The survivors and family members of victims who perished in the Surfside condo collapse in June will receive at least $150,000,000 in compensation, a judge ruled Wednesday, a month after dozens of residents perished in the middle of the night.
According to The Associated Press, the $150,000,000 will serve as an initial compensation package shared among former residents and their families. The money will come from the sale of the land, where the Surfside Condo building once stood, and from a $50,000,000 insurance claim. The lot may yield even more than $100,000,000 when it’s finally sold.
Ninety-five people have been confirmed as dead from the building collapse. The whereabouts of three other people remain unknown, which means that the death toll may reach 98 if authorities determine they were in the building at the time it collapsed.
The cause of the building’s collapse has not been determined.
Despite an arduous search and rescue effort, officials did not recover anyone from the rubble alive once the first hours after the accident had passed. On July 8, nearly two weeks after the collapse, authorities officially transitioned to a recovery operation — having determined there were no viable ways anyone could still be alive in the rubble.
“At this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search and rescue mission,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said after concluding the effort’s rescue portion. “So today is about beginning the transition to recovery so that we can help to bring closure to the families who have been suffering and waiting for news.”
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who issued the Wednesday ruling, has previously said, “This is obviously a case where there’s no amount of money that could possibly be available to compensate these families from their suffering and loss.”
“While there’s no money in the world that can do that, the law places value on claims, and these claims are going to have to be valued. The court has no doubt the aggregate value of the claims that the law will place on them is going to far exceed all amounts available for recovery, both by way of insurance proceeds, assets and third-party claims,” said Hanzman.
Hanzman, who will also oversee civil lawsuits connected to the condo building, has also rejected calls for the site of the former Condo building to be turned into a memorial if doing so would require victims and their families to donate any land, according to CNN.
“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,” said Hanzman.
“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,” he said.
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