New World Trade Center Settlement Approved

A federal judge has approved a renegotiated settlement to compensate about 10,000 workers whose health was damaged during the rescue and clean up at the World Trade Center following the terrorist attack of 9/11.

The new $712.5 million settlement increases payouts to those injured and caps the fees going to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

It comes a little more than two months after U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the parties to renegotiate a deal saying that too much of the original $657.5 million settlement was going to plaintiffs’ attorneys and not enough to the victims.

Under the new deal plaintiffs’ attorney fees are capped at 25 percent, adding $50 million to the fund, the WTC Captive Insurance Co is paying an additional $50 million to $55 million in cash, and New York City is waiving certain workers’ compensation liens. As a result of those savings, the payout to WTC plaintiffs will increase by up to $125 million.

In a statement WTC Captive Insurance Co president and CEO Christine LaSala said:

This settlement gives the plaintiffs immediate, fair and reasonable compensation, certainty and closure after years of protracted and costly litigation that will continue without this agreement.†

La Sala also noted that the settlement establishes objective criteria, based upon accepted medical standards, to assess the type and severity of each illness alleged in order to achieve a fair value for each claim.

Under the settlement those suffering debilitating respiratory illnesses such as severe asthma, could receive between $800,000 and more than $1 million. Approximately $1.5 million could go to compensate death claims.

Plaintiffs who have no qualifying injury, but have a legal claim for fear of becoming sick, will receive $3,250. A special insurance policy through MetLife will provide coverage for certain blood and respiratory cancers diagnosed during the coverage period, paying a benefit of up to $100,000.

Judge Hellerstein will hold a public hearing June 23 to hear from parties to the settlement. For more on this story check out a New York Law Journal report via and an online article at National Underwriter. Check out the new I.I.I. paper Terrorism Risk: A Reemergent Threat.

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