Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is located on the coast of North Carolina. For many Marines, it was just one of many pit stops during their years of military service. However, Camp Lejeune was also home to individuals other than Marine Corps members.
Airmen, soldiers, sailors, and guardsmen representing other branches of the U.S. military have also been stationed at Camp Lejeune, including some who have since been stationed at Fort Knox Army Base, Great Lakes Training Center Navy Base, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Whiteman Air Force Base, and more.
Anyone who was stationed or lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 was exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Those who developed serious illnesses or health concerns as a result of that exposure may be entitled to compensation in a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, regardless of what branch they were affiliated with.
What Happened to the Water at Camp Lejeune?
For a period of over 30 years, two water-treatment plants supplied base facilities, including enlisted-family housing and the medical center with water contaminated with toxic substances. These toxic substances included:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
These and other VOCs found in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water have been linked to an extensive number of health conditions. Men and women who served at the base and their families who lived there have since developed:
- Parkinson’s disease
- End-stage renal disease
- Impaired immune function
- Neurobehavioral performance deficits
The above is only a small snapshot of the kind of pain service members and their families have suffered as a result of their time spent at Camp Lejeune.
Who Was Exposed To Contaminated Water?
Anyone who spent a period of at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune was exposed to levels of contaminated water that was sufficient to cause serious illness. The primary method of exposure was through ingesting or drinking the water, although anyone who also used the water for cooking, washing dishes, showering, or bathing also suffered subsequent exposure through their daily habits.
You were still exposed to contaminated water even if you did not live in enlisted-family housing or the barracks. Simply working on the base likely exposed you to sufficient levels of contaminants through activities such as:
- Showering at the gym after physical training (PT)
- Drinking from water fountains or sinks
- Washing hands after using the restroom
I Wasn’t in the Marines, Can I Still File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
It is possible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit if you served in a different branch of the military. Although not a common practice, it is possible to be stationed at a Marine Corps base while enlisted in another branch.
You may be owed compensation for any resulting illnesses you developed as a result of being stationed at Camp Lejeune or spending at least 30 days there for temporary duty (TDY) while serving in the:
- Air Force
- Coast Guard
Compensation for Family of Service Members Stationed at Camp Lejeune
The spouses and children of service members who lived in Camp Lejeune’s enlisted-family housing from 1953 to 1987 were also exposed to toxic levels of VOCs through the contaminated drinking water. These family members were put at unnecessary risk for serious health conditions and illnesses.
Children, in particular, paid a high price for their parents’ involvement in the military. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented abnormally high levels of the following health conditions among children of Camp Lejeune Marines:
- Childhood hematopoietic cancers (including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia)
- Oral clefts
- Spina bifida
How Do I Prove I Was at Camp Lejeune?
When you file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, you must provide documentation that proves you were at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. The following documents are a few examples of what the attorneys at Thomas Law Offices use to build a strong water contamination case:
- Military service records, including DD Form 214
- Travel records showing TDY assignments
- Medical records
- Housing records
Your attorney should be able to advise you of your options if you are unsure where these documents are or how to request replacements for lost copies.
Standing Up for Those Who Have Been Harmed
Caring for the men and women who choose to serve our country has long been a tenant of organizations like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Unfortunately, those who have been harmed by contaminated water at military bases have historically been prohibited from taking legal action to secure compensation for their injuries.
For anyone who has been stationed at or lived at Camp Lejeune, that recently changed with the passing of the Honoring our PACT Act and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. If you have additional concerns about filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit if you were not in the Marines or are ready to move forward with a claim, get in touch with our law offices today. Thomas Law Offices offers free case evaluations for most personal injury cases.