The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Navy (DON) started offering the “Elective Option” for Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) claims on September 6, 2023. This process was designed to make it faster and easier to get a Camp Lejeune claim settlement. With a clear understanding of this option, you are well-equipped to secure a settlement that lines up with your expectations.
Direct Federal Lending is a leading provider of Camp Lejeune lawsuit loans. If you are interested in our legal funding, contact us today. We also provide answers to some of the most common questions about the Elective Option for Camp Lejeune claims below.
On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Part of the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, CLJA gives people the right to recoup damages if they were exposed to contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.
There are restrictions on who can capitalize on CLJA. To qualify, you must have been present at Camp Lejeune at any time between the middle of 1953 through 1987. You must have been at the base for at least 30 days.
CLJA claims can be tricky, but the Elective Option helps speed up the resolution process. This option consists of a framework for handling these claims.
With the Elective Option framework, DON focuses on specific aspects of a claim. It generally reviews the length of time that a person was located at Camp Lejeune and the disease that may be linked to contaminated water exposure.
DON uses Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) criteria to conduct an evaluation. If it finds that a claimant is dealing with a disease that was likely linked to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune, it offers a settlement.
ATSDR criteria impact how much money is awarded as part of an Elective Option settlement. The agency considers how long you were at Camp Lejeune and if a disease you are dealing with may be linked to contaminated water exposure. It uses a wide range of evidence in its evaluation.
If you qualify for a settlement, your compensation amount depends on the ATSDR tier. There are two tiers:
You may fall into this category if you are dealing with any of the following diseases:
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
In this tier, you may be able to receive any of the following settlement amounts:
- $150,000 if you spent anywhere from 30 to 364 days at Camp Lejeune
- $300,000 if you were at the base for one to five years
- $450,000 if you were located at the base for more than five years
Examples of diseases that fall into Tier 2 include:
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Systemic sclerosis/scleroderma
To qualify for a Tier 2 settlement, you must show that you are dealing with any of these diseases or other serious health conditions that may be linked to contaminated water exposure.
If you meet Tier 2 criteria, you may be able to get a settlement in any of these amounts:
- $100,000 if you were at Camp Lejeune for 30 to 364 days
- $250,000 if you spent one to five years at the base
- $400,000 if you were located at the base for more than five years
You can receive additional compensation if you are submitting a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased person (decedent). In this scenario, you can get $100,000 on top of the previously listed settlement amounts for diseases in Tier 1 and 2.
The Elective Option provides an additional avenue for getting CLJA claim compensation.
For example, you can use this option to share evidence that shows you are dealing with a disease caused by contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune. You can also highlight how you were located at the base within the time frame required for CLJA claims.
From here, DON will review your claim. It will use evidence to figure out if you are entitled to compensation, and if so, just how much.
Since there is only a limited amount of evidence that DON will have to evaluate, it may not take too long to get a settlement offer. As soon as you approve your proposal, you will get money you can use to cover losses you have incurred due to your contaminated water exposure.
To take advantage of the Elective Option, get your military records since these will show that you were present at Camp Lejeune and just how long you were there. You will also need to submit an administrative request to DON.
If you want to submit a claim based on the wrongful death of a spouse, child, or other family member, you may have the option to do so. To find out if you can, consult with a wrongful death lawyer. You can work with an attorney to provide evidence that shows a decedent was dealing with health problems that may be linked to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Plus, your attorney can advocate for you and make sure your legal rights are protected as you move forward with your claim.
In instances where you were treated for health issues that may be related to contaminated water exposure, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to show that you are dealing with a disease, when it was diagnosed, and how it was treated. Even if you never received a formal diagnosis for your disease, you may be able to provide medical records that show you were coping with associated symptoms. With sufficient evidence, you can boost your chances of getting a fair settlement offer.
If you have already submitted an administrative claim, in the midst of a lawsuit, involved in settlement negotiations relating to a Camp Lejeune contaminated water exposure claim, you may be ineligible for the Elective Option. The DOJ is already handling previously filed lawsuits. It is extending settlement offers, many of which include awards comparable to those provided through the Elective Option.
You have a maximum of two years to submit a lawsuit based on Camp Lejeune contaminated water exposure — and time is running out to do so. CLJA has been in effect since August 2022. This means you have until August 2024 to file your claim, even though you were exposed to contaminated water a long time ago.
There is no requirement to hire a lawyer if you move forward with the Elective Option. It is typically a good idea to partner with an attorney since they can help you navigate this process. Your attorney can gather evidence and make sure your claim is submitted before it is too late. They can also teach you about how lawsuit loans work and help you request one based on your projected settlement amount.
If you are ready to begin with the Elective Option, access the CLJA claim form and more information at the Navy’s website.
The first Elective Option payout was reported on October 30, 2023. This payout totaled $850,000 and was given to three people, according to Reuters.
Two months later, an Elective Option payout of roughly $1.5 million was provided to six people.
Per Bloomberg, there were over 117,000 pending administrative Camp Lejeune water contamination claims with the Navy and more than 1,300 related lawsuits in federal court in North Carolina as of October 2023.
There is no telling when these claims and lawsuits will be settled. Fortunately, the Elective Option may speed up the process of getting compensation. It will not prevent you from qualifying for a lawsuit loan, either.
With legal funding, you can get money based on an estimated Camp Lejeune settlement. You can get a pre-settlement loan in a matter of days. In addition, you do not have to repay your loan unless you get compensation.
Direct Legal Funding takes the guesswork out of a quick settlement decision for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit loan. We are happy to discuss our lawsuit funding options with you. To get started, contact us today.