Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina, has been at the center of a long-standing controversy surrounding the adverse effects of exposure to contaminated drinking water. Veterans, base workers, and their families have claimed that toxic chemicals present in Camp Lejeune’s water supply between 1953 and 1987 have led to various health issues, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, and fertility problems. After years of denying a connection between these medical issues and toxic exposure, the U.S. government has finally started to make settlement offers and payments to victims seeking compensation for their injuries. If you believe you or a loved one has been adversely affected by exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune, contact us today to learn more.
The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has been a cause for concern for decades. Between 1953 and 1987, the base’s water supply was found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals, including benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), and perchloroethylene (PCE). These chemicals have been linked to various health problems, including cancer and other serious illnesses.
In one unpublished study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, researchers found elevated cancer rates among service members and civilians who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune. According to Kenneth Cantor, a former National Cancer Institute epidemiologist who is familiar with the study, the findings provide the strongest evidence to date that the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune caused exposed individuals to develop cancer. The study also identifies additional cancers that may be linked to the tainted water at the base.
In light of the health risks associated with exposure to Camp Lejeune water, individuals affected by the contamination have sought legal recourse by filing claims against the U.S. government. These claims allege that the government’s negligence in addressing the water contamination issue led to the development of serious illnesses and injuries.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, signed into law last year by President Joe Biden, provides a two-year window for individuals affected by the contaminated water to file lawsuits. Veterans, base workers, and their families who spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and believe they were sickened by exposure to the toxic chemicals are eligible to file claims.
The U.S. government already faces billions of dollars in potential payouts for Camp Lejeune water contamination claims brought by veterans and others who say they were harmed by toxins in the base’s water supply. To date, there have been more than 117,000 compensation claims brought against the government, as well as over 1,320 civil cases.
After years of litigation, the U.S. government has made its first settlement offers and payments to victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination. According to court documents, three people have accepted settlement offers for their injuries, totaling $850,000. The settlement offers are part of the elective option introduced by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Justice in September. This option provides specific dollar amounts to claimants based on their illness and the duration of their exposure to the contaminated water. The government aims to expedite the resolution of cases outside of the administrative claims or litigation process through this option, offering compensation ranging from $100,000 to $550,000.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation is expected to be one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history. As of mid-October, over 117,000 claims had been filed with the U.S. Navy, and it is estimated that the total compensation claims could amount to approximately $3.3 trillion. The sheer magnitude of the claims underscores the significance of the issue and the impact it has had on the lives of those affected.
While settlement offers have been made to a select few, the majority of the claims are yet to be resolved. Some claimants may not qualify for the elective settlement option, and as a result, their cases may proceed to trial. To provide guidance on how juries may respond to evidence and testimony, a bellwether process has been established. The first cases are expected to go before juries in the coming year and will shape the future of the litigation.
The first Camp Lejeune settlements represent a significant step towards providing compensation to individuals affected by the water contamination. The U.S. government’s acknowledgment of its responsibility and the initiation of settlement offers highlight the importance of addressing the consequences of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. To find out if you may qualify for compensation for injuries allegedly associated with the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.