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Camp Lejeune Early Settlement Program

Earlier this week, the Navy and the DOJ announced that they were launching a new elective settlement program for the Camp Lejeune water contamination claims.

Are these Camp Lejeune settlement offers fair?  They are not.  Still, this is a major breakthrough in the battle to get compensation for victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination. The settlement program gives certain Camp Lejeune claimants the option of accepting an immediate, expedited settlement of their claim for a pre-set payout amount. The settlement payments under the program range from $100,000 to $450,000 depending on how long the claimant was at Lejeune and what type of disease they have.

On this page we will provide a clear explanation of the Camp Lejeune early settlement program. We will explain who qualifies for the program and how much money individual claimants would get if they accept the offer.

About the Settlement Program

The Camp Lejeune early settlement program was announced earlier this week. It is an optional program that gives Camp Lejeune water contamination claimants under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (“CLJA”) the option to accept a small, pre-determined payoff amount to resolve their claim. The main benefit of the settlement program is that it provides a fast, simple process through which claimants can get immediate settlement compensation if they are willing to accept a lower amount.

The goal of the program is to quickly resolve a percentage of the growing number of Camp Lejeune claims. There are currently over 90,000 active CLJA claims. The settlement program is hoping to temp a large number of these claimants into accepting a quick, immediate payoff.

The settlement offer encompasses – with the exception of cardiac defects – illnesses or conditions that have been identified by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as having evidence at a level equal to or greater than “equipoise” for a causal connection to one or more contaminants found in the Camp Lejeune water.

The payout structure operates through something the DOJ is calling an “Elective Option Grid,” which is like a structured table. It’s designed to decide who qualifies for benefits based on their health conditions. There are two main groups of health conditions: “Tier 2” for conditions where there’s good evidence, and “Tier 1” for conditions where there’s even stronger evidence.

Additionally, the EO considers how long people were exposed to the contaminated water. There are three exposure duration categories: (1) between 30 and 364 days, (2) between 1 and 5 years, and (3) more than 5 years. This helps determine who qualifies for benefits under the EO based on both their health condition and how long they were exposed to the contaminated water.

Who Qualifies for the Settlement Program?

Unfortunately, not all of the 90,000 Camp Lejeune claimants will be eligible to participate in the settlement program. The early settlement program is only being made available to claimants who have one of 9 specific diseases, which are considered “qualifying injuries” under the settlement program. The 9 diseases are those that have the strongest scientific causation evidence linking them to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

In addition to having one of the 9 qualifying injuries, claimants who want to participant in the settlement program must have file their administrative claims with the Navy and submitted all required documentation.

What Are the 9 Qualifying Injuries Under the Settlement Program

Only those Camp Lejeune claimants with a “qualifying injury” will be eligible to receive payouts under the early settlement program. Right now, the list of qualifying injuries under the settlement program is limited to 9 very specific diseases or health conditions. These are the 9 diseases that have the best evidence linking them to the toxic water at Lejeune.

The 9 diseases on the qualifying injury list are also separated into Tier 1 or Tier 2 rankings. Claimants with Tier 1 diseases qualify for slightly higher settlement awards compared to claimants with Tier 2 injuries. The tier rankings are based on the comparative strength of the scientific evidence connecting the disease to the Camp Lejeune water. The diseases in Tier 1 have stronger evidence than those in Tier 2. The 9 qualifying injuries under the Lejeune settlement program are as follows:

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Tier 1
Liver Cancer Tier 1
Kidney Cancer Tier 1
Leukemias (all types) Tier 1
Bladder Cancer Tier 1
Kidney Disease / End Stage Renal Disease Tier 2
Parkinson’s Disease Tier 2
Multiple Myeloma Tier 2
Systemic Sclerosis / Systemic Scleroderma Tier 2

Camp Lejeune claimants who based their claim one of these 9 diseases will qualify to participate in the program, as long as they meet all of the other requirements. The list of qualifying diseases and their Tier ranking is not based on how bad the disease is compared to others. Inclusion on this list and the ranking in Tier 1 or 2 rankings is based solely on how strong the legal causation evidence is that links the disease to exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.

How Much Are the Payouts Under the Camp Lejeune Settlement Program?

The settlement payouts offered under the Camp Lejeune early settlement program range from $100,000 to $450,000.  The settlement program has adopted a 2-by-3 grid system that is used to determine how much compensation each individual claimant qualifies for.  The settlement grid takes into account 2 different factors or circumstances for each claimant:

  • Length of time at Camp Lejeune; and
  • Whether the claimant has a Tier 1 or Tier 2 disease
Under 1 Year 1-5 Years Over 5 Years
Tier 1 $150,000 $300,000 $450,000
Tier 2 $100,000 $250,000 $400,000

Length of Time at Camp Lejeune is the Most Important Factor

The total length of time that a claimant was exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune (i.e., when they lived or worked at Lejeune) is the most significant factor for determining how much compensation that claimant qualifies for under the settlement program. If your total time working or living at Camp Lejeune is less than 1 year, the maximum compensation you can get under the settlement program is $150,000. Anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for 1-5 years is eligible to get up to $300,000. Claimants who spent more than five years at Camp Lejeune qualify for the maximum settlement payouts of $400,000 to $450,000.


Calculating Length of Time at Camp Lejeune

The duration of an individual claimant’s exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune for purposes of the settlement grid is based on the cumulative time spent at Lejeune, even if those stays were not consecutive. The length of exposure is calculated based on the total cumulative number of days that a claimant lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. You would count all of the days you spent at Camp Lejeune during that time frame and the total number of days would be your length of exposure, even if they were spread out over several years. Below are a few examples of how this time calculation works.

Example A:

David enlisted in the Marines in 1975 and was discharged in 1981. In 1975 David spent 3 months (90 days) at Camp Lejeune for training. For the next 5 years David did not spend any time at Camp Lejeune. However, towards the end of his time in the Marines he was stationed at Camp Lejeune and spent a total of 10 months there from 1980 to 1981. David’s total length of exposure at Camp Lejeune would be 13 months, putting him in the 1-5 years category on the settlement grid. David’s CLJA claim is based on his diagnosis with kidney cancer. Kidney cancer is a Tier 1 disease so David would qualify to get $300,000 under the settlement program.

Example B:

Amy’s father was in the Marines and she lived in the on base housing at Camp Lejeune on 3 separate occasions over a period of 10 years. Her first stay a Camp Lejeune was for 16 months from 1980-1981. Amy lived at Camp Lejeune for another 16 months from 1984-1985. Finally, Amy lived at Camp Lejeune for 36 months beginning in January 1987 and ending in January 1990. Amy’s total exposure time under the settlement program would be 44 months (3.6 years). The first 2 stays of 16 months count, but only the first 12 months of her final 3 stay count because the last 2 years came after the cutoff deadline at the end of 1987. Amy’s CLJA claim is based on multiple myeloma, a Tier 2 disease, so she would qualify for $250,000 under the settlement program.

Is the Settlement Program a Good Deal?

The answer is no. The Camp Lejeune early settlement program is not offering full value to claimants. The settlement amounts under the program are significantly less than what most claimants would get if there case moved forward and went to trial or if they got a later settlement.

That being said, the early settlement program might actually be a good deal for certain claimants. Claimants who were only at Camp Lejeune for a very short amount of time (e.g. 2 or 3 months) might have a difficult time proving that their disease was caused by their brief exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune as opposed to other factors. For these claimants, taking the settlement payouts under the settlement program might actually make sense.

Call Our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyers

Contact our Camp Lejeune attorneys today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free no-obligation online consultation.



Client Reviews
Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa