Parkinson’s Disease Claims from Camp Lejeune Water
Parkinson’s disease is one of the presumptive conditions linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Victims of the Contaminated water at Camp Lejeune who suffered from Parkinson’s disease can now get a lucrative Camp Lejeune settlement amount as a result of suffering with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is one of the eight presumptive diseases caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. For more than three decades, the United States military exposed service members and their families to grave danger at Camp Lejeune. Through carelessness and a lack of attention to known potential dangers, several dangerous contaminants made their way into the water that people residing and working on base both drank and bathed in on a daily basis. For years, people who resided at Camp Lejeune were diagnosed with serious illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, and many died from their diseases or cancer.
*This post was updated by a lawyer on February 10th, 2024 in an attempt to provide the most up to date information about Parkinson’s disease and Camp lejeune contaminated water.
Adding to the injustice was the fact that a North Carolina state law and a long-standing doctrine in military cases has kept injured people from suing the federal government. Even when they suffered at the hands of the government, they could not get financial compensation. Now, a new law passed by Congress, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, can enable you and your family to recover for injuries caused by toxic Camp Lejeune water. One of these conditions is Parkinson’s Disease.
May 16th, 2023 update: “Marines who were stationed at Camp Lejeune had a 70% higher risk of Parkinson’s disease than veterans who served at a post across the country, a new study found. The difference may have been in the Camp Lejeune vets’ exposure to a chemical known as trichloroethylene (TCE), a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, the researchers warn. And the risk of developing this disorder of the nervous system may be higher for millions more people.” CNN
Most of the presumptive Camp Lejeune illnesses for which the Veterans Administration will grant benefit claims are forms of cancer. However, there is another condition on the list of eight presumptive illnesses for which injured veterans can receive disability benefits. Those who have been exposed to Camp Lejeune water and have developed Parkinson’s disease may both be eligible for veterans benefits and able to file a lawsuit for their injuries. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s after spending more than 30 days at Camp Lejeune between the years of 1953 and 1987, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition that impacts movement and can completely rob you of your quality of life. The condition results from a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain that produces a chemical called dopamine. This chemical helps regulate brain function. When dopamine levels are lower, you will have a typical brain function. Here are some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Slow movement
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture
- Loss of automatic movement
- Difficulty swallowing and speaking
- Difficulty walking
There is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease yet. The neurological condition will gradually take the patient’s quality of life, even when it is not fatal. Over time, the condition will grow worse, even if medication can help patients manage it somewhat. Parkinson’s disease may reduce life expectancy by several years. Many patients are diagnosed with a condition after the age of 60, and the average lifespan of someone with Parkinson’s disease is between 10 and 20 years. During that time, they will experience a high amount of pain and suffering because of the loss of quality of life and the difficulty of living with the disease.
What is Parkinson’s disease
“Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves. Symptoms start slowly. The first symptom may be a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder may also cause stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.” Mayo Clinic
Parkinson’s disease is a type of disorder of the nervous system. It erodes a victim’s control of their own movements progressively over time. Parkinson’s disease is often tricky to diagnose, initially. Parkinson’s progresses at a snail’s pace. Many victims overlook obvious symptoms. Sadly, there is no cure currently discovered for Parkinson’s disease. However, there are certain methods to inhibit the development of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s Disease Often Results from Exposure to Toxins in the Environment
It is important to know that most cases of Parkinson’s disease do not occur naturally. There are some cases where genetics will cause Parkinson’s disease, but it is rare. Most instances of the illness result from exposure to some sort of toxin. For example, there is multidistrict litigation that alleges that exposure to the herbicide Paraquat caused hundreds of farmworkers and people who lived in surrounding areas to develop Parkinson’s disease. Multiple research studies revealed a much higher rate of the disease among these workers than normal.
Here, there were numerous toxins in the Camp Lejeune water that could have caused both service members and their families to develop Parkinson’s disease. Even though the general risk of developing the condition from environmental toxins is small, prolonged exposure or ingesting large amounts of a chemical could raise the risks.
The Veterans Administration reached the same conclusion after reviewing the results of the study performed by the ATSDR. Not only did the agency find that the mortality rate from Parkinson’s disease far exceeded the usual number, but it also speculated that the condition itself was underreported on death certificates.
There were four primary chemicals to which Camp Lejeune service members and their families were exposed. They are:
- Vinyl Chloride
In particular, TCE has been connected with Parkinson’s disease. TCE Is an industrial solvent that is often used in dry cleaning. One of the major causes of Camp Lejeune water contamination was the dry cleaner that was located off base, approximately two miles uphill from a groundwater well. Although this particular contamination may not have been the exact cause of the increased rate of Parkinson’s disease, it certainly would raise the risk for anyone exposed to the water.
You Can Get Financial Compensation for Parkinson’s Disease After Being at Camp Lejeune
After Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022+ as part of the PACT Act, injured service members and others who experienced harm after being exposed to Camp Lejeune water may file a claim for compensation against the federal government. You may have a potential claim if your harm:
- was caused by exposure to the water;
- was associated with exposure to the water;
- was linked to exposure to the water; or
- the exposure to the water increased the likelihood of such harm.
Anyone who was at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between 1953-1987 may file a claim if the above applies. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act relaxed the causation requirement, but you may still need to cite studies and have some expert witness testimony regarding your condition. Since Parkinson’s disease is one of the eight presumed conditions connected with Camp Lejeune water, causation may be less of a challenge. Still, you would need an attorney to both value your claim and help you negotiate the right settlement amount. Just because the government has given you a cause of action to file a claim does not mean that it is committed to paying you the amount that you deserve in damages. The federal government can be as bad as any insurance company when it comes to fairly compensating you for your injuries.
A Parkinson’s disease settlement would have a different value than one for cancer. A guidepost for what you may expect from your Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease claim could be other lawsuits. There had been estimates that people who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after exposure to hazardous chemicals could expect a lucrative settlement amount of over $500,000.
What Your Camp Lejeune Settlement Should Include
Here, you could expect the following as part of your Camp Lejeune settlement:
- The complete cost of your medical care, including doctor’s office visits and prescription medication (As doctors make medical advances, the cost of treatment increases)
- Lost wages if your condition leaves you unable to work or renders you incapable of doing the job that you were working in prior to the diagnosis
- Pain and suffering for the experience of living with a debilitating disease ( when you have a degenerative condition oh, you may both experienced physical pain and mental anguish from losing your quality of life)
- Embarrassment and humiliation (Parkinson’s disease patients are often embarrassed because they cannot speak in the same way as others, and they cannot control their movements)
- In the rare event that the Parkinson’s disease was fatal, a family would be able to file a wrongful death lawsuits to recoup their losses when their loved one died
According to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the fact that you have received or will receive disability benefits does not impact your ability to file a claim and lawsuit. There may be an offset from your camp Lejeune settlement amounts for similar VA benefits already received. Your first step is to contact and experience Camp Lejeune attorney to begin the process of filing a claim against the federal government. You have a limited amount of time to act before the cause of action that allows you to sue the federal government goes away completely. Once the two year time clock expires, you lose the right to file a lawsuit forever.