BY TIM GRENDA, J.D.

About 10,000 New York City rescue and clean up workers from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks stand to get more money than they were going to get under an earlier damages arrangement.

Lawyers for the city and the injured workers hammered out a new settlement deal, which will pay the plaintiffs a total of $712.5 million. Under the earlier agreement, the workers were going to get somewhere between $575 million and $712.5 million, according to a report in the New York Times.

United States District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, the Manhattan jurist who has been presiding over 9-11 personal injury cases since 2003, rejected the old damages agreement in early 2010, saying it did not offer enough financial compensation to the plaintiffs.

The new settlement follows nearly three months of renegotiations between the injured workers and the city’s insurer, WTC Captive Insurance Company. The company agreed to increase the amount it would pay and the plaintiff’s lawyers also reduced their legal fees in order to give the injured workers more money for their injuries, lost income, and other damages.

“This settlement ensures guaranteed, immediate and just compensation to the heroic men and women who performed their duties without consideration of the health implications,” Marc J. Bern, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, told The Times. “Our commitment to our clients has never wavered in the seven years since we took on this litigation and we have done everything within our power, including reducing the fees we agreed to with each of our clients, to achieve the best possible outcome.”

Thousands of police, fire, and other emergency personnel who worked at the former World Trade Center site on and after 9-11 were exposed to hazardous fumes, asbestos, and other toxic materials. Clean-up workers who later helped remove debris from the site or worked at the New Jersey landfill where rubble from the towers was taken also suffered respiratory damage and other injuries.

Some of the injured workers sued the city and others, claiming they were injured and entitled to financial compensation because they were not given proper protective equipment or supervision while working.

Did you know? You can read more articles, frequently asked questions, and other content related to work injures in LawInfo’s Workers’ Compensation Legal Resource Center.

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