A military career comes with certain risks and dangers that servicemen and women agree to while expecting the government to protect and take care of them and their families in return. When the government fails these men and women, it shouldn't be hard to hold them accountable.
For service members and their families affected by the water contamination found at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, you may not know how to go about getting justice for you and your family. While legislation is currently in the works for helping those injured by the toxic substances found in the water at Camp Lejeune, family members may not know what next steps are available to get compensation for their illnesses.
If you served at the Marine Corps air station at Camp Lejeune and you and/or a family member have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water, the personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC are ready and willing to take up this fight on your behalf.
From 1953 to 1987, service members, family members, and civilians living or working at Camp Lejeune U.S Marine Base were exposed to toxic chemicals that contaminated the drinking water supply at the Marine corps air station.
Two of the base’s treatment plants—Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point—had at least one toxic contaminant exceeding EPA safety levels from the 1950s through the late 1980s. Records show that synthetic organic cleaning solvents were dumped down drains from on-base dry cleaning, oil and industrial wastewater were dumped in storm drains, and leaking underground storage tanks and waste disposal sites.
Between 1980 and 1982, the Marine Corps tested the drinking water at Camp Lejune for certain chemicals. The tests revealed that trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE) found in the water were above the EPA standards for safe drinking water. From 1982 to 1984, the federal government began to investigate the extent of the contamination; but it wasn’t until 1985 that the “most contaminated” wells were shut down. It took until the end of 1987 for the water to be considered completely safe once again.
More than 70 chemicals have been identified as contaminating the water supply at Camp Lejeune, including:
Studies over the years have shown varying degrees of causation and correlation between the chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s water and severe health conditions, including several types of cancer, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and others.
The toxins found in the water at Camp Lejeune have been linked to a variety of diseases and health effects. ATSDR recognizes sufficient evidence that the following conditions may be developed by the exposure to the specific chemicals:
In addition, a variety of health conditions have sufficient evidence to conclude that causation is as likely as it is not. These include:
Still, other diseases and health conditions have been linked with exposure to the contaminants found in Camp Lejeune’s water sources, but the evidence of causation is not definitive.
If you or your loved one is facing one or more of these health complications and lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, you may be entitled to compensation.
The Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 was a step in the right direction to provide health care benefits and medical coverage for the men, women, and families affected by the water contamination. The act mandated that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cover the medical costs for service members and their families who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987. But this compensation comes only after any other insurance has been exhausted. Military members are also able to claim disability benefits for their relevant medical conditions.
This bill allows certain individuals to sue and recover damages for harm from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act builds on the 2012 gains and will allow affected individuals to bring an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Under the new act, people who were affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune would be able to file a claim directly against the United States government through the Federal Tort Claims Act. Federal tort claims allow claimants to collect damages for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Presently, the act has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and is currently under review in the U.S. Senate.
The act states that a claim can be filed by any individual or legal representative of an individual who resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed to the contaminated water for a minimum of 30 days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 and have developed a major illness as a result of the toxic substances in the drinking water. This includes individuals who were exposed in utero.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimates that as many as one million people could have been affected by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water, including:
The two treatment plants with contaminated water were the primary water sources for most of Camp Lejeune’s housing. Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant served the main side barracks and family housing at Hospital Point, Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor. Tarawa Terrace served Tarawa Terrace family housing and Knox trailer park. People working and living at the base were exposed to the chemicals every time they bathed or took a drink of water.
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, claimants have two years from the occurrence or discovery date of their condition to file a claim. For claimants who discovered a medical condition before the enactment of the act, a special rule allows them a two-year window from the enactment date in which to file a claim.
Filing a federal tort claim can be a complicated process. The first step is identifying the specific federal organization with which your claim needs to be filed. You will need to provide detailed evidence for your claim, as well as specify how much money you want to recover. The Standard Form 95 is the most common way to file a federal tort claim, as it assures you have gathered and submitted the necessary evidence for your claim.
The burden of proof lies with the claimant, so it is important that you have a trusted and experienced lawyer who helps you collect the evidence that shows Camp Lejeune’s water contamination is linked with your health condition.
Putting a price on your health or the diseases and conditions you or your loved ones suffer from due to the Camp Lejeune water contamination can be hard. Our experienced attorneys at Regan Zambri Long can help you calculate your maximum compensation.
If you have filed any other claims in relation to the Camp Lejeune water contamination and have been denied compensation, help is only a phone call away.
Currently, veterans who served at the military base for 30 days or more and their family members can get health care benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, along with compensation for any out-of-pocket expenses related to their illness. To qualify for medical benefits through the VA, you will need to complete VA Form 10-10068 and you will need to submit evidence for eligibility, which includes:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will also need to provide medical records that show you have paid for health care expenses for one or more following 15 presumptive conditions:
You also have the option to provide a Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Treating Physician Report, to be filled out by your doctor. This is not required but can help your claim.
The Washington, DC personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri Long have vast experience with personal injury claims, including taking on government entities and big corporations. We’re committed to giving you the best service possible to recover the greatest compensation available, including Camp Lejeune water contamination claims.
Personal injury attorney Patrick Regan has a personal history with the U.S. Marine Corps. He was born on Marine Corps Base Quantico while his father, a lieutenant, was stationed at the military base. He had lived at the base for approximately two years. This personal connection with the Marines makes him understand what the veterans and their families are going through and it makes him fight harder to make sure you are compensated for your exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
For us, the results are about justice. Each client deserves justice and we will fight beside you to claim it. For our military members, veterans, and their families, we recognize the service you’ve provided on behalf of our country, and we are honored to stand and fight beside you for the compensation you deserve.
With more than 100 years of combined experience, our attorneys have been recognized by peers, legal organizations, and publications nationwide as top-tier lawyers. Our commitment is second to none. Our lawyers have practices in several state and federal courts throughout Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland.
If you were at Camp Lejeune and were exposed to the water contamination at the base, our personal injury attorneys can help you with your benefits. Call us at 202-960-4596 for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers and take the first step toward the justice you deserve.