Veterans, Families & Civilians That Resided On Camp Lejeune Have Limited Time To File A Claim For Compensation

How it works

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Answer a brief, private online questionnaire that asks for key details of the experience

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Have the case evaluated by a legal team free of charge without any obligation to file

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Depending on the circumstances, the case could be filed for potential compensation

More Information

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The Department Of The Navy Made A Significant Announcement On September 6, 2023

The Department of the Navy made a significant announcement on September 6, 2023. This announcement pertains to a framework established to assess and settle a limited number of claims brought under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This framework, known as the "Elective Option" or "EO," was unveiled just after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act's first anniversary, commemorated on August 10, 2023.

The Elective Option framework delineates the compensation amounts available to individual claimants. Notably, these compensation amounts are solely determined based on a claimant's diagnosis and the duration of their exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Other factors, such as the severity or duration of the illness, the required treatment, or the impact of the disease on the claimant's life, are not considered. Furthermore, claimants who suffer from multiple qualifying diseases will only receive compensation for one disease.

The compensation amounts are structured as follows, categorized by the length of exposure and the type of qualifying injury:

Length of Exposure:

  • 30 to 364 days
  • 1 year to 5 years
  • More than 5 years

Tier 1 Qualifying Injury:

  • $150,000
  • $300,000
  • $450,000

Tier 2 Qualifying Injury:

  • $100,000
  • $250,000
  • $400,000

In cases where a qualifying injury or disease results in the claimant's death, an additional $100,000 will be offered. However, it's important to note that the Navy's guidance document does not clarify the distribution of payments for deceased victims, raising concerns about how these payments will be allocated, whether it be according to the decedent's will, the intestacy laws of North Carolina, the laws of the state where the decedent resided at the time of their passing, or through some other mechanism.

The eligibility criteria for receiving an Elective Option settlement are stringent, making it challenging for most claimants to qualify. Eligibility hinges on two primary components: Qualifying Injury and Duration of Exposure.

To establish a Qualifying Injury, claimants must prove that they have one of the qualifying injuries listed in the framework. These injuries are categorized into two tiers. Claimants must demonstrate that they were diagnosed or first treated for the qualifying injury before August 10, 2022, at least two years after their initial exposure to the water contaminants and not more than 35 years after their last exposure. Meeting these criteria necessitates the presentation of original, certified copies of medical documentation or, if impossible, a written statement under oath, along with uncertified copies.

The burden of meeting these requirements is substantial, mainly since many claimants were diagnosed or treated for their Camp Lejeune-related injuries several decades ago, making it exceedingly difficult to procure the necessary records. However, there is an exception for claimants receiving benefits or healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a qualifying disease, allowing them to rely on those benefits to establish a qualifying injury.

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More On What Qualifying Injury and Duration of Exposure Means to Veterans

In addition to proving a Qualifying Injury, claimants must demonstrate their Duration of Exposure. This entails providing evidence that they lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Importantly, claimants cannot rely on affidavits or statements for this purpose; they must substantiate their exposure through housing or employment documentation such as military service records, tax returns, driver's licenses, pay stubs, or employment contracts. Like the medical documentation, this places a significant burden on claimants, as it is unlikely that they can obtain such documents decades later.

Fortunately, claimants receiving VA benefits or healthcare related to a qualifying disease associated with Camp Lejeune can use those benefits to establish up to one year of exposure.

For claimants seeking to establish that a qualifying injury or disease resulted in death, additional documentation is required. They must provide a "long form" death certificate containing a medical report detailing the cause of death or a signed letter from the decedent's treating physician.

If an administrative claim is submitted to the Navy, it will be assessed for eligibility under the Elective Option framework. There is no need to resubmit a claim if it has been previously submitted. If the Navy extends an offer to a claimant, they have 60 days to decide whether to accept or decline the offer. Significantly, taking an Elective Option settlement payment will not impact any VA benefits received by the claimant, and the government will not assert any offset for benefits previously paid against Elective Option settlement payments.

However, it's important to note that the Navy must provide a timeline for evaluating claims under the Elective Option framework. Given that over 90,000 administrative claims have already been submitted to the Navy, the evaluation process is expected to be lengthy, and settlement offers are unlikely imminent.

For those claimants who do not meet the stringent eligibility criteria for an EO offer or choose to reject such an offer, their claims will proceed through the administrative phase and potentially lead to litigation as further settlement frameworks are developed and additional guidance from the Court becomes available.

In conclusion, while the Elective Option framework represents a step forward in addressing the issues stemming from water contamination at Camp Lejeune, it is just the beginning of a long journey for the victims seeking justice.

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How to Prepare for Your Free, Private Case Evaluation

A free, private case evaluation is an opportunity for an attorney to learn more about the incident that harmed a prospective client–also, it’s an opportunity for the lawyer to explain the journey that could lie ahead.

The Shield Law Case Assistance Team offers free case evaluations because they are genuinely concerned about the well-being of veterans and families.

Additionally, an attorney can help a person to learn his or her legal rights in a way that makes them easy to understand.

Some of the questions that might be covered include:

  • Time spent at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Marine Corps Base
  • Specific incidences of injury that occurred
  • Who was notified of the injuries upon diagnoses
  • The negative impact that the injuries had on the client

The attorney will ask many questions and take time to clarify the answers, all to build the most robust case possible.

The client must tell the attorney the absolute truth when discussing the specific incidents–that way, there are no surprises for either party.

The attorney will consider the following concerning compensation:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Past, present, and ongoing medical expenses
  • Other damages resulting from harm

After the free case evaluation, the client can consider whether he or she wants to hire an attorney to represent them and pursue the claim together.

If the client decides to hire the attorney, both parties will agree–then the attorney will keep the client abreast of the trial schedule and any critical dates that involve the client.

The Shield Law Case Assistance Team believes that victims, survivors, and families of the toxic poisonings from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, should be allowed compensation and justice.

About Us

We stand with and up for veterans and families.

The USA Veteran Legal Network is the national clearinghouse for anyone seeking justice and compensation in a court of law.

Our experienced attorneys and their professional support staff treat every client with the dignity and respect they deserve.

For those who want to be thought of as more than just some case number, trust the details of the case to USAVeteranLegalNetwork.com today.

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About Us

We stand with and up for veterans and families.

The USA Veteran Legal Network is the national clearinghouse for anyone seeking justice and compensation in a court of law.

Our experienced attorneys and their professional support staff treat every client with the dignity and respect they deserve.

For those who want to be thought of as more than just some case number, trust the details of the case to USAVeteranLegalNetwork.com today.

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What People Are Saying

“The awesome team at the USA Veteran Legal Network made me feel perfectly at ease with the process–from discussing my experience to representing me in court. I can’t thank you enough for everything you did for me and my family!“

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Chris P.

Atlanta, GA

“I just wanted to thank the USA Veteran Law Group for treating me and my case with the dignity and professionalism that they did. Communication and support from start to finish. I’m so thankful that I trusted you guys.“

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Jen S.

New York, NY

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