And they deserve every cent!
More than 10,000 workers were exposed to tons of toxic dust in the aftermath of 9/11 and their legal battle with New York City in a joint a settlement worth at least $625 million.
The deal will resolve most of the lawsuits over NYC's failure to provide protective equipment to construction workers, police officers and firefighters who spent months clearing and sifting through rubble at ground zero.
Thousands claimed that soot at the site got into their lungs and made them extremely ill.
"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.
Paul Napoli, a senior partner with the law firm representing most of the workers, called the settlement "the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation."
It will provide at least $625 million to the workers, although deals with other defendants, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will likely boost that total to over $725 million.
Most of the money will come from the $1 billion fund set up by Congress and paid-for by taxes.
The U.S. Senate is considering legislation, which was already passed in the House, that would authorize $7.4 billion in additional medical care and payments to the sick.
Several NY lawmakers that sponsored the bill gave the following statement:
"Nearly everyone agrees that the settlement does not provide adequate funding to fully compensate those who are injured among the more than 10,500 plaintiffs in this case, nor does it cover the tens of thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors who are injured but have not filed lawsuits."
The sad thing is that legal fees will eat about a quarter of the money available to plaintiffs.
We hope the sick get the help they need and the money to support their families! We owe them that!
[Image via AP Images.]