Plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed some two dozen lawsuits following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo tower last month, seeking payouts for the 98 deaths and destruction of 136 apartments it caused. The lawyers say it would take $1 billion to compensate everyone fairly.

But the pool of money currently available for the Miami-area disaster is far smaller—some $50 million from insurance policies in place for the condo association, according to attorneys and court filings. The shortfall is so significant that the potential settlement might not even be enough to cover some residents for the value of their lost units, said Brad Sohn, one of the plaintiffs attorneys appointed by the court to lead the litigation.

Already, the limited pool of funds is pitting Champlain Tower residents who suffered only property damage against those who lost loved ones or suffered injuries that could have long-term consequences.

The insurance “will obviously be inadequate to compensate everyone fully to the extent of their horror,” Judge Michael Hanzman of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida said at an early hearing. “There’s going to be a very serious allocation issue between those people who tragically lost loved ones and were lucky enough to only lose property.”

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com

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