The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Elective Option: Pros and Cons

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), a significant piece of legislation, was established with the noble intention of addressing the injuries and diseases resulting from the contaminated drinking water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. While the Act offers various means of redress, one particular option – the voluntary elective option (EO) – has been a topic of discussion and concern.

Some benefits of the elective option are:

  1. Simplified Claims Process: Under this option, claimants can opt for a simplified claims process, reducing the burden of extensive documentation and legal procedures.
  2. Expedited Compensation: The initiative prioritizes speedy resolution of claims, ensuring that victims receive compensation and medical care in a more timely manner.
  3. Independent Review:The program includes an independent review of claims to ensure fairness and impartiality, giving claimants confidence in the process.
  4. Legal Assistance: Claimants will have access to some legal assistance and support throughout the process to help them navigate the complexities of their claim.

The levels of compensation include:

  1. Tier 1 Diagnoses: Claimants with diseases for which the ATSDR has substantiated evidence of causation – kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and bladder cancer– would receive settlement offers of $450,000, $300,000 or $150,000, depending on whether the claimant was exposed to Camp Lejeune water for over five years, between one and five years, or between 30 and 364 days, respectively.
  2. Tier 2 Diagnoses: Claimants with diseases to which the ATSDR has linked possible evidence of causation, including multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease (end stage renal disease), systemic sclerosis/systemic scleroderma, will be awarded settlement offers of $400,000, $250,000, or $100,000, depending on whether the claimant was exposed to Camp Lejeune water for over five years, between one and five years, or between 30 and 364 days, respectively.
  3. Claims involving death will receive an additional $100,000.

Here’s why choosing this option might not be the best choice for victims and their families.

  1. Potential for Lower Compensation: The elective option provides victims a pre-defined compensation based on their illness severity and type. While this might seem straightforward and hassle-free, the reality is that this one-size-fits-all approach may not truly reflect the complexities and intricacies of an individual’s illnesses and suffering. There is a risk that the compensation might fall short of what one could have secured through litigation, especially in cases with severe health impacts and significant secondary consequences like job loss, chronic care, or extreme emotional distress.
  2. No Opportunity for Individualized Justice: Every victim has a unique story, a personal journey of pain, suffering, and resilience. Opting for the elective choice essentially means giving up the opportunity to have one’s day in court, to have the individual circumstances recognized and validated. A more personalized legal approach allows for a deeper understanding of each plaintiff’s specific situation and potentially a more fair compensation.
  3. Limited Legal Recourse: As personal injury lawyers entrusted by the VFW to represent and counsel victims of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, our priority is to secure you with as many good options as possible. However, once the elective option is chosen and compensation is accepted, plaintiffs relinquish their rights to any future legal actions regarding the Camp Lejeune contamination. This can be particularly concerning if new information emerges, or if the health effects worsen over time. By closing the door to future litigation, victims and their families could find themselves without recourse down the line.
  4. Inherent Risks of “Quick Fixes”: On the surface, the elective option might appear as a fast-track solution – a quicker way to receive compensation without the prolonged stress of a trial. However, shortcuts often come at a cost. By bypassing the legal process, plaintiffs might inadvertently undervalue their claims or overlook aspects of their case that could be pivotal in ensuring justice.
  5. Bypassing the Accountability Aspect: One of the core principles of legal action is not just to secure compensation but to ensure that entities responsible for harm are held accountable. By opting for the elective route, the rigorous process of investigation, questioning, and confronting those responsible is bypassed. This can diminish the broader impact and societal importance of such cases, which is to prevent such oversights and negligence in the future.

While the elective option in the Camp Lejeune Justice Act may seem like a convenient choice, victims must weigh their decisions carefully. Beyond the immediate concerns of compensation, there are broader implications to consider – justice, accountability, and the opportunity to tell your story.

Camp Lejeune water contamination is a serious and urgent matter that deserves attention and action. At the Herd Law Firm, PLLC, we support every man, woman, and child (including civilians) exposed to contaminants at Camp Lejeune, and believe you deserve quality and attentive legal representation. We are a Tomball law firm based in Houston, and are proud to be able to aid our veterans and their families in seeking restitution for their injuries. We are honored to have been entrusted by the VFW to handle these claims on behalf of veterans and their families. Contact us at the Herd Law Firm at 713-955-4299 or at to speak with us about the full spectrum of options you have, and make an informed choice.

Please note: with regard to the new Elective Option, all claims must be filed as separate lawsuits no later than August 10th, 2024.

More information is available at Read about Public Elective Option Guidance here.


Let’s Discuss Your Case

If you or someone that you know has contracted COVID-19 while on board a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. If so, call the law offices of the Herd Law Firm, PLLC for a risk-free evaluation of your potential case.

Call 713-955-3699 now!

We Are Here To Answer Your Questions