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Boston Marathon Victims Compensation Fund

On Patriot’s Day, we watched in horror as this iconic Boston event was shattered by terrorism. In just one week, the One Fund Boston raised over $20 million for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. More than 50,000 individuals and businesses contributed, nearly $5 million of which was contributed online.

Kenneth Feinberg, no relation, is the administrator of the One Fund Boston. Previously, he was the administrator of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Aurora Colorado and Virginia Tech shootings funds, the Penn State sex abuse compensation fund and the initial overseer of the BP Oil Spill Fund.

Although original casualty estimates hovered around 170, 282 people have been treated in Boston-area hospitals for shrapnel wounds, burns and hearing loss. On-going medical costs beyond initial care can be considerable and include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Prosthetic limbs
  • Counseling
  • Home modifications to entrances, doorways, bathrooms and staircases

At least 13 victims lost limbs in the bombing. As of April 22, 50 still remained in area hospitals. The job that Ken Feinberg has been handed is figuring out how to divide up the One Fund so that current and future expenses are adequately covered for the victims and their survivors. With Massachusetts mandatory health care insurance, most resident victims have access to their own medical coverage as a base. However, on-going expenses might not be covered.

Feinberg’s job is to allocate the funds according to a formula that fits the profile of the victims of this tragedy. Because there were so many deaths and few long-term injuries after 9/11, survivor benefits were paid out according to projected lifetime earnings. However, the Aurora and Virginia Tech shootings treated death and brain injuries similarly.

The scenario is helpful where there are no obvious defendants. Surely, the alleged perpetrators have no funds. Thus, charity eligibility steps in under these unfortunate circumstances.

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