9/11 families urged to seek funds
NEW YORK - The president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America encouraged families of victims in the Sept. 11 attacks to apply for compensation from the federal Victims Compensation Fund rather than sue.
"Compensation is certain, whereas those who have considered lawsuits may never receive any compensation, given the extraordinary circumstances of this unprecedented attack against America," Mary E. Alexander said in a statement.
Congress established the fund as an alternative to the courts. To receive compensation from the fund, families must waive their right to sue airlines and other entities.
As of Aug. 22, only 662 people had applied for compensation
from the victims fund, according to the Justice Department. More than 3,000
were killed or injured in the attacks.
The fund's special master, Kenneth Feinberg, said that the average payment to victims' families would be about $1.85 million before deductions for outside income sources. Some victims' families have indicated that they intend to seek larger rewards through the courts.
The deadline to apply is Dec. 21, 2003.