In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, thousands of New York City employees worked to clear the rubble at Ground Zero and keep the city running. Many of those workers suffered serious illnesses because of the dust that covered the city, others lost their lives working to recover victims of the attacks.
Last spring, a settlement deal was worked out between attorneys for 10,000 of those workers and the city. According to the tentative agreement, injured workers or families of first responders who died would receive between tens of thousands of dollars and more than a million in workers’ compensation.
Class action lawsuits are slightly different than individual workers’ compensation cases, and the 9/11 attacks put this case in an entirely different category of workers’ comp. 95 percent of the victims in this case need to agree to the settlement for it to go into effect. If fewer than that number accepts the deal, the attorneys and the city will need to go back to the drawing board.
The New York City mayor as well as the person overseeing the workers’ claims have urged individuals who suffered while working at Ground Zero to accept the settlement by November 8 and end the legal proceedings. If enough cleanup workers accept the deal, the city’s 9/11 compensation fund could pay victims a total of $712.5 million.
Mayor Bloomberg said that the victims “acted unselfishly and heroically in response to that attack both on 9/11 and in its aftermath.” He went on to say that the first responders and cleanup workers who suffered would be best served by accepting the city’s settlement offer.
Source: NYDailyNews.com, “Mayor Bloomberg begs Ground Zero responders to take 9/11 settlement,” Erin Einhorn, 5 Oct 2010