Camp Lejeune Victims Can Seek Aid After Senate Passes New Bill

WASHINGTON D.C., VIRGINIA (August 5, 2022) – The United States Senate has voted to passed the PACT legislation which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act aimed at helping all people exposed to toxic water while staying at Camp Lejeune.


Passage of the bill was uncertain after it fell five votes short. Ultimately, the bill passed the senate 86-11. The White House press office has said that President Biden will quickly sign the legislation once it reaches his desk.


The bill is designed to help veterans, their families and all people who were stationed at the base from 1953 to 1987. It was during this period that the water supply at Camp Lejeune became contaminated with numerous chemicals including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC) and benzene.


These chemicals are linked to numerous ailments such as Kidney cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cardiac defects, bladder cancer, leukemias, non-hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.


The bill passed by the senate will also help veterans who became ill from exposure to military burn pits. President Biden has said on multiple occasions that he believes his late son Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer, became ill after being exposed to burn pits.


Who Qualifies For Aid Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?


For many decades people who were injured by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were not able to seek aid for their injuries. North Carolina, where the military base is located, has a 10-year statute of repose. This means that many people who discovered they were ill were already unable to file claims. On top of this, the federal government can normally assert immunity for any lawsuit brought by a service member injured in the line of duty.


The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 clears these procedural hurdles. In order to qualify to pursue a civil claim, a person needs to demonstrate that they have stayed at the base for at least 30 days from 1953 to 1987. The bill does not just help veterans. It also extends to the family of veterans, contractors and all people who lived or stayed at the base. So far, an estimated 900,000 people have potentially been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.


How Did The Water At Camp Lejeune Become Contaminated?


In the early 1980’s two water-supply systems at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were found to be contaminated with industrial solvents. These water systems were supplied by the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water-treatment plants, which were used all across the base in the housing and recreational areas. Investigators were able to determine that the chemicals primarily came from an off-base dry cleaner identified as ABC One-Hour Cleaners. The source of the groundwater contamination was from spills and improper disposal practices. It was later determined that the Hadnot Point water-treatment plant was mainly contaminated by leaks from underground storage tanks and drums.


What Determines How Sick A Person Will Get If They Were Exposed To Contaminated Water At Camp Lejeune?


Illnesses that result from exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) can range from mild to very severe. The effect of these chemicals will depend on many factors including (1) when a person was exposed, (2) how much a person was exposed to, (3) how long a person was exposed (4) how a person was exposed, (5) what a person’s personal traits and habits are. For example, a person who drank the water at Camp Lejeune for many years is much more likely to develop cancer or become seriously ill than someone who bathed in the water for several months.


How Can I Get Help After Being Exposed To Contaminated Water At Camp Lejeune?


If you believe that you may have been exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune, there are a number of steps that you can take. First, it is always a good idea to speak with a skilled attorney who can handle toxic tort cases. They can answer all of your questions and help resolve your claim. It is also a good idea to begin gathering as many documents as you can related to your stay at Camp Lejeune. Medical documents related to any illnesses you developed should also be preserved.


The toxic tort attorneys at The Carrillo Law Firm are here to help you in any way that we can. We care deeply that the victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination accident get the medical and financial support that they need in order to recover. We are also able to pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf if you lost someone who became ill from staying at Camp Lejeune. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent analysis of your particular case we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.

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