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Camp Lejeune compensation claims

Those serving in the military are entitled to expect that a number of basic requirements will be met by their leaders. As a minimum, members of the military should expect that when they are based in a military camp on friendly soil, they have access to safe drinking water. It is shocking, therefore, to learn that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a US military base in North Carolina frequented by members of the UK Armed Forces, was heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals for more than 30 years. In some cases the levels of toxic chemicals were between 240 and 3,400 times higher than what was permitted.

The long-term impact of this dangerous exposure is now becoming apparent. Many individuals who served at Camp Lejeune have developed serious illnesses. Unfortunately, in some cases they have died as a result of these entirely preventable diseases.

So why should this be of interest to former UK military personnel? Put simply, this is not a problem restricted to those who served in the US military. It has become clear that even a short period of time spent at Camp Lejeune is capable of causing serious illness. If military personnel from the UK spent time at Camp Lejeune between the 1950s and the 1980s, they were placed at increased risk of developing a number of serious illnesses.

To start your claim with Hugh James, get in touch. Alternatively, you can call us on 0808 501 7043

What has happened at Camp Lejeune?

Problems with the drinking water at Camp Lejeune were first identified by the US Government in the early 1980s. High levels of dangerous chemicals such as perchloroethylene (PCE), a solvent used for dry cleaning and trichloroethylene (TCE), used as a degreaser for metal parts, were found in the drinking water. It was established that the water had been contaminated since the early 1950s, placing the health of all who had been based at the Camp at risk.

What illnesses can be caused?

The range of chemicals in the water and the dangerous levels present mean there are a wide range of illnesses that can be attributed to time spent at Camp Lejeune. It is likely that the following conditions could have been caused if an individual was present at Camp Lejeune:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Non-hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Major cardiac birth defects
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple myleoma
  • Systemic sclerosis/scleroderma

In addition, there is evidence to suggest the following conditions may also have been caused by drinking the water at Camp Lejeune:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Female infertility

Who can claim?

Any individual who meets the qualifying criteria can bring a claim. This includes serving personnel, but also their family members if they also spent time on Camp Lejeune.

It is also possible for the estate of a veteran or family member who spent time on Camp Lejeune and who has subsequently died as a result of one of these conditions, to bring a claim on behalf of their estate.

What are the qualifying criteria?

In order to qualify for a claim the following criteria must be met:

  1. The individual must have been based at or lived on Camp Lejeune between 1 August 1953 and 31 December 1987;
  2. The individual must have spent a minimum of 30 days on Camp Lejeune during this period. These do not need to be consecutive days; provided an individual spent a cumulative total of at least 30 days on Camp Lejeune, this criterion is satisfied;
  3. The individual must have been diagnosed with one of the medical conditions referred to above.

Provided these conditions are satisfied, anyone affected can lodge a claim.

What can be claimed?

Claims can be brought for any financial losses suffered as a result of the illness. This might include any loss of earnings as a result of the individual not been able to work because of their illness. Where private medical costs have been incurred, these can also be claimed back. A claim can also be brought for the distress and suffering caused as a result of the illness.

What will it cost?

If your claim is successful, the costs of bringing your claim will be paid as a deduction from any compensation received. This will never be more than 33.33 % of damages received and will be less than this if your claim is resolved without the need to go to court. If your claim is not successful, you will not have to pay anything.

How long will it take?

It is difficult to say how long it will take for your claim to be concluded. Realistically, this could be up to two years, depending on the attitude taken by the defendant.

Why choose Hugh James?

Hugh James has a long and proven track record of bringing claims on behalf of current and former members of the UK Armed Forces. We have one of the largest Military Departments in the UK and act for many thousands of military clients, on a whole range of legal issues, including personal injury. We are true specialists in this field.

We are signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant and have been awarded the gold certification. We actively and proudly support many military support groups and charities.

We also have a proven history of advising UK based clients in litigation overseas, including the US. We have an extensive network of specialist US attorneys and will ensure your claim is dealt with by a specialist US Attorney with experience of bringing these types of claim.

How do I start my claim?

These claims have been made possible due to a recent change in the law in the US. The previous position was that the US government was not liable for illnesses sustained at Camp Lejeune. However, on August 10 2022 President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act as part of the PACT Act, permitting claims to be brought on behalf of those who suffered illness as a result of time spent on Camp Lejeune. This also allows claimants from outside the US to lodge a claim.

The Act imposes a deadline on the lodging of claims. Anyone who wishes to bring a claim as a result of illnesses developed at Camp Lejeune must bring a claim by no later than 10 August 2024. Any claims brought after this type will not be allowed to continue. If you want to bring a claim, you shouldn’t not delay.

To start your claim with Hugh James, get in touch. Alternatively, you can call us on 0808 501 7043

Key contact

Simon Ellis


Simon Ellis is a Partner with Hugh James and has worked with the firm for more than 25 years, having trained and qualified here. Simon heads up the Military Department, advising and assisting current and former military personnel with various health conditions and injuries. He specialises in claims such as hearing loss, non-freezing cold injuries, compartment syndrome and military injury cases. He is often asked to advise on more unusual claims in the military context.

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