Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Since 1982, the U.S. government has been aware of the contamination of the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a North Carolina Marine base camp. According to the tests the U.S. government conducted, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in two of the eight water treatment plants on the base, and the government began shutting down the most contaminated wells a couple of years later.

It took another five years for the water on the base to be declared completely safe for human consumption. The federal government estimates that as many as 1 million military personnel, civilian staff, and their family members may have been exposed to the base’s contaminated water, which may have elevated their risk for cancer.

Thanks to a new federal law that was passed this summer, those affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can sue the federal government for their injuries and illnesses.

What should people know about these lawsuits and whether they qualify? Read on to find out more:

Contamination at Camp Lejeune Linked to Cancer

According to a study published in 2014, compared to military personnel stationed in other locations, servicemembers stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1975 and 1985 had significantly higher rates of death from many types of cancer, including:

  • All cancers: 8% higher

  • Kidney: 30% higher

  • Liver: 32% higher

  • Esophageal: 37% higher

  • Hodgkin: 8% higher

  • Multiple myeloma: 42% higher

  • Leukemia: 5% higher

  • Cervical: 81% higher

  • Pancreatic: 34% higher

  • Rectal: 50% higher

  • Prostate: 23% higher

Who Is Eligible for the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

In 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established a presumptive service connection for conditions related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune with regard to VA benefits. Those parameters are:

  • At least 30 days of service (consecutive or nonconsecutive) at the base between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.

  • A diagnosis of a presumptive condition.

  • Lack of dishonorable military discharge.

The PACT Act does not change those parameters with regard to VA benefits. But it does establish a right for qualified individuals to sue the federal government for damages related to their illness.

A presumptive condition for toxic exposure means that the VA assumes (or presumes) that military service caused the condition in question, and with the PACT Act, the presumptive service connection was expanded to those serving at Camp Lejeune diagnosed with any of these conditions:

  • Adult leukemia

  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

  • Bladder cancer

  • Kidney cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Parkinson’s disease

Will VA Benefits Affect Lawsuits?

Yes, if you win damages in a lawsuit against the federal government over your exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the award will be reduced by the same amount as any VA disability payments or other benefits you might have received.

Despite this, thousands of people have already filed claims since the PACT Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022. And attorneys for those who have filed or are planning to have estimated that as many as a half-million claims could be in the offing.

Contact an Expert Attorney

If you or a loved one were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, they may be eligible for damages paid out by the federal government beyond any VA benefits. Contact the Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock for more information.


Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. (Undated) Retrieved from

Disabled American Veterans, Considerations for Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuits. (Undated) Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues. (2022) Retrieved from

Environmental Health, Evaluation of mortality among marines and navy personnel exposed to contaminated drinking water at USMC base Camp Lejeune: a retrospective cohort study. (2014) Retrieved from