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Louisiana Lawyers Who Help with Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Justice Act

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Camp Lejeune

Are you eligible for a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim? You don’t need a plane ticket or a 1-800 number.

The attorneys of Smith Shanklin Sosa are Louisiana-based — in the state capital of Baton Rouge — and are ready to help. Don’t add inconvenience to your injury by having to video conference and express mail your way to a speedy resolution.

John H. Smith, Smith Shanklin Sosa Law Firm’s founding member, has represented thousands of people who have been unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals in his 28 years of practice.

Mr. Smith is past Chairman of the Toxic Tort Section of Louisiana Trial Lawyers and twice Chairman of the Product Liability Section of the Louisiana Attorneys for Justice Association.

We have the experience and knowledge to handle your claim from start to finish. You can trust us to handle your case.

Located on the coast of North Carolina, Camp Lejeune has long been a hub for the Marine Corps. Since its inception in 1941, Camp Lejeune has hosted millions of civilians, marines, and their loved ones. Today, Camp Lejeune is still an active Marine Corps base and training facility.

What happened at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River (Marine Corps Air Station) has been characterized as potentially the worst water contamination case in history.

The 117th Congress of the United States of America passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to make things right for the veterans and non-service members aboard Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Thanks to the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination are finally eligible to receive justice — and compensation — for their damages.

If you served or were stationed at the North Carolina base during the time of this contaminated water tragedy, the toxic tort lawyers at Smith Shanklin Sosa can help you receive the long-overdue compensation you and your loved ones deserve.

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

From 1953 to 1987, two on-base water wells at Camp Lejeune were found to be contaminated with a range of hazardous chemicals, including dry cleaning solvents, chemicals used on heavy machinery, degreasers, and almost 70 other toxic substances.

These volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were leaking from underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, military operations, and businesses near the base. From there, these poisonous, toxic chemicals made their way into the drinking water of more than a million people for over three decades.

Researchers found that the toxic compounds polluting the Camp Lejeune water were 240 to 3,400 times higher than the safe drinking limit.

Even after they learned about the water contamination in 1980, Marine Corps leadership allowed the toxic drinking water to flow for five more years. They knowingly waited to shut down the contaminated wells until 1985.

As a result of this persistent negligence, several potentially fatal illnesses and diseases have been directly linked to the consumption of the contaminated drinking water from those poisoned wells.

Many veterans from Louisiana and nationwide suffer to this day.

Symptoms of Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Exposure

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to Camp Lejeune contaminated drinking water and the development of certain diseases.

Consumption of these toxic chemicals is known to lead to neurobehavioral effects, and it has been linked to conditions including but not limited to:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Scleroderma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Miscarriage

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022

To help provide Camp Lejeune residents, military members, civilians, and their families with restitution for their damages, U.S. President Joe Biden officially signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 into law on August 10, 2022.

This federal remedy is part of the Honoring our PACT Act, a bill that offers significant increases in health care and disability benefits to millions of veterans and their family members. The new bill allows Camp Lejeune’s water contamination victims to file lawsuits against the federal government and receive compensation for their loss and suffering.


Victims of the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune have been waiting decades for federal justice to fully remedy the harm they suffered at the camp.

In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which offered certain benefits to (Louisiana) veterans and their affected family members, as long as they met strict eligibility criteria. This bill provided injured veterans and their families with access to healthcare benefits, with veterans exclusively made eligible to receive VA disability compensation. In 2017, however, Congress passed another statute that granted additional benefits and expanded on the medical conditions linked to the toxic water exposure at the Marine Corps Base.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 differs from previous federal restitution efforts. It offers healthcare and disability benefits to veterans and affected family members and also provides a clear legal route for those seeking compensation for their health conditions.


Prior to the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, lawsuits filed against the government were dismissed for the following reasons:

  • North Carolina law has a 10-year statute of repose, setting a strict timeline for an injured party looking to file a civil claim.
  • The Feres doctrine prohibits any civil suits brought by service members against the U.S. government for injuries caused by military service.
  • The U.S. government is protected against lawsuits in instances where negligence is not clearly established.

The new Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 overrides these exceptions, allowing Camp Lejeune lawsuits to move forward in the courts. Removing North Carolina’s prior statute of repose, the bill has established a two-year timeframe from the date of the law’s enactment, during which veterans, their families, civilians, and others exposed to the contaminated drinking water can commence legal action.

If you are a victim of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you can not wait. You have two years to file, and the clock is ticking.

While the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina will be the exclusive venue for legal action brought pursuant to the Act, this monumental law gives hope that victims will finally obtain their deserved compensation following the federal government’s negligence.

Eligibility Requirements for Veterans, Guardsmen, and Reservists

To have the grounds for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you must have lived or worked at the base or MCAS New River between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, for at least 30 consecutive days and been exposed to its contaminated water. In addition, you must provide military records proving that you have not received a dishonorable discharge from the military.

Your lawsuit as an active duty member must also include adequate medical evidence that details your official diagnosis of at least one of the corresponding diseases or health conditions, including:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Female infertility
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

Eligibility Requirements for Family Members

To file a contaminated water lawsuit as a family member of military personnel, you must provide evidence that proves:

  • Your relationship with the veteran
  • You lived at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
  • Your diagnosis of one of the corresponding diseases or health conditions and your relevant medical records

Damages for Water Contamination Illnesses

To receive full compensation for your contaminated water exposure, it’s important to account for all of the damages you and your family have faced as a result of being stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of society and companionship

It’s important to note that individuals previously granted VA health care and disability benefits for health conditions linked to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water will have their compensation reduced in proportion to prior payments and/or awards.

The Role of an Experienced Louisiana Toxic Tort Lawyer

If you were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, an experienced toxic tort attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Offering expert legal guidance, our Louisiana Camp Lejeune lawyers will investigate your case, explain the process of receiving health care and disability benefits, and help you navigate the courts for your contaminated water lawsuit.

In addition to assuring that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, a Louisiana Camp Lejeune lawyer can help you file an appeal if you have previously applied for VA disability benefits and been denied — whether you’re active duty personnel or a family member.

It is important that you get representation as soon as possible. We are able to meet with you anywhere in the state of Louisiana to help start your claim in accordance with the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water FAQ


According to Consumer Notice, exposure to the toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune has caused emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, with presumptive neurobehavioral effects including memory impairment, insomnia, poor concentration, headaches, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and anxiety.


Tests from samples of water supply wells and routine water treatment plant sampling have identified that the four main contaminants in the water supply were perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride (VC).


Those exposed to the toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune are eligible to apply for disability benefits on the VA’s eBenefits site. To receive benefits, your application must include evidence that you have served or lived at Camp Lejeune/MCAS New River during the required timeframe. Your application must also include medical records showing your diagnosis of one or more of the presumptive conditions.

Even though the forms are publicly available, your best chance at a successful claim may be with a Lousiana Lawyer, experienced in toxic torts, like the Camp Lejeune contaminated water tragedy.

Start Your Contaminated Water Lawsuit Today

No matter if you’re a retired veteran or a family member of active duty personnel, you deserve financial compensation for the decades of personal injury caused by Camp Lejeune’s toxic chemicals.

At Smith Shanklin Sosa, our team of lawyers has 28-plus years of experience working with victims of toxic chemical exposure and can help you file your claim against the federal government.

To speak with a Louisiana Camp Lejeune lawyer about your case, contact us today for your free consultation.