BY: Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller | IN: Personal Injury
We expect our country to care for our servicemen and women, especially at the military bases on which they work and live. Reports of medical issues and fatalities stemming from people’s exposure to poisonous chemicals at Camp Lejeune suggest that isn’t always the case.
More than one million Marines, other military personnel, civilian workers, and families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, at any time between 1953 and 1987 may be at risk for severe and sometimes fatal illnesses from the water they drank and used for cooking, bathing, and washing clothes and dishes. The reason? Dangerous levels of over 70 toxic chemicals in that water.
Testing revealed that the toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune were up to 3,400 times safe levels. Various poisonous chemicals, including perchloroethylene (a dry-cleaning solvent), trichloroethylene (a degreaser), benzene, vinyl chloride, and other hazardous compounds were present in the water. Leaking storage tanks and industrial activities are thought to be the cause, as well as contamination from an off-base dry cleaning operation.
The harm may not be limited to Camp Lejeune. Similar problems have been discovered at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in New River, North Carolina, as well as other bases around the country.
Exposure to the toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune is allegedly responsible for a range of serious, if not fatal, health conditions:
Congress is in the process of passing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, legislation that would provide compensation to individuals and families harmed by toxic exposure. The Act passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate, where several changes were made. The amended bill is pending in the House; once the House passes it, it will go to President Biden’s desk for signature.
If passed, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act would create a process for filing a claim against the U.S. government, allowing service members and their families, workers, and others who resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between 1953 and 1987 to recover monetary compensation.
However, the window for filing claims will be limited, so affected individuals must be prepared to act quickly.
UPDATE: On August 2, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which President Biden signed into law on August 10, 2022.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will compensate injured people and families for:
If you were stationed or worked at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River at any time between 1953 and 1987 for 30 days or more, you may be entitled to significant damages for any adverse health conditions you or your family may have suffered. Whether you are a Marine veteran, active duty serviceperson, reservist, National Guard member, civilian worker, or are related to someone who is, you may have a right to compensation and benefits. But you must act now.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Sommers Schwartz can help you recover the compensation and benefits to which you may be entitled. Contact us today — the consultation is free, and you will not pay us anything until we obtain compensation for you and your loved ones.
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View all posts byLisa Esser-Weidenfeller
Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller focuses her practice on medical malpractice, automobile negligence, and general negligence litigation on behalf injured plaintiffs.