Earlier this year, survivors of the Camp Lejeune water contamination disaster were given another path to long-awaited financial compensation.
After the government failed to settle a single claim in the six months allowed by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA), the U.S. Navy and Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a plan called the Camp Lejeune Elective Option (EO).
The Elective Option offers a payout settlement without requiring litigation. However, only nine presumptive health conditions qualify for the Elective Option, and the compensation someone receives depends on their health condition and how long they were exposed to the Camp Lejeune toxic water. The health conditions are categorized into tiers of possible payouts, the highest of which has a proven link to Camp Lejeune water contamination.
First-tier conditions are kidney, liver, and bladder cancer, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; these Camp Lejeune survivors can receive up to $450,000. Second-tier conditions are Parkison’s disease, end-stage renal disease, systemic sclerosis/scleroderma, and multiple myeloma; survivors can receive up to $400,000. A family member filing a Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim on behalf of someone who died from a qualifying condition will receive an additional $100,000.
You need to go through the Camp Lejeune claims process to be offered the Elective Option settlement. When accepting the EO, claimants forfeit their right to sue the government over Camp Lejeune water contamination. This new settlement option may benefit some Camp Lejeune claimants, but opting out of the Election Option could be a better choice for others.
If you have filed a Camp Lejeune claim and qualify for the EO, you will be contacted about the offer. However, Camp Lejeune toxic exposure survivors or their family members should consider consulting an attorney before accepting any settlement offer – whether or not you qualify for the EO. An experienced Camp Lejeune attorney can help you decide if your payout offer will be adequate for your situation (i.e., medical bills, lost wages, and/or enjoyment of life) or if a lawsuit with a higher potential award would be worth exploring. Every situation is unique, and an attorney familiar with the intricacies of the Camp Lejeune claims process can help you determine the right choice for you and your family.
If you don’t qualify for the EO or choose to pursue a lawsuit, a Camp Lejeune lawyer will know what evidence you’ll need to gather to support your claim and how to find it. They can manage the paperwork, gather expert witnesses, and ensure deadlines are met. While you do have the option of representing yourself, you only have until August 10, 2024, to submit a Camp Lejeune claim, and leaving the work to an experienced attorney will expedite the process considerably.
TV and radio ads have been flooded with law firms offering help with Camp Lejeune lawsuits, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Your attorney should offer:
- Free consultation to explore your options
- Guarantee of no payments or fees unless you win
- Proven experience in personal injury and wrongful death, including at trial
- Adequate resources to give your case the attention it deserves
- Positive reviews from past clients
Be sure to list any questions you may have for a potential Camp Lejeune attorney, no matter how small or meaningless they may seem. It’s vital to establish a trusting working relationship with a lawyer. The right person for your case will ensure the highest level of care, personal attention, and compensation possible.