NYC to pay $657.5M to settle WTC health suits

A judge is expected to rule Friday whether thousands of ground zero workers, who claim to have been sickened while clearing debris for the World Trade Center site, will be compensated for their suffering.

If approved, payments of a $657.5 million settlement will be based on a system that ranks each illness by its severity. Some workers could receive payments of only a few thousand dollars, while others could get more than $1 million.

The settlement was announced Thursday night by the WTC Captive Insurance Company. Ninety five percent of the more than 10,000 firefighters, police officers and construction workers must opt into the deal in order for it to be approved.

Glen Klein, a 9/11 first responder who lost half of his left foot while working in the Pit, says this settlement is inadequate.

"With the short time I've had to think about it, I definitely don't think it's going to be enough," Klein says.

Christina LaSala, president of the WTC Captive insurance, insists that the settlement is fair and it "enables workers and volunteers claiming injury to obtain compensation."

Most of the money of the settlement would come out of a $1 billion grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If the deal is approved, the first responders will have 90 days to either opt into or opt out of the deal without even knowing how much money they stand to receive.

Associated Press reports contributed to this article.

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