Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Family members who have lost a loved one as a result of contaminated water at camp Lejeune can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the United Stats even if the family member passed away decades ago. If a family member suffered illness, cancer or other harm and died, the family can still probably file a lawsuit even if the cause of death is unrelated to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

camp lejeune death
camp lejeune contamited water death

The story of Camp Lejeune water is a sordid 35-year history of water contamination at Camp Lejeune.  Years of toxic chemicals in the water caused countless deaths. Close to a million people were exposed to hazardous substances in their drinking water. Many of these people died from different types of cancer associated with water contamination.

As a result of a new law passed by Congress, families who have lost a loved one to an illness resulting from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may file a lawsuit for compensation. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of  law specifically states that a personal representative such as an executor, or administrator of an estate can pursue a claim for compensation.

Camp Lejeune Service Members Have Higher Fatality Rates

One study Illustrated the extent of the harm suffered by people exposed to toxic Camp Lejeune water. This study what’s a retrospective look at the death rates of marine and Naval service members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton in California. The death rate for Marines who were at Camp Lejeune was far higher. The Camp Lejeune cohort in the study consisted of over 150,000 people. The service members in the Camp Lejeune cohort lived on base for an average of 18 months. “The study evaluated specific causes of death in 154,932 Marines and Navy personnel who began service during 1975-1985 and were stationed at Camp Lejeune anytime during this period. We also evaluated a comparison group of 154,969 Marines and Navy personnel from Camp Pendleton. The Camp Pendleton group was not exposed to contaminated drinking water, but was otherwise similar to the Camp Lejeune group.” cdc

“The causes of death studied include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancers of the bladder, brain, cervix, colon, esophagus, female breast, kidney, larynx, liver, lung, oral cavity, pancreas, prostate, rectum, and soft tissue
  • Hematopoietic cancers
    • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    • Leukemias
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Non-cancerous kidney diseases
  • Non-cancerous liver diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis” Id.

The Camp Lejeune cohort had higher mortality rates for the following illnesses:

“The higher rates for kidney cancer, cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemias, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer were mainly among those with higher cumulative exposures to the contaminants. However, the precision of the estimated rates of many of these conditions was low.The findings for the smoking-related causes of death such as stomach cancer, cardiovascular disease, and (COPD) suggested that smoking would have only a slight impact on the associations between causes of death and exposure to the drinking water contaminants at Camp Lejeune.” Id.

At the time of the study, 6% of the people in the cohort had already died, so further study was needed.

Other Findings of Camp Lejeune Cancer Studies

Here are some of the individual findings of the study:

  • Camp Lejeune Marines had a 10% higher chance of dying from cancer than Camp Pendleton Marines
  • The higher risk of certain types of cancer range from 35 to 68%.
  • What cancer has been the most talked-about side effects from Camp Lejeune water, The study also found that Marines had twice the risk of ALS if they were exposed to vinyl chloride ( a chemical that has been found in high levels in Camp Lejeune water). This disease is always fatal.

Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death lawsuit is your family’s own personal injury action for the loss of their loved one. Here, the personal injury is that your loved one died because of someone else’s actions.  You may be able to recover the following damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The lost wages that your loved one would have earned had they worked
  • The loss of a close and loving relationship that you had with your family member
  • The loss of the guidance and support that your loved one providing
  • The grief that you experience from a premature death of a loved one at someone else’s hand

In addition, your family would be able to recover for the damages that your loved one suffered before they died. For example, the government would need to pay for the pain and suffering that your loved one endured between the time that they were diagnosed and the time that they died.

Camp Lejeune victims were not just injured service members.

Camp Lejeune victims were not just injured service members. Families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the impacted time period report losing children to cancer.  For example, the Bill in Congress that provided health care for Camp Lejeune victims was named for a nine year old who died from leukemia after living on Camp Lejeune for a period of time.  Many of these victims died in the prime of their lives because of their illness. Thus, the wrongful death damages can be significant.

Here, your lawyer would be negotiating with the federal government for wrongful death compensation. The limitation in the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is that you cannot seek punitive damages against the government, even though they knowingly exposed service members and their family to harm for a period of time.

You Can Even File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit When Your Loved One Died Decades Ago

Under the new law, it does not matter that your loved one died decades ago. So long as they were at the base (lived, worked or were there) for at least 30 days between the years of 1953 and 1987, Your family may be eligible for financial compensation. For a two-year period, there is no time limitation on filing a lawsuit. Your family may even be eligible for financial compensation if your loved one died decades ago. You would just need to prove that your loved one died from a disease that was linked with water contamination.

Since your claim would be filed under North Carolina state law there are two potential ways that you could recover for what happened to your family member. The first is through the wrongful death lawsuit for their actual passing and the harm that it caused to your family.  In addition, North Carolina law also allows for Estates to recover for the harm that the person suffered between the time that they were injured and the time of their death.  This is called the Survival action, and it allows the estate to recover the following:

  • The medical bills that were paid for the loved one’s care
  • burial expenses
  • Lost wages for the time between their injury and their death
  • Pain and suffering damages for what they endured before they died

Settlement amounts for Camp Lejeune deaths likely to exceed 1 million

It is difficult to give an exact amount that your family may be able to expect in wrongful death compensation. The government is legally obligated to pay all claims, and there is no limitation on the amount that they must pay in total to Camp Lejeune victims. In cases like these, wrongful death awards may range up to $1000000 or more. If your loved one died from exposure to contaminated Camp Lejeune water, your family should expect a large sum in damages via settlement or judgment. You have the right to try to negotiate compensation with the federal government. They do not just get to dictate the amount of damages that you can receive.

Factors that Can Impact Your Wrongful Death Settlement Amount

The actual amount of compensation that your family would receive depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The age of the person at the time that they died
  • loss of income
  • their pain and suffering
  • Their role that they played in the family
  • The closeness and nature of their family relationships
  • The effect that their death had on the family

You would only know how much compensation you can get if you contact an experienced Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney today. Your lawyer knows the specific value of wrongful death claims based on their extensive experience. Otherwise, you may never know what you are entitled to, and you are at risk of accepting a much lower offer. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help maximize the value of any claim.  Our Camp Lejeune attorneys know what your case is worth, and we will not let you be at an information disadvantage when negotiating compensation with the federal government.