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Settlement Announced for Ailing 9/11 Ground Zero Workers

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New York, NYA settlement that was announced last night, if approved, may award between several thousand and $2 million to rescue workers and others whose health suffered from the effects of working in close proximity to Ground Zero after the twin towers collapsed on September 11, 2001.

After some six years of legal wrangling, a $657 million settlement fund for some 10,000 claimants could be approved by a New York judge as early as today.

When the City of New York was unable to secure adequate amounts of liability insurance in the aftermath of the 9/11 crisis, FEMA awarded a $1 billion grant to establish WTC Captive Insurance Company. The insurance provider announced the multi-million dollar settlement late on March 11, according to a report from CNN.

Various workers who toiled in the immediate and subsequent aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have experienced health issues as a result of exposure to various toxins, chemicals, dust, fibers and debris at the site—not to mention the emotional trauma. Construction workers, firefighters, police officers and various other workers and volunteers will all be in line for compensation from the settlement, now and potentially into the future.

The settlement amount may fund a special insurance policy that would provide additional compensation to plaintiffs contracting certain types of cancer in future years.

Former New York firefighter Kenny Sprecht worked at Ground Zero and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008. He told CNN's Campbell Brown, "You really can't put a price on your health, so I hope that this settlement was done the right way and I hope that it was done with people's health and safety and future in mind."

According to the CNN report, many who worked to rescue survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers, or were involved in the removal of debris after the two buildings collapsed, now suffer from asthma, various other respiratory issues and blood cancer.

Plaintiffs who feel they qualify for compensation from the settlement will have to submit proof they were present and participated in the post-9/11 efforts. They will also have to provide specific medical information and a diagnosis confirming their illness or injury.

"This agreement enables workers and volunteers claiming injury from the WTC site operations to obtain compensation commensurate with the nature of their injuries and the strength of their claims, while offering added protection against possible future illness," said WTC Captive in a statement.

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