More than 10,000 rescue workers sickened by toxic dust and other debris after the September 11 attacks in New York on Friday accepted a 625-million-dollar compensation payout, the government insurer said.
“Over 95 percent of the eligible plaintiffs have accepted a settlement worth at least 625 million dollars in compensation, which will result in the dismissal of their claims,” the specially created insurer said in a statement.
For the deal to go through, a minimum of 95 percent of the more than 10,000 plaintiffs had to accept the package, or there would have been no payment to anyone.
Compensation is determined according to the severity of the illness and how sure it is that the condition is linked to the work done at the World Trade Center, which was destroyed by hijacked airliners on September 11, 2001, clogging lower Manhattan with toxic debris.
That means someone who does not smoke and contracted a severe respiratory illness, like asthma, within seven months of exposure to Ground Zero can receive between 800,000 and just over a million dollars.
Someone who is not injured but has a legal claim to fear of falling sick will receive 3,250 dollars. Someone whose cause of death is determined to have been linked to Ground Zero could receive about 1.5 million dollars.
A lawyer for the victims, Paul Napoli, welcomed the deal, saying that the alternative was extended legal battles.
“We negotiated for over two years to achieve this settlement for our clients, which we truly believe is the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation,” he said.
“This settlement is a fair and just resolution of these claims, protecting those who came to the aid of this city when we needed it most,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
New York, Nov 19, 2010 (AFP)