Congress has recently passed legislation to help veterans, their families, and others who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune seek compensation in the courts for costs associated with bladder cancer and other health problems caused by exposure to contaminated water on the North Carolina military base.
Studies have found toxins in the water used at Camp Lejeune facilities, and those who lived or worked there have seen a higher instance of particular diseases. Though the exposure may have happened decades ago, many still suffer the long-term effects.
If you served or lived at Camp Lejeune, you may have been exposed to chemical compounds known to cause bladder cancer and other health conditions. Toxic exposures are exactly the complicated cases that require experienced personal injury attorneys, such as those at Marc Whitehead & Associates. Our lawyers can help determine if you qualify to file for a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit, and we are ready to aggressively represent your best interests at each step of the claim process.
Bladder Cancer at Camp Lejeune Caused by Contaminated Water
Evidence from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that two on-base water wells were the likely source of contamination. The many harmful chemicals that the CDC found were present included:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE);
- Perchloroethylene (PCE);
- Vinyl chloride; and
The CDC and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have found that people living and working at Camp Lejeune or the Marine Corps Air Station New River may have been exposed.
The contamination of the wells was due to a dry cleaner with leaking storage tanks located near the Camp Lejeune base. Camp Lejeune shut down the contaminated wells in 1985. However, many who lived and worked on the base had already been exposed, as the contamination began in 1953.
Bladder Cancer and Toxic Exposure
Exposure to the chemicals mentioned above can lead to several serious conditions, including bladder cancer. Family members exposed to the water may also qualify for healthcare benefits.
Some of the symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- Blood in urine (hematuria) which can (bud doesn’t always) make urine appear red;
- Painful urination;
- Back pain; and
- Frequent urination.
Bladder cancer is a difficult diagnosis to receive, but is typically diagnosed at an early stage when it is highly treatable. However, despite successful treatment, the cancer can come back. Because of this, bladder cancer patients must be sure to receive follow-up screening for several years to ensure prompt treatment should it recur. This is one of several reasons why it is so important to have screenings and treatment available for those affected.
Treatment for bladder cancer can include:
- Surgery to remove the cancer;
- Chemotherapy for the bladder or whole body;
- Radiation therapy;
- Targeted therapy; and
Which therapy will be used will depend on several factors, such as the health of the patient and type and stage of bladder cancer.
As the legal rights of those affected by these conditions have been rapidly changing with new legislation and policy, speaking with a veteran disability lawyer can help to offer clarity and potential next steps.
Can I File a Bladder Cancer Lawsuit Against Camp Lejeune?
Yes, individuals who lived, served, or worked at Camp Lejeune can sue for bladder cancer.
In the case of bladder cancer developed after being on Camp Lejeune, Congress passed, and the President signed, The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. Although decades have passed since the exposure, this allows military veterans to file civil lawsuits against the government for harm caused by the water at Camp Lejeune. For those injured, the government will follow through on a promise to take care of our veterans and their families.
$6.7 billion has been set aside to compensate the victims. Speaking with an attorney before this total begins to be distributed as lawsuits are filed across the country is highly recommended.
There Are Several Criteria You Must Meet to File a Lawsuit at Camp Lejeune
According to the ASTDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), as many as a million people had significant exposure to the toxic water. This would include drinking, cooking, and bathing with the affected water. However, not everyone exposed will qualify for VA benefits or to sue the government based on their exposure.
For an individual to qualify to sue the government, they must have been exposed to the toxic water by being stationed, living, or working at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or longer between 1953 and 1987.
Additionally, veterans must not have received a dishonorable discharge when they separated from the military.
This must all be proven with evidence such as:
- A diagnosis to prove the medical condition;
- A service record or Official Military Personnel File indicating stationing on Camp Lejeune for veterans;
- Work records like paystubs or tax returns for exposed workers who did not live at Camp Lejeune;
- Housing records for military families living on-base; and
- Additional documents as recommended by attorneys.
How an Attorney Can Help
The Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates have been following the breaking developments in the litigation affecting those harmed by their toxic exposure. If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, please schedule a consultation to discuss your rights.