What Caused Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
What Caused Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
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What Caused Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Serving in the United States military is one of if not the greatest honor of service an American can provide. When the United States government knowingly puts members of the military in harm’s way, the honor of service becomes tainted for the rest of a soldier’s lifetime. For more than three decades, the United States government knew about the toxic cocktail of chemicals poisoning the water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, which sits along the Atlantic Coast about halfway between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Charleson, South Carolina.
The tragic tale of Camp Lejeune and how the military base has irrevocably destroyed the lives of thousands of American military members has morphed from a late-night series of infomercials run by prominent law forms to a major national story that has become part of the nightly news. Based in Jacksonville, North Carolina, the marine training center contains more than 14 miles of sandy beaches that make Camp Lejeune one of the most ideal settings to train military members to conduct amphibious assaults. The camp’s convenient location along the Atlantic Coast provides marines with comprehensive training that takes place between two deep-water ports that facilitate super-fast deployments during times of war.
From August 1953, which represented the height of the Korean War, until December 1987, military members stationed at Camp Lejeune and their family members drank and bathed in contaminated water that contained incredibly high concentrations of dangerous chemicals. Many of the military members and their families exposed to the harsh chemicals eventually developed severe health issues, including terminal cancers. The combination of prolonged exposure to potentially deadly chemicals and the lack of action taken by the United States government to address the serious health crisis has led to the filing of both individual lawsuits, as well as large class actions that involve thousands of former military service members.
If you served, worked, or lived at or near Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987, you might qualify to receive compensation from the United States government for contracting an illness associated with more than 30 years of exposure to toxic chemicals contaminating the groundwater. Schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney from Morgan and Morgan to determine what caused Camp Lejeune water contamination, as well as whether you deserve compensation to recover financial losses.
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What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Lacking a sense of urgency for more than three decades, the United States government began addressing the negative health consequences of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune by passing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The historic legislation increases the amount of disability benefits available to veterans and their families that were exposed to harmful toxic chemicals. Congress enacted the law to help military veterans and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune to receive compensation for their extended exposure to unhealthy chemicals between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
The delay in the enactment of legislation that addresses the horrors of exposure to toxic chemicals at a military base has its legal roots planted deep in both state and federal statutes. Military veterans and their families started filing civil lawsuits against the United States government in 2005. The allegations centered around exposure to contaminated bathing and drinking water. More than a decade later, a federal court ruled the claims invalid based on statutes written in North Carolina law, as well as at the federal level.
According to the Feres doctrine, military members cannot sue the United States government for any injuries sustained during military service. Under the North Carolina law of repose, plaintiffs cannot file a civil lawsuit for compensation more than 10 years after a negative incident occurs that injures or causes someone to develop an illness.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act reverses the laws that have prevented military members from taking legal action against the United States government for the contaminated water discovered at Camp Lejeune.
What Caused the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Four dangerous chemicals form the poisonous cocktail that has caused serious illnesses to infect members of the military and their families at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The four chemicals include benzene, vinyl chloride, perchloroethylene (PCE), and trichloroethylene (TCE). PCE and TCE represent the primary chemicals used for dry cleaning clothes, as well as the manufacturing cleaning process used to refurbish metal parts. Both chemicals can produce toxic damage to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and immune system. PCE and TCE can severely damage the central nervous system, as well as diminish the reproductive systems of men and the overall health conditions of unborn children.
Benzene combines with other types of chemicals to create a toxic chemical used to produce synthetic materials like nylon and plastics. As a standalone chemical, benzyne is a carcinogen that is linked to the development of leukemia. Vinyl chloride is part of a chemical mixture developed to manufacture polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as PVC. Extended breathing of the gas for several years might cause severe nerve damage and changes in the functioning of the liver.
What Are the Symptoms Generated by Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Prolonged exposure to the toxic brew of chemicals discovered in the groundwater at Camp Lejeune produces several symptoms of a serious, if not a life-threatening disease.
Cancer symptoms that develop because of the exposure to water contamination at Camp Lejeune include high fever, chronic fatigue, and a significant loss of appetite. Lumps that develop on the skin also might be associated with cancerous tumor growth. Because of the presence of vinyl chloride, a victim of Camp Lejeune water contamination can experience severe respiratory problems that include shortness of breath that develops by just getting up from a sitting position.
The signs of other potentially deadly diseases include sharp abdominal pain, severe nerve damage such as neuropathy, and violent tremors that develop in the head, hands, arms, and/or legs.
Do I Qualify to File a Disability Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The United States government has established criteria for former members of the military to qualify for monetary damages. First, you must live with a current disability that is diagnosed by a healthcare provider employed by the Veterans Administration (VA). This is an important criterion because some of the military members afflicted by the exposure to water contamination at Camp Lejeune have recovered from their respective diseases. Second, you must have suffered from exposure to water contamination at Camp Lejeune while you actively served in the military. Finally, your attorney must demonstrate a link between your current disability and in-service military membership.
How Do I File a VA Disability Claim?
Processing a VA disability claim can take a few months or last several years. Working with an experienced VA lawyer can help expedite what sometimes is a highly frustrating process caused by layers of bureaucratic red tape. You can apply for VA disability benefits by calling 800-827-1000. Applying in person at the nearest VA office can speed up the claim process. The VA has established a convenient online portal where veterans negatively impacted by water contamination at Camp Lejeune file paperwork that includes Form 21-526EZ.
To improve the chances of the VA approving your claim for financial assistance, complete the application with updated and accurate information. Describe your illness with as much detail as possible by submitting supporting documents such as medical records, statements made by friends, family members, and other veterans, and any medical records. produced by the VA.
Do I File a Personal or Class Action Lawsuit?
What caused Camp Lejeune water contamination has become the most important question asked by the late-night commercials that promote joining a class action lawsuit against the United States government. Class action lawsuits consolidate numerous individual civil lawsuits into one legal action. These types of legal actions dramatically reduce the number of similar cases that can clog up a judicial docket. In addition to freeing up more time for other types of legal action, a class action lawsuit also strengthens the case of individual plaintiffs because of the legal power of a large number of similar litigants.
The downside to joining a class action is the money awarded to the plaintiffs is split among the plaintiffs. This means you might receive less compensation by joining a class action lawsuit than by filing an individual lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
How Can a Morgan and Morgan Attorney Help Me With a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
The mass tort lawyers at Morgan and Morgan have helped clients recover billions in dollars from mass tort legal actions since we opened our doors in 1988. We have worked on the most publicized mass tort cases, including litigation involving the dangerous weed killer called Roundup. When you sit down with a mass tort attorney from Morgan and Morgan, you receive a comprehensive review of your case to determine whether you meet all the requirements imposed by the VA to file a successful disability claim. Your legal representative also determines whether you should file an individual or a class action civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Working with a properly credentialed investigator from Morgan and Morgan, your attorney conducts a thorough investigation that involves gathering and organizing persuasive physical evidence. The key is to link your medical condition with exposure to the chemicals found in the groundwater at Camp Lejeune. We acquire your medical records from the VA, as well as any documents created by a personal physician. Timing is everything for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, as your attorney must prove you developed your debilitating illness while stationed at the military base between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
One of the most important types of legal support provided by a Morgan and Morgan attorney involves representing you during the appeal process. Both the VA and the court where you file a civil lawsuit might deny your claim for compensation. Your Morgan and Morgan lawyer walks you through the appeal process, as well as files the proper legal documents to enter the appeal phase of litigation.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the experienced mass tort lawyers at Morgan and Morgan to learn more about what caused Camp Lejeune water contamination.