The New York Times reported that survivors and families of the victims of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida last year have reached a settlement amounting to 997 million dollars as compensation for their losses of life and property in the disaster that killed 98 people.
At a court hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that the settlement, still pending final approval, includes insurance companies, developers of an adjacent building and other defendants in the civil case. Judge Michael A. Hanzman of the Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County declared himself to be extremely surprised at the amount of the settlement. “This is a recovery that is far in excess of what I had anticipated,” he said.
Although a previous settlement of 83 million dollars had previously been approved to compensate the condo owners for property losses, no provision had been made to compensate the families of the victims. And while the settlement represents a kind of justice, it cannot bring back those loved ones who lost their lives.
The funds for the $83 million for the unit owners will come from Champlain Towers South’s insurers and the sale of the land where the building stood at 8777 Collins Ave. The nearly two acres of beachfront property are expected to bring in at least 120 million dollars.
Lawyers said the settlement for the victims’ families could reach 1 billion dollars if they reach an agreement with a remaining company. Among the companies that agreed to settle are the engineers who had inspected and begun to conduct work to address serious structural flaws in Champlain Towers South before the collapse.