Updated 01/02/2012 07:48 PM
Victims Sickened By 9/11 Choose Whether To Pursue Or Drop Lawsuits
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More than 1,600 people had to decide Monday whether to pursue lawsuits seeking damages for dust-related illnesses from the September 11th terror attacks or drop their suits and take a payout from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
The federal government reopened the fund this year, setting aside more than $2.5 billion for health claims.
Anyone with a lawsuit still pending on Tuesday is barred from the program for life.
Gregory Cannata, an attorney representing about 900 plaintiffs, said most of his clients are sticking with their suits.
Cannata told NY1 last week that while a lawsuit carries a higher burden of proof, payments from the fund may take a while to arrive.
"The bulk of the money won't be paid until six years later, so if you have somebody who's very ill or who's elderly now, they may not be alive in six years to see that money," he said.
Cannata said the lawsuits will probably wrap up within two years, as the federal judge in the case said he wants to expedite the process.