On September 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Navy (DON) finalized the “Elective Option” process for Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) claims. This option complements others available under the act. It was developed to make it more efficient to resolve these claims.
Direct Federal Lending offers Camp Lejeune lawsuit loans. For more information about them, contact us today. In the meantime, we provide information about the Camp Lejeune quick settlement decision and what it means for those who have filed claims.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is part of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act. It was put into effect on August 10, 2022.
With CLJA, people can file claims to recover damages for injuries relating to exposure to contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. They are eligible to pursue damages if they were exposed to contaminated water at any point from mid-1953 through 1987. They must have been at this location for a minimum of 30 days.
The Elective Option serves as a framework to quickly, equitably, and transparently resolve CLJA claims. It involves a DON review on certain aspects of a claim. These may include the type of injury a claimant suffered and the length of time they worked or resided at Camp Lejeune.
Within the Elective Option framework, DON can make settlement offers to qualifying claimants. It can do so to those dealing with diseases that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has linked to chemicals found in water at Camp Lejeune.
How much money a claimant can get with this option varies based on ATSDR requirements. The agency accounts for the strength of evidence that links a specific disease to the amount of time an individual was present at Camp Lejeune.
At this time, there are two categories of diagnoses that dictate how much a claimant may be able to secure in a Camp Lejeune Elective Option settlement:
This applies to claimants with diseases that ATSDR has determined there is evidence of causation, i.e., that exposure to dangerous chemicals at Camp Lejeune led to these health issues. Examples of diseases that meet these criteria include:
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Claimants in this tier may be able to receive a settlement of $150,000, $300,000, or $450,000. The total amount depends on whether an individual spent between 30 and 364 days ($150,000), one and five years ($300,000), or more than five years (450,000) at Camp Lejeune.
Like Tier 1, a claimant in Tier 2 must be able to show that they are dealing with a disease linked to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune. They must also provide evidence of causation. Some of the diseases that fall into this category of claims include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Systemic sclerosis/scleroderma
- Kidney disease
A claimant may be able to receive a settlement proposal of $100,000, $250,000, or $500,000. The amount of this offer is based on whether someone was located at Camp Lejeune for a period of 30 to 364 days ($100,000), one to five years (250,000), or more than five years ($400,000).
Along with getting the compensation associated with the diseases in these tiers, any claims in which someone died can receive an additional $100,000 in damages.
The Elective Option helps Camp Lejeune claimants get settlement offers close to those of other individuals who are dealing with similar health problems. It involves the use of evidence to determine if someone is entitled to compensation based on their presence at Camp Lejeune. If so, this individual may get a settlement offer that gives them an adequate amount of money to cover all of their related losses.
By narrowing the scope of review, DON can validate the legitimacy of a CLJA claim. From here, a claimant may be better equipped to receive a fair settlement offer faster than ever before.
To qualify for this option, a claimant must submit their administrative request to DON. You will need to provide your military records to show that you were present at Camp Lejeune during the period in which there were concerns about exposure to contaminated water. These records will also provide details about the length of time you spent at this location.
You may be able to file a claim based on a wrongful death. To determine if this is a viable option, partner with a wrongful death lawyer. This allows you to discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation. Your attorney can discuss what documentation you will need to provide to submit your claim.
If you received treatment for a water contamination disease that may be related to your time at Camp Lejeune, you must be able to provide appropriate documentation. You must be able to show that you were treated for the disease and when you were diagnosed with it. If you were never formally diagnosed with a particular disease but have been treating the symptoms of it, you may be able to share this information. This allows you to provide evidence that indicates you have been dealing with a health issue that may be linked to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune.
People who are waiting for an administrative claim to be finalized, pursuing litigation, or involved in settlement discussions are ineligible for the Elective Option. The DOJ is screening already-filed lawsuits. It is extending settlement offers in qualifying cases, and these proposals may be similar to awards given out via the Elective Option.
There is only a two-year time frame for filing Camp Lejeune lawsuits. This window expires in August 2024 since CLJA went into effect in August 2022. The deadline applies even though you may be dealing with a disease caused by contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune many years ago.
You do not have to retain a lawyer to submit an Elective Option claim. However, it may be in your best interests to do so. Your attorney can advocate for you and make sure that your legal rights are protected. They can help you gather evidence and submit your claim in a timely manner.
Those who may qualify for the Elective Option can access the CLJA claim form and other information through the Navy’s website.
On October 30, 2023, a DOJ attorney noted that three people had accepted payouts via the Elective Option in Camp Lejeune contaminated water cases, Reuters reported. In total, these individuals received $850,000.
In December 2023, the U.S. government paid roughly $1.5 million in claims to six people through the Elective Option.
The Elective Option provides a fast, easy option to get compensation for those interested in getting compensation due to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune. Yet, many water contamination at Camp Lejeune claims and lawsuits remain outstanding.
As of October 2023, there were over 117,000 pending administrative Camp Lejeune water contamination claims with the Navy, according to Bloomberg. Also, there were more than 1,300 related lawsuits in federal court in North Carolina.
With a lawsuit loan, you can request funding based on a projected Camp Lejeune settlement. The loan gives you money you can use for the duration of your case. As soon as your claim is settled, you get compensation, then repay your loan.
Direct Legal Funding offers a simple three-step process to obtain a quick settlement decision for Camp Lejeune lawsuit loan. Our team is available to discuss this process and help you determine if now is the right time to get legal funding. To find out more, contact us today.