See how $600 million will be distributed to Flint water crisis victims
The amount available for each victim will not be known until the claims process concludes months from now
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Several factors will determine how much money Flint water crisis victims will receive from the $600 million settlement announced Thursday.
Documents from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel say the amount of each individual award will depend on how many claims are received and how many are paid out. The final amounts will not be known for months, when the claims process is completed.
In addition, the settlement fund may grow beyond $600 million if defendants outside the state government decide to join the agreement and contribute funds. They include engineering consultants Veolia North America and Lockwood, Newnam & Andrews, who Nessel is suing for their roles in the water crisis.
The preliminary agreement specifies that about 80% of the net settlement fund will be spent on claims of children who were minors when first exposed to the Flint River water, with a large majority of that amount to be paid for claims of children age 6 and younger, and earmarking 2% for special education services in Genesee County.
Another 18% of the net settlement funds are to be spent on claims of adults and for property damage. Approximately 1% will go toward claims for business losses.
The parties to the lawsuit will establish a process for Flint residents to file claims to receive a share of the $600 million settlement. People must meet at least one of four requirements to receive settlement money:
- Owned or lived in a house that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant from April 25, 2014, until the settlement is signed.
- Owned or operated a business that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant from April 25, 2014, until the settlement is signed.
- Ingested water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant on 21 out of any 30-day stretch from April 25, 2014, until the settlement is signed.
- Were exposed to water from the Flint Water Treatment Plan from April 25, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2016, and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.
Children will not have to provide any proof of injuries or illnesses caused by the Flint water crisis, but will adults will be required to show proof before they can receive any of the settlement.
Attorneys Ted Leopold and Michael Pitt, who represented plaintiffs in the class action litigation against the state, said everyone affected by the water crisis will have a chance to apply for a cut of the proposed settlement even if they aren’t involved in the case now.
They say everyone will receive an equal share of the money as other people with similar effects regardless of whether they have an attorney representing them. A court-appointed special master will oversee the claims process and distribution of funds.
“While we can never undo the damage that occurred to the citizens and community of Flint, we are pleased that today we were able to secure a measure of justice for the proposed class and the Flint community, and will continue to seek justice against the remaining defendants,” Leopold said.
All owners and renters who lived in Flint from April 25, 2014, to July 31, 2016, will be eligible for a share of the settlement to reimburse property losses caused by the water crisis.
The settlement also will provide additional funds to the Genesee Intermediate School District and local schools within its jurisdiction for special education services required by students who were affected by the Flint water crisis.
Attorney Teresa Bingman, who also represented plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, said the proposed settlement is historic in the way it holds government officials accountable for their actions that led to the Flint water crisis.
This is also a historic win for a city that’s rich in its history of Black, Brown and Immigrant working people whose trust, patience and resilience remained visible in the pursuit of justice and accountability,” she said.
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