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
- 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
- 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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