The long-awaited PACT Act was passed by Congress on August 2. It gives relief to millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits. Rolled into this law was the Camp LeJeune Justice Act. That law, which was introduced initially as separate legislation, helps veterans who were sickened by contaminated water at Camp LeJeune. The PACT Act is expected to soon be signed into law.
Overview of the Camp LeJeune Contaminated Water Claims
The Camp LeJeune Justice Act allows veterans and others exposed to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune to recover damages. Eligible individuals who lived or worked at Camp LeJeune from August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987 may request compensation. Besides veterans, the law covers:
- Veterans’ family members
- Non-military (civilian) workers
- Military contractors
- Any other person who lived or worked at Camp LeJeune
Claims cannot be filed until the legislation is signed into law, which is expected to happen soon. The estimated number of lawsuits that will be filed is substantial. Veterans have been denied access to the courts over the contaminated water for decades.
During this time, countless men and women who served their country were made seriously ill because of the water. Untold numbers of veterans died, leaving their family members unable to demand justice.
What Caused the Contamination?
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, made their way into the water at Camp LeJeune. These are highly toxic chemicals often found in degreasers and dry-cleaning solvents. These substances spilled or leaked from underground storage tanks and waste disposal sites. Among the VOCs found at the military base are:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Mercury and other heavy metals
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
VOCs are known to cause a number of serious health problems, such as:
- Cancer (esophageal, kidney, breast, bladder, lung, and others)
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Female infertility
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Hepatic steatosis
Any use of the contaminated water could be responsible for causing these and other diseases and injuries. That includes bathing, cooking, or cleaning with the water. Veterans and others were likely exposed to VOCs for years or even decades. If you believe you’re included in that group, reach out to our legal team.
What Comes Next?
Once this legislation is signed into law, the litigation door opens. It is expected that numerous mass tort lawsuits will be filed. Due to the projected number of such claims, they will likely be organized into multidistrict litigation (MDL). If you believe that you or a loved one were harmed by contaminated water at Camp LeJeune, the time to take action is now. Our law firm is actively seeking to represent plaintiffs who became injured and are in need of monetary compensation.
What Damages May Be Available?
Although it’s too soon to gauge what victims and their families may receive via litigation, damages could include:
- Medical bills, including past and present bills incurred to treat the above-mentioned diseases and injuries
- Hospital and nursing home care through the VA or private providers
- Lost wages, if the injuries caused the victim to be unable to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The total amounts reached in settlements or judgments could be substantial. As lawsuits are filed and cases are tried or settled, the average dollar figures will become clear.
Let Us Advise You of Your Rights Today
Medical bills, lost wages, and other damages impose staggering financial hardships. Victims should not have to pay these expenses out of pocket because of the government’s negligent behavior. Don’t wait to learn more about what you or your family can do to secure compensation. Give Rueb Stoller Daniel a call today to learn more about your rights and legal options.