ABC News’ Reema Dutt reports: “They never thought about themselves, they never thought if they were going to get compensated. They did this for the city of New York,” attorney Marc Bern of Worby, Groner, Edelman & Napoli, Bern LLP told the Law & Justice Unit.
Bern is a member of the law firm that helped negotiate a $657 million settlement between New York City and injured ground zero workers. “We’re quite gratified that we’ve been able to reach this settlement on behalf of those who were the real heroes,” he added.
Now, Ground Zero rescue and response workers who fell ill from the dust and debris of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks will finally receive restitution. The WTC Captive Insurance Co, an organization that was established to allocate grant money to injured 9/11 workers, announced on Thursday that New York City will pay up to $657 million to settle over 10,000 such lawsuits.
According to a statement made by WTC Captive to the PR Newswire, at least 95% of the workers must participate in order for the settlement to be approved. Participating workers must prove that they did in fact work at Ground Zero and they must show medical records proving their health was affected by the work. Plaintiffs have 90 days to review and decide if they agree to the terms of the settlement.
In 2006, lawmakers complained that the WTC Captive Insurance Company and Mayor Bloomberg weren’t properly allocating FEMA’s $1 billion grant that was meant to reimburse injured rescue and recovery workers.
Many have complained about health issues ranging from respiratory problems to cancer because they were not given proper safety equipment from the city.
James Nolan, a carpenter from Yonkers, told AP Writer David Caruso that after helping at the site he developed both lung and leg problems that have led him to take six different medications. "We've had to fight for what we deserve," said Nolan, 45. "I'm glad it's coming to an end where I can feel a little comfortable if I pass away, my wife and kids can get something."
Worker restitution will be given based on the health severity and exposure to dust that each individual suffered. The settlement also accounts for plaintiffs that may develop cancer in the future.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein will be handling the settlement this afternoon. Settlements will range from thousands of dollars up to $1 million.
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