(New York City, NY) – Although it may be surprising to some, the President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Mary E. Alexander, is asking the families of the September 11th tragedy to consider applying to the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund rather than suing. In an op-ed column printed in today’s New York Daily News, Alexander, a leading consumer advocacy attorney, says that “not only the families, but the entire country will benefit from such an approach.” Alexander adds that under the federal plan, “Compensation is certain, whereas those who have considered lawsuits may never receive any compensation, given the extraordinary circumstances of this unprecedented attack against America.”
Alexander’s statement today follows:
"Although it may be surprising to some, the organization that represents the nation's trial lawyers is asking the families of 9/11 victims to consider applying to the September 11th Victim Compensation Plan rather than suing. Not only the families, but the entire country will benefit from such an approach.
"The fastest, surest thing the families can do to begin rebuilding their lives and ease their financial burdens is to take advantage of the federal compensation fund. The principal reason we urged the creation of the fund and now are working to encourage its use is that it will provide prompt and certain economic assistance to the families. A decision will be made within 120 days of the filing of a claim and payment no more than 20 days after the decision.
"Litigation would provide neither speed nor certainty. The fund is a way to bring about some justice and economic compensation for the families, help them
achieve some sense of closure and allow the healing to begin.
"That’s why my organization has created Trial Lawyers Care, the largest free legal assistance project in history, to assist the victims’ families. More than 2,000
volunteer lawyers are helping more than 1,400 of the victims’ families already, with additional requests for assistance coming in every day.
"Under the terms of the fund, each family’s case is evaluated individually -- this is not a one-size-fits-all plan. Anyone who suffered physical injury or lost a family member in the attack is eligible. Each eligible claimant is assured $250,000 for non-financial losses (such as loss of companionship) and an additional $100,000 for each spouse or child, as well as compensation based on expected lifetime earnings -- all tax-free.
"The most important reason for victims’ families to consider the September
11th Victim Compensation Fund, and for the nation to support their doing so, is that compensation is certain, with no necessity for proving liability or negligence.
Those who have considered lawsuits must keep in mind the reality that even after many long, painful years in court, they may never receive any compensation, given the extraordinary circumstances of this unprecedented attack against America."
For more information on the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund and how victims’ families can obtain a free lawyer to represent them, contact Trial Lawyers Care toll-free at 888-780-8637 or www.911LawHelp.org.