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From 1953 to 1987, the water was contaminated at Camp Lejeune. The water at Camp Lejeune contained toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds that lead to the development of cancer or other adverse health effects leading to premature death .
Many of the military personnel affected at Camp Lejeune have already died. Their families have never been able to seek legal compensation for the wrongful death of their loved ones.
The new Camp Lejeune Justice Act has now given surviving family members of victims to bring a Camp Lejeune lawsuit against the government.
Lawyers at Schmidt and Clark have plenty of experience filing claims in Camp Lejeune cases and can help you file yours and seek the justice your family deserves.
How the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Happened
Camp Lejeune is a large Marine Corps base in North Carolina. The base was founded in the 1940s and housed over 50,000 Marines, their families, and citizen employees.
From 1953 to 1987, Camp Lejeune’s water supply was contaminated by toxic substances, including perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, Benzene, and vinyl chloride.
The toxic water entered Camp Lejeune through local water treatment plants during the disposal process of a local dry-cleaning business .
Over 1 million people were estimated to have had exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Those exposed included military personnel, their families, and workers.
Related Article: Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Suit
Exposure to Camp Lejeune Water Caused Premature Deaths
The Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registries studies included a morbidity study to examine the death rates and causes of 150,000 Camp Lejeune residents during the contaminated water supply.
The study found that those exposed to water contamination had higher chances for certain cancers, including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, congenital disabilities, and other neurobehavioral effects .
The study also determined that many former residents died prematurely due to the diseases associated with the dangerous chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water.
The National Research Council released a report in 2009 that found sufficient evidence to associate exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune with higher cancer rates.
Lung cancer, bladder cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and many other adverse health effects were a consequence of contaminated water that resulted in the early death of many marine corps members .
In 2012, the Veterans Administration put together a committee of experts known as the VA Committee to review studies and evidence to submit guidance to the VA on the health conditions linked to the Camp Lejeune water supply. The committee identified eight diseases connected to water contamination .
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Other Health Effects Linked to the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Many health effects were caused by the contaminated water, including :
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Congenital disabilities
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal toxicity
- Hepatic steatosis
- Infertility in women
- Lung cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claims and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
When a person dies due to someone else’s negligence, the surviving family members can sue the negligent party in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination was due to the USMC’s negligence, meaning surviving family members of victims can sue the federal government for damages.
Many family members of victims have brought wrongful death lawsuits against the government, but they have been barred due to a strict North Carolina law. Due to this law, no Camp Lejeune victims have received compensation for exposure to Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Since the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed, the victims and their families can now bring wrongful death lawsuits against the government.
Burden of Proof
Even with the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims and families still need to prove a few key elements.
- First, you must prove that you or your loved one lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.
- Second, you must prove that the Camp Lejeune water contamination caused you or your family member’s illness, leading to early death. A single epidemiological study can be listed through this new law as a link for exposure to toxic chemicals and disease.
- Third, you must file your Camp Lejeune lawsuits within the two-year limitation.
Settlement Amounts of Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Cases
There will be a significant variation in averages, but settlements could be greater than $1 million. It is difficult to assess the payment for a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit.
Based on prior settlements, an estimated Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit case will have an average compensation between $400,00 and $1,500,000.
Factors that can affect the value of a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The deceased person’s age.
- Education level.
- Earning potential.
- The extent of medical treatment they received before death.
Below are a variety of cases that have been settled related to diseases that Camp Lejeune victims are eligible to sue for:
- A 2015 case against Takeda Pharmaceutical settled for claims that their diabetes medication Actos causes bladder cancer in patients. Takeda paid around $300,000 per individual case.
- A 2018 case of a doctor that failed to diagnose kidney cancer. The family sued the doctor, saying he chose not to refer the diagnosed patient to a urologist, which would have led to a time-sensitive diagnosis of kidney cancer. This was a $6.8 million settlement.
- A 2015 verdict against Delaware chemical company DuPont after the company dumped C8 chemicals in the Ohio river caused kidney cancer in the plaintiff. This was a $1.6 million settlement.
- A 2008 case against the Exxon shipping company. A man worked as a seaman for 15 years before being diagnosed with kidney cancer. He worked on tankers and transported crude oil and chemicals. The air on the tankers was contaminated with Benzene. The plaintiff had to have his kidney removed and was forced to retire early. The case resulted in an $8 million settlement.
- A 2018 case of a worker who developed leukemia after workplace exposure to Benzene. After regular exposure to Benzene and other chemicals, the plaintiff developed chronic myelogenous leukemia. The case resulted in a $4.5 million settlement.
- A 2016 case of a man that claimed Benzene in printing solvents caused his myeloid leukemia. The case resulted in an $824,000 settlement.
“ In 2006, the EPA found benzene to be a significant contributor to cancer risk from all outdoor air toxics that it is limited in fuel”
- Stephen Johnson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Kinds of Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claims
Camp Lejeune residents and their families can file two kinds of lawsuits. The first type of claim is for those who have claims for their injuries. The next is a wrongful death and survival claim for losing a loved one due to exposure at Camp Lejeune.
See all related toxic tort cases we've taken on.
Damages You Can Pursue
There are several kinds of damages you can pursue in your wrongful death claim.
- Funeral and burial expense
- Medical expenses before a loved one’s death
- Loss of income
- Loss of benefits like health insurance or pension
- Loss of inheritance from the family member
- Loss of loved one’s services, such as childcare
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
Can Families of Deceased Camp Lejeune Victims File Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
Yes, under the new Camp Lejeune Justice Act, immediate family members of deceased Camp Lejeune residents can file wrongful death lawsuits against the government. Even if your loved one died decades ago, you could still file a lawsuit.
What Neurological Conditions Are Connected to Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water?
The neurological conditions connected to Camp Lejeune contaminated water include Parkinson’s disease, dementia, memory problems, learning problems, and more.
Is There a Class Action for the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
No, there is not a class action for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit. Most lawsuits similar to this are class actions, but there will not be a class action for Camp Lejeune.
What Are the Main Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The elements of a wrongful death lawsuit are that the liable party had a duty of care owed to the victims, the responsible party breached the duty of care in some way, the breach led to an injury that caused death, and death resulted in a loss to the plaintiff.
What Is the Main Difference Between Wrongful Death and Negligence?
The main difference between wrongful death and negligence is that wrongful death is a legal remedy, and negligence is a form of liability that leads to accidents.
When a wrongful death happens due to negligence, a wrongful death case is a legal solution for any surviving family members to receive compensation.
How Is Death Compensation Calculated for a Lawsuit?
Death compensation is calculated considering several circumstances, including how much the victim suffered before death, the events that led to death, the victim’s age, earning potential, etc.
Has Any Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Reached Settlement?
As of April 2022, no Camp Lejeune lawsuit has reached a settlement. Due to the new nature of these cases, a settlement may not be reached for some time.
How Long Will It Be to Reach Settlement on a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
It will take around a year to settle the first filed Camp Lejeune lawsuits. The average case will take up to 20 months to resolve.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
You do need a lawyer to file your Camp Lejeune lawsuit. A lawyer will help ease the process of filing the paperwork and the overall lawsuit process. A lawyer can help with evidence collection, expert testimony, and more.
Free Lawsuit Evaluation
Suppose you or your deceased loved one were former Camp Lejeune residents exposed to the toxic water between 1953 and 1987 and developed any adverse health effects such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, a neurological condition, or another adverse health condition.
In this case, you may be able to receive monetary compensation.
The Camp Lejeune lawyers at Schmidt and Clark can assist you with filing a wrongful death claim. We can also help you gather scientific and medical evidence or military files, build your case, and represent you in court to receive Camp Lejeune settlement payouts.