Contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to numerous cancers, including cancer of the esophagus. If you’re considering a Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit, contact our law firm as soon as possible.
The contamination at the North Carolina Marine Corps Base took place between 1953 and 1987. It is estimated that over 1 million people were exposed to toxic chemicals in the drinking water. Research has shown this exposure has resulted in devastating health conditions and loss of loved ones for tens of thousands of marines, family members and civilian workers, including in utero exposure.
For decades, a North Carolina statute blocked exposure victims from taking legal action against the government. New legislation, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) empowers claimants – both military and civilian – to take their cases to federal court and obtain the vital financial compensation they deserve. The CLJA is a part of the far-reaching PACT Act, enacted on August 2022.
If you believe your cancer was caused by the military base’s polluted water supply, please contact us without delay. Filing a Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit is easier with a skilled team behind you. Our toxic exposure litigation attorneys are here to help you and your family win your claim for reparations from the United States government.
Did the Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Cause Esophageal Cancer?
Residents and workers ingested water polluted with fuel components, cleaning solvents, industrial chemicals, acids and other dangerous contaminants. The four cancer-causing chemicals found in the highest levels in Camp Lejeune’s water included the following volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene) – used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing;
- TCE (trichloroethylene) – used to degrease metal components, and also used to make refrigerants
- Benzene – used for producing industrial chemicals, and is a component in crude oil
- Vinyl chloride – a colorless gas used for industrial production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
A Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit will focus on your exposure to dangerous levels of these VOCs that polluted three of the marine base’s water distribution plants – Hadnot Point, Tarawa Terrace, and Holcomb Boulevard.
Public health agencies have linked VOC exposure to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) specifically reports positive findings in its evaluation of exposure to TCE and PCE as a cause of esophageal cancer at Camp Lejeune.
Polluted drinking water continually seeped into the marine base’s water wells. Water was pumped into the treatment plants where the contaminated water was circulated to various parts of the base. The tainted wells delivered water to Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. The Hadnot Point water system also sent water to base housing on Holcomb Boulevard until 1972, and then periodically after that.
The federal government shut down the contaminated wells on Camp Lejeune beginning in 1985, but the water was not considered 100% safe until the end of December 1987.
Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer occurs when malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that connects the stomach to the throat.
Common symptoms that may help support a Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit include:
- Chest pain
- Persistent indigestion or heartburn
- Chronic cough
- Weight loss
- Trouble swallowing, painful swallowing
- Frequent vomiting
- Bleeding into the esophagus – which may in turn color the stool black, as well as lead to anemia causing fatigue and weakness
Prompt diagnosis is key in treating esophageal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, esophageal cancer often shows no symptoms until it has advanced and is harder to treat. Additionally, any of these symptoms may be mistaken for other health problems. For example, esophageal cancer can initially be confused with GERD or esophagitis.
How to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit for Esophageal Cancer
Under the CLJA, your case begins as an administrative claim filed with the Department of the Navy, Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG). You must first exhaust the administrative actions, as follows:
- CLJA claims are initially filed with the JAG office.
- JAG has six months to adjudicate your claim.
- If no settlement is reached, plaintiffs can file lawsuits. All CLJA lawsuits are filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The lawsuit is open to anyone who:
- Lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and
- Has been diagnosed with a health condition linked to the contaminated water exposure.
Your claim must meet the burden of proof under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
A Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit must be supported by scientific evidence that links your cancer to exposure to chemicals found in the water. Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a claim needs to show evidence:
- “Sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists; or
- “Sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.”
This causal connection is critical in valuating claims.
Like many other health conditions plaguing Camp Lejeune exposure victims, esophageal cancer is:
- not on VA’s list of presumptive service connection diseases for Camp Lejeune
- not reported by the ATSDR to be “at least as likely as not to be causally related to” the contaminants in the Camp Lejeune water
Nevertheless, you may still qualify for compensation.
Esophageal and many other cancers are still considered strongly linked to the exposure, but have not yet been identified as possessing a presumptive connection to the water.
Studies linking esophageal cancer to the chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s water have not been investigated to the extent of other cancers. Research and analysis by ATSDR and other agencies are ongoing, and our lawyers stay abreast of the latest studies.
A successful Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit should demonstrate a causal relationship between your exposure to the contaminated water and the harm you suffered. This is why having a disability lawsuit attorney in your corner is vitally important.
Compensation for a Camp Lejeune Esophageal Cancer Injury Claim
Factors that will affect an esophageal cancer settlement amounts include:
- When were you exposed (e.g., as a child, during pregnancy)
- How much were you exposed to
- For how long were you exposed
- How were you exposed (did you breath, drink or bathe in it?)
- What your lifestyle conduct and habits are.
Our Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawyer will review many factors to determine how much compensation you should pursue, including:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- The extent of your pain and suffering (mental and physical)
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, loss of companionship
If a loved one has died due to contaminated water exposure, you may justify compensation for medical expenses, burial costs, lost benefits, and more in a wrongful death claim.
Interestingly, esophageal cancer was initially included in the VA’s list of presumptive conditions for Camp Lejeune veterans (for VA disability benefits). However, the revised (current) VA Camp Lejeune presumptive list excludes esophageal cancer.
If you have a current VA disability claim for camp Lejeune-related esophageal cancer, or your VA claim was denied, a 2023 or 2024 Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit is available to you now and opens a second route to recovery and for matters that are not covered by VA disability benefits, such as pain and suffering or loss of employment.
An award of damages or a settlement amount from a CLJA claim would not reduce any existing VA benefits.
Settlements through a Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer lawsuit against the U.S. government are civil lawsuits. These are separate from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) existing Camp Lejeune water-related benefits available the VA’s service-connected disability compensation program.
Contact Us about a Camp Lejeune Esophageal Cancer Lawsuit
Get started today to pursue the compensation and justice you and your family deserve. Your Camp Lejeune cancer claim calls for thorough documentation and proof. Contact us today or call 800-562-9830 for direct answers and dedicated legal help.