WASHINGTON (AP) - A last-minute surge of more than 3,700 people could seek death or injury benefits before a December deadline for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Justice Department auditors say.
Even with the new, larger estimate, the $5.1 billion Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund appears on track to have a $27 million surplus after paying all the anticipated claims, according to an audit released Tuesday by the Justice Department's inspector general.
Average final awards for personal injury are $159,000, with the average death claim about $1.3 million.
The fund was created by Congress to protect airlines and other entities from being hit with huge lawsuits in the wake of the attacks that killed about 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. People who accept awards give up their right to sue.