While a planned mosque near the World Trade Center site is getting all of the attention, the people who paid a big price for their heroism on 9/11 are quietly getting stiffed, some of them say.
The New York Times reports that settlement letters have been arriving at the homes of 9/11 rescue workers, many of whom have suffered devastating health effects of that work, and the $712 million settlement comes down to a pretty small amount once the fees and lawyer bills are added in. But the price of a life is, at best, a puzzling calculation:
Plaintiffs with cancer would receive relatively low compensation under the settlement because of the difficulty of proving a link between the illness and exposure at ground zero. A condition like asthma may draw more money because it is more likely to be proved in court with expert testimony to have resulted from exposure to particulates there than, say, lung cancer is, lawyers involved in the cases say.
In order for the money to be paid, however, 95 percent of the people eligible for it have to agree to take it.
“It weighs heavy on one’s mind that your decision would impact the compensation of those who are sick,” one ground zero workers said, “because if you don’t get 95 percent you’re not going to settle.”