How much for the death of a spouse? How much for curtailed mobility? How much for emotional trauma? That raw calculus is scheduled to begin next month and the money is expected to be dispensed by late 2020.
One veteran of mass tort cases — defined as involving loss or harm — offers a sober warning about the upcoming fiscal drama:Few will be happy.
“In my experience, justice, fairness, satisfaction, happiness, none of it enters into this equation,” says Kenneth Feinberg, whose Washington, D.C., law firm has administered some of the biggest victim compensation funds in recent memory, including $7.1 billion awarded to victims of the 9/11 attacks and $6.5 billion following the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The idea that money is an adequate substitute for loss or horrible injury is a fallacy,” says Feinberg. “This is mercy, not justice. You do the best you can. And whoever’s handling this should brace themselves for a lot of emotion and anger.”