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Proving Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Caused Veteran Disability

The water contamination crisis at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless Veterans and their families. Between 1953 and 1987, individuals stationed at the base were exposed to toxic chemicals in the drinking water, including industrial solvents and fuel compounds. This exposure has led to a multitude of debilitating illnesses and conditions, ranging from various forms of cancer to birth defects and miscarriages.

For decades, Veterans have fought tirelessly to seek recognition and compensation for the injustices they endured while serving their country. Their journey has been marked by resilience, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to holding those responsible accountable. This is not a battle they have to face alone.

Who Is Eligible to File a Claim?

Veterans and their families who were at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 and now have a disability they believe was caused by the contaminated water may be entitled to compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022.

The CLJA is a provision of the PACT Act. It provides a federal cause of action for compensation for Veterans and their family members who spent at least a month at Camp Lejeune and were exposed to contaminated water.

The federal cause of action also applies to children in utero. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry studied birth defects linked to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune. Researchers found that babies in utero whose mothers drank the contaminated Camp Lejeune water were four times more likely to be born with a birth defect.

Elective Option Intends to Streamline Claims

To streamline the process for Camp Lejeune Justice Act cases, the Justice Department and the Department of the Navy introduced the Elective Option in 2023. This initiative aims to provide a more efficient path for Veterans and their families to seek compensation for the injuries and illnesses caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

The Elective Option allows claimants to bypass the traditional administrative claims process and proceed directly to filing their cases in the appropriate U.S. District Court.

How an Attorney Can Help

While the Elective Option provides an expedited path to the court system, navigating the complexities of filing a case in U.S. District Court can be a daunting process for Veterans. The legal landscape is intricate, with strict procedural requirements, evidentiary standards, and court rules that must be adhered to meticulously.

An experienced attorney, well-versed in Camp Lejeune litigation, can prove invaluable in guiding Veterans through this process. These legal professionals possess a deep understanding of the nuances involved in presenting a compelling case, ensuring that all necessary documentation, medical records, and expert testimony are properly gathered and presented to the court.

Avoiding Costly Missteps

Even a minor misstep or oversight in the legal filings or court proceedings could jeopardize a Veteran’s claim for compensation. The consequences of such errors can be severe, potentially leading to delays, dismissals, or even the outright rejection of a claim. By having a skilled attorney by their side, Veterans can minimize the risk of costly mistakes and increase their chances of a successful outcome.

Proving Causation – Linking Exposure to Illness

One of the most significant challenges Veterans face in seeking compensation for their disabilities is proving the causal link between their exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and their current medical conditions. The legal threshold for establishing this connection requires an understanding of medical evidence, scientific data, and legal precedents.

3 Requirements to File a Camp Lejeune VA Disability Claim

To show that the Camp Lejeune water contamination caused a Veteran’s disability, they will need to show three things:

  1. Proof that they served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987
  2. A currently diagnosed condition; and,
  3. A connection between exposure to contaminated water and the disability.

This process often involves extensive documentation, expert testimony, and an understanding of the specific contaminants present in the water and their potential health implications.

A knowledgeable lawyer can help Veterans gather and present compelling evidence, including medical records, service records, and expert testimony, to establish the connection between their disabilities and contaminated water exposure. They can also ensure that Veterans know their rights and entitlements under the CLJA and the PACT Act.

Furthermore, a skilled lawyer can advocate for Veterans, ensuring their voices are heard and their struggles are recognized. They can negotiate with the VA, insurance companies, and other relevant entities to secure fair and just compensation for the suffering these brave individuals and their families have endured.

Common Illnesses Associated with Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Some of the illnesses associated with the Camp Lejeune contaminated water include:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Throat Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Cardiac Defects
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes
  • Other Organ Cancers
  • Liver Injury/Failure
  • Fatty Liver Disease (hepatic steatosis)
  • Kidney Injury/Failure/Renal Toxicity
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Systemic Sclerosis/Scleroderma
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Cardiac Defects
  • Birth Defects
  • Female Infertility
  • Miscarriages

Research continues to determine the association between the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and many other illnesses.

Emotional Toll of Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Exposure

The illnesses and disabilities stemming from the Camp Lejeune water contamination have had a profound emotional impact on Veterans and their families. Many have grappled with the devastating reality of receiving life-altering diagnoses, such as various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and birth defects in their children. The mere thought of their service to the nation being the root cause of their suffering can be overwhelming, leaving them with a sense of betrayal and anguish.

For Veterans who have lost loved ones due to these illnesses, the grief can be compounded by the knowledge that their sacrifices were not adequately recognized or compensated. The emotional turmoil extends beyond the individual Veterans, affecting their spouses, children, and entire families, who have shouldered the burden of caregiving and witnessed the toll these conditions have taken.

Contact Berry Law for Help with a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim

At Berry Law, attorneys and legal staff are also Veterans. These seasoned lawyers are skilled advocates. They can help Veterans secure the compensation they are entitled to for disabilities resulting from Camp Lejeune water contamination. Contact Berry Law today and let us put our resources to work. Call our legal team at 888-883-2483 or fill out our online contact form. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available 24/7.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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