The Washington Post

Boston Marathon bombing victims will split $61 million

The charity fund established after the Boston Marathon bombings awarded $60.9 million Friday to victims of the attacks, including maximum payments of nearly $2.2 million each to two double amputees and the families of the four people slain.

Fourteen other people who lost single limbs will receive nearly $1.2 million each. In all, 232 victims will receive payments, said Camille Biros, deputy administrator of the One Fund Boston, which has been collecting public donations for the victims.

The statistics that accompany the payments provide the best accounting to date of the human impact of the April 15 attack, though some injured people might not have applied for compensation. Authorities have said that more than 260 people were hurt in the blasts.

Sixty-nine people who were hospitalized for at least one night will receive six-figure payouts that range from $125,000 for the 18 people who spent one or two nights in a medical facility to $948,000 for the 10 victims who spent 32 nights or more. Some members of that group are still in rehab hospitals.

An additional 143 people who were treated at hospitals but did not require admission will receive $8,000 each, Biros said.

The size of the awards was determined by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who has decided compensation after other disasters, including the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In this case, the lump-sum, tax-free payments were awarded regardless of individual income or medical costs, and recipients did not have to relinquish their right to sue. The fund is intended to help victims, some of whom face a lifetime of medical costs, with their immediate needs.

“It was always our intention to get them a million dollars,” Biros said of the double amputees, the three people killed in the attack and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer killed during the manhunt for two suspects. “And as the funds kept coming in, we were able to push that up.”

The $2.195 million maximum awards are similar to the $2.082 million average award given to the families of each person killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, she said.

James Costello of Malden, Mass., who said he spent 27 nights in two hospitals, would receive $735,000 under the formula outlined by Biros. He said he was grateful for the donations.

“That’s amazing,” he said. “When I got blown up, who’d have thought we’d get anything?”

Costello, a clerical worker at Harvard University whose legs were severely burned and wounded by shrapnel from the bomb, said he has good health insurance and would use the money mostly for other needs. But he has not been able to return to work.

Costello said he might try to pay off his house and would buy a new SUV for his friend Paul Norden, who lost his right leg in the attack. Norden’s brother, J.P., also lost a leg, and their wheelchairs do not fit in the brothers’ current vehicle, Costello said.

The two bombs that went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Medford, Mass.; 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester, Mass.; and Lingzi Lu, 23, a Chinese citizen and graduate student at Boston University. The MIT police officer, Sean Collier, was shot and killed when the two suspects in the bombing, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, allegedly tried to rob him of his weapon later that week.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed during a subsequent shootout with police. His 19-year-old brother is in custody and was indicted Thursday on 30 counts connected to the violence, including the four deaths.

Biros said that 26 people were denied compensation for a variety of reasons, mostly because they claimed psychological trauma, which the fund does not cover. One victim’s file contains insufficient information, but that person may later qualify for an award, Biros said.

About a dozen people took up Feinberg’s offer to meet before the awards were determined, Biros said. “They wanted to explain the horror of the day, and what happened to them and the ramifications of their injuries,” she said.

The decision to give everyone who did not require hospitalization the same award was made in the interest of distributing the money quickly, Biros said. The severity of their injuries “was not something we considered,” she said. “ . . . It would have been an entirely different protocol” that could have taken six months to decide.

Disbursement of any additional money that comes into the One Fund after Friday will be determined by the charity’s directors. Victims also are eligible to receive money from funds established for individuals or small groups.

Lenny Bernstein covers health and medicine. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.



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