Camp Lejeune Victims


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.


How toxic materials in the water at Camp Lejeune affected soldiers and their families

Due to the dumping of oil, industrial wastewater, and radioactive chemicals into storm drains, soldiers, workers, and families stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from August 1953 through December 1987 might have been exposed to toxic groundwater.

The groundwater at the Tarawa Terrace housing units could possibly have been contaminated with one or more of the following toxins at seriously elevated levels:

  • Benzene, an industrial solvent;
  • Perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning solvent;
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser; and,
  • Vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in plastics..

The levels of both chemicals PCE and TCE found in the groundwater during this time period exceeded recommended safe levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Several local businesses adjacent to the Camp Lejeune military base leaked elevated levels of toxic chemicals into the Tarawa Terrace drinking water system water supply–this meant that veterans, workers, and families living there were exposed to health-threatening conditions.

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