Zadroga Act Claims Lawyers

Edward Marcowitz has virtually unparalleled experience with the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). He’s proud and honored to serve as the personal attorney for the family of the late NYPD detective for whom the Zadroga Act is named.

In addition, Marcowitz spearheaded one of the largest pro bono efforts on behalf of New York City firefighters injured by toxic exposures in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their families. He worked closely with the Special Master of the VCF in its original form, helping to recover just under $300 million.

But that’s not all. As part of his dedication, he’s also served as an expert witness on behalf of a family seeking compensation from the VCF and also donated his entire $10,000 expert fee between the Uniformed Firefighter Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association of Greater New York.

If you have questions about filing a Zadroga Act compensation claim, please call us now or contact us through our online contact form.

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What Are the Requirements to Qualify for Benefits?

The Zadroga Act established the VCF, which provides for compensation for lost past and future wages for anyone who suffered a physical injury or was killed as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It also provides compensation for anyone injured or killed during the resulting cleanup.

To qualify for benefits, you or your loved one must meet these requirements:

  • The victim must have been present at a 9/11-related location (the World Trade Center and parts of lower Manhattan; the Pentagon; or the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.) at any time from September 11, 2001, to May 30, 2002.
  • The victim must have a physical condition or injury (or symptoms of a physical condition or injury) that the World Trade Center Health Program recognizes as related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These include acute traumatic injuries such as head trauma or burns, aerodigestive disorders such as asthma or GERD, mesothelioma, or cancer.
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The Zadroga family has chosen ED Marcowitz as our family lawyer. The reason is that he is one of the most knowledgeable lawyers I've dealt with over the years as it pertains to the "James Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Act". He has also demonstrated that he truly cares for 9/11 responders and... — Joseph Zadroga

How to File a Zadroga Act Claim

You can file a compensation claim on behalf of yourself, as a representative of someone who is deceased, as the parent or guardian of a minor child, or as the guardian of a non-minor. People qualify to file as Responders if they assisted with the rescue, recovery, demolition or cleanup at any of the three 9/11 crash sites. This category includes:

  • Firefighters and police officers
  • City, state and federal employees
  • Volunteers, whether affiliated with a charity or not
  • Utility workers
  • Transportation workers
  • Temporary employees
  • Demolition and sanitation workers

What’s more, if you lived, worked, attended school, or otherwise happened to be in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and the ensuing months, you or a loved one also can file a claim as an NYC Survivor. This category includes:

  • Residents south of Canal Street
  • Visitors in that area when the attack occurred
  • People employed in that area who do not qualify as responders
  • Children who attended school or a day-care facility there
  • Adults in a day-care facility in the area
  • People caught up in the dust cloud after the Twin Towers collapsed

In addition to medical records verifying the victim’s 9/11-related injury or physical condition, the claim must include written proof of the victim’s presence as a Responder or Survivor through documents such as:

  • Pay stubs, work orders, site credentials, or other employment records
  • A lease, utility bills, rent or mortgage receipts, or other residency records
  • School or day-care enrollment papers (if applicable)
  • Medical records within this time frame
  • Statements from people who can verify the victim’s presence in the area

Why Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Claim?

Although you are not required to have a lawyer to file a claim with the Zadroga September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, many claimants find it very helpful to be represented by an attorney. Some have never filed a compensation claim and find the process daunting. Others have pressing health concerns.

An attorney can concentrate on all the details for you, so you can focus on your health and your family. We can:

  • Gather the relevant paperwork needed to file with your claim
  • Take sworn statements from people to verify your presence or your loved one’s presence at a relevant site, if paperwork is unavailable
  • Check your claim for accuracy
  • File an appeal if necessary

Injuries and Illnesses Covered by the Zadroga Act

The Zadroga Act also created the World Trade Center Health Program, which monitors and treats people who were exposed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks for a variety of conditions at no cost. Although the VCF is not a health-care program, it relies on the World Trade Center Health Program to determine the conditions for which someone can seek compensation.

These include acute traumatic injuries (burns, complex sprains, head trauma), aerodigestive disorders (including gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD), cancers affecting people under 20 years of age, and more.

  • Cancer: A heartbreaking legacy of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is the number of people who have developed cancer over the years because of toxic substances in the debris, many from pulverized building materials such as fiberglass, cement, and steel. These cancers affect not only the respiratory system but the skin, eyes, soft bodily tissues, and even reproductive organs. These cancers also can affect people under 20 years of age.
  • Respiratory Illnesses: Asthma, chronic cough syndrome, chronic laryngitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are among the respiratory illnesses affecting responders and lower Manhattan survivors of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks alike.
  • Back Injuries: Ten million tons of building materials collapsed with the World Trade Center during 9/11, making the wreckage itself a hazard for firefighters, police officers, and others lifting and moving debris. Transportation workers, sanitation workers, National Guard personnel, and volunteers are among other responders who years later feel the pain of their efforts through musculoskeletal disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, and low back pain.

NYC Exposure Zone Map

For responders of any agency or organization, as well as residents and visitors to lower Manhattan, the Zadroga VCF provides compensation for anyone who is ill or injured and can prove his or her presence within an area known as the NYC Exposure Zone. This zone encompasses lower Manhattan south of Canal Street and southwest of East Broadway and Clinton Street. It also includes routes for trash or debris removal, such as barges and the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

Affected areas include:

  • Battery Park City
  • Greenwich Village
  • Lower East Side
  • Chinatown
  • SoHo
  • Bowling Green
  • City Hall
  • Chatham Square

Chemicals in WTC Dust

Scientists may never know precisely what was in the gas cloud of burning jet fuel and building materials at Ground Zero on 9/11, but they’ve since identified the chemicals in the WTC dust — the toxic cloud created when the Twin Towers collapsed. This dust cloud included pulverized building materials, such as glass, fiberglass, and concrete, creating myriad respiratory issues and other health problems. Other chemicals and substances in the cloud include known carcinogens, such as asbestos fibers, benzene, beryllium, chlorine, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Zadroga Act Claims?

Even though the 9/11 terrorist attacks were more than 16 years ago, many people are surprised to learn that they or their loved ones still can seek compensation for lost and future wages for a related illness or injury. The current deadline is December 18, 2020.

WTC Health Program

The World Trade Center Health Program provides free treatment and monitoring of any illness, injury, or condition related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. People who qualify as Responders or NYC Survivors can apply for this program. In addition to physical injuries and conditions, the program treats and monitors mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse

Zadroga September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

The fund created to serve those injured or killed during this watershed time in our nation’s history first operated from 2001 to 2003. President Barack Obama reactivated and expanded the fund by signing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which also established the World Trade Center Health Program. President Obama reauthorized the Zadroga Act in 2015, extending the deadline for VCF claims to 2020.

For more than a decade, Edward Marcowitz has appreciated the many nuances of these claims and worked to serve claimants with compassion. Today, the Marcowitz Law Firm is committed to representing people and families whose loved ones were injured by toxic exposures during these attacks and their aftermath.

If you have additional questions about filing a compensation claim or wonder how the Marcowitz Law Firm can help you, please call us or contact us online now. We’re glad to speak with you.

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Results Matter.


$1.9 million

9/11 Fatal Illness

For the widow and family of a New York City sanitation worker who passed away


$280 million

Pro Bono Effort

Ed spearheaded a campaign on behalf of 63 widows nd hundreds of firefighters as part of the Trial Lawyers Care program.

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