsuits we’ve covered.

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Have you or a loved one been injured or exposed to a toxic chemical at work or in the home that has caused a severe life-threatening side effect, illness, disease, or death?


What Birth Defects Did the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cause?

The birth defects caused by the Camp Lejeune water contamination include oral clefts, cleft lip, and neural tube defects like spina bifida. The CDC reported 8,000 and 10,000 babies born at Camp Lejeune had birth defects.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Drinking Contaminated Water?

The most common symptoms of drinking contaminated water are diarrhea, vomiting, and skin, ear, eye, or respiratory problems.

How Long Does It Take To Become Sick After Drinking Contaminated Water?

It typically takes three to four days to become sick after drinking contaminated water. However, someone can develop symptoms on day one or day ten.

What Should You Do if You Drink Contaminated Water?

If you drink contaminated water, see your doctor. Symptoms may appear as a cold or the flu with a fever.

Who Qualifies for a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Anyone at Camp Lejeune for 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 who developed adverse health outcomes from contaminated water qualifies for a lawsuit. This includes service members, civilian workers, and their families.

How Long Will It Be Before a Camp Lejeune Settlement Is Reached?

It will probably take a year before any settlements are made. The estimated time for filing the claim to receive a settlement amount will be around 20 months.

How Can You Prove Water Is Contaminated?

You can prove water is contaminated by contacting your local health department to test for bacteria or nitrates. You can also have the water tested by a state-certified laboratory. You can find an accredited laboratory in your area by calling the Safe Drinking Water Help Line or visiting their website.

Filing a Camp Lejeune Miscarriage and Fetal Death Lawsuit

The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune had toxin levels at 280 times the safe levels. Until now, it was nearly impossible for victims to seek compensation, but with the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, it is now possible for individuals to file a Camp Lejeune injury claim.

If you or your family members suffered a miscarriage due to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, our experienced Camp Lejeune miscarriage lawyers at the Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm could help.

Our Camp Lejeune miscarriage lawyers can provide legal services for evidence collection such as medical records, military records, and doctor’s testimony, link your miscarriage to the water contamination, build your case, and represent you in court. 


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