It’s been about a month since the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida. So far, the deaths of 97 residents have been confirmed, with several of the bodies requiring DNA testing in order to be properly identified. For those who survived the incident, homes lost and possessions destroyed, the question of compensation has arisen.
On Wednesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ruled that survivors of the collapse, as well as family members of those who were killed, will be eligible for at least $150 million in compensation. $50 million of this sum will be paid out from insurance on the condominium, while the other $100 million will come from the sale of Surfside property. The Judge also clarified that this sum does not include any potential damages awarded in pending lawsuits.
“The court’s concern has always been the victims here,” the Judge said. “Their rights will be protected.”
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Local organizations have been considering turning the site of the collapse into a memorial space for the victims. Doing this, however, would require the survivors to donate their real estate, which Judge Hanzman ruled wouldn’t be fair to them.
“These victims who have lost their homes, their personal belongings, and in many cases their lives are not going to be sacrificing the value of their real estate for the public good,” he said.
“Regardless of the views of some people who are not victims, this court’s task and your task is to compensate the victims of this tragedy, period,” Hanzman told attorneys at the hearing.
The search and rescue operations have not yet been officially ended, though the rubble has already been completely cleared from the collapse site. This rubble has been transferred to a separate investigation site, where it will be searched for any additional identifying remains.