Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, has made headlines in recent years after it was publicly discovered that toxic chemicals had been allowed to leach into the base’s water supply. Military personnel, their families, and civilian contractors who worked on base have developed life-threatening health issues like cancer after exposure. This contamination lasted nearly three decades, but those who were impacted have had limited recourse to pursue compensation in Camp Lejeune lawsuits.
Recent legislation has created an opportunity for Camp Lejeune families to seek settlements to cover the cost of their medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages. Unfortunately, scammers are using this as an opportunity to swindle Camp Lejeune veterans out of their money. If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness after being exposed to toxic chemicals while living or working at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you should contact a reputable personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They will have the appropriate skills and resources to negotiate your Camp Lejeune water contamination claim for the compensation you deserve.
Decades of Contamination on North Carolina Military Base Linked to Life-Threatening Illnesses
For over 30 years, toxic chemicals were allowed to contaminate the water supply at Camp Lejeune, including water tanks that serviced the base housing for families. A dry cleaning operation, poor storage facilities, and other incidents caused carcinogenic chemicals to be leaked into the base’s water supply, which residents and service members then used to drink, bathe, and clean.
As a result of this exposure to forever chemicals and other toxins like benzyne, thousands of people have developed serious health conditions. In some cases, such as Camp Lejeune advocate Jerry Ensminger’s daughter, the levels of exposure resulted in death. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the following health issues are considered to be related to exposure at Camp Lejeune:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
Birth Complications as a Result of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Additionally, many babies born to mothers who used Camp Lejeune’s water were born prematurely, with birth defects or delays, or were born stillborn. The physical and emotional consequences of enduring these types of injuries, losing a child, or raising a child with a disability can take a toll on a family's finances and dynamics.
Camp Lejeune families have not received the compensation they are owed in most cases, due to a North Carolina law that limited claims to ten years after injury. This has been deemed an unreasonable limitation, as many of the illnesses associated with exposure take decades to manifest. In response, the legislature has established a pathway for Camp Lejeune families to pursue compensation.
Veterans and Their Families File Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims
This is not the only example of a military base’s operations contaminating the water supply and harming the surrounding community, but it is one of the most egregious examples of this negligence. There is evidence that military leaders were aware that Camp Lejeune’s water was contaminated, but the impacted water tanks were merely shut down, which is an insufficient method for decontamination.
Military service members, their families, and civilian contractors who worked on base are claiming that the military was negligent for allowing the contamination to continue and for failing to warn residents and workers that the water supply had become compromised by toxic chemicals.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act has made it possible for military service members, their families, and civilian contractors to seek compensation for injuries or illnesses they have sustained as a result of being exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. Thousands of potential claims were previously barred due to a statute of repose in North Carolina, but Congress passed the CLJA as a part of the PACT Act that recognizes that Camp Lejeune families deserve the right to pursue compensation.
Recovering Compensation for Damages in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
While Camp Lejeune families await further action, many continue to sustain damages that they have yet to be compensated for. In most cases, the suffering endured by Camp Lejeune families spans decades. One type of compensation available is for economic damages, which provides financial relief for monetary losses. If a health condition related to Camp Lejeune water exposure, such as Parkinson's Disease, compromises a parent’s ability to work, their family may lose their income source. Damages like these can be compensated with economic damages.
The losses sustained by Camp Lejeune families are not limited to financial consequences. For some, the pain of losing a child put untenable strain on their marriage, leading to divorce. Others endured years of invasive and painful treatments to combat their cancer, leading them to miss out on family events, forfeit hobbies, and navigate depressive thoughts. Emotional losses can be compensated in the form of non-economic damages.
Examples of Damages in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Lab tests
- Radiation therapy
- Hospital stays
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Missed promotions
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance and instruction
- Loss of services and support
Scammers Target Camp Lejeune Victims
If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In many cases, scammers are reaching out to potential Camp Lejeune plaintiffs via email or phone and making grand promises about substantial settlements within a short period of time. The scammers then request an upfront payment for their services and access to your banking information.
Real personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee system, which means that you will not be asked for any form of upfront payment before they represent you. Generally speaking, accepting unsolicited help in these situations is risky. Instead, you should thoroughly research personal injury attorneys near you, as you will be entrusting them to represent your interests.
How to Spot and Avoid Camp Lejeune Scammers
The aggressive marketing by Camp Lejeune lawyers has presented an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of people that have a harder time telling the difference between authentic legal marketing proposals and con artists. Consider the following when encountering the Campe Lejeune lawsuit marketing materials to best avoid becoming a mark in a scam.
Are you being reached in a professional manner?
Most reputable law firms that you will want to represent you in these kinds of cases will not text or call you directly out of the blue. In general, avoid replying to lawyers reaching out to you through your phone. Do not click on links sent over your phone or your computer or download anything. Many of these attempts to contact you are what are known as "phishing" scams which are attempts to get sensitive information out of you that scammers can abuse.
Can you verify you are being contacted by a real firm?
You can verify whether or not you are being contacted by a real law firm with a few simple steps. You can search for them on Google and check their website to confirm their legitimacy. Most lawyers of repute will have pages on lawyer review sites like Avvo.com where you can check testimonials of former clients and their records of success. Looking up a law firm online can also give you their direct contact information so that you can reach them through their official channels or even visit the firm in person. Only work with reputable lawyers with clear communication and with who you can verify their credibility.
Beware of Camp Lejeune advertisements that make unsubstantiated promises.
A lot of scams habitually make big promises about the amount of money they can attain for clients. Reputable personal injury lawyers are much more conservative about what they can promise since there are many situations in lawsuits where the amount of compensation possible can change dramatically. Reputable lawyers can point to their track record of success and their level of experience to indicate how they are your best option for getting fair compensation but will not guarantee specific dollar amounts since they do not yet know all the details of your case which can impact different client's settlements significantly.
Seek an Experienced and Credible Camp Lejeune Lawyer
As the number of Camp Lejeune claims grows, these scams may become more prevalent. Camp Lejeune families who have been diagnosed with one of the illnesses related to their exposure to the contaminated water may be entitled to substantial compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial losses. A qualified personal injury attorney can offer the legal insight you need to maximize your compensation in a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.