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VCF Compensation for Families of Deceased Victims: What You Need to Know


Losing a loved one to a 9/11-related illness is emotionally devastating. Tragically, many 9/11 responders and survivors continue to develop cancers and other fatal diseases to this day as a result of inhaling the toxins in the dust cloud after the attack. If your family member passed away due to a 9/11 health condition, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for the economic and non-economic losses you incurred because of their wrongful death.           

Here’s what family members of deceased victims need to know about filing a VCF claim for compensation: 

You May Be Entitled to Recover Compensation If Your Loved One Was a Responder or Survivor

It’s important to understand that the VCF isn’t limited to those who were first responders. Families of responders who arrived in the NYC Exposure Zone to assist with the recovery efforts and debris cleanup at any time in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks may be able to file a VCF claim for wrongful death. In addition, families of survivors who lived, worked, or went to school in the area may be entitled to monetary recovery by filing a claim.        

You May Be Eligible for an Economic Loss and a Non-Economic Loss Award  

A VCF wrongful death award comprises two parts: the personal injury award and the wrongful death award. By filing a wrongful death claim, a victim’s family may be entitled to recover the monetary losses suffered in connection with the loss of their loved one. In addition to considering the economic losses, such as lost wages and pension benefits, the VCF will evaluate the non-economic losses suffered by the victim. Significantly, the VCF may also award a victim’s spouse and their dependents an additional $250,000 and $100,000 each under the Zadroga Act if their 9/11-related illness caused their death.    

You Might Be Entitled to VCF Compensation if an Award Was Already Issued to the Victim

In the event a victim received a monetary award before they passed away, the VCF will consider whether their family should receive additional compensation in a deceased claim. In doing so, the VCF will recalculate the components of their personal injury claim and review any amendments that still need to be decided. If the VCF already compensated lost earnings, they would be recalculated in the deceased claim to consider the following criteria:

  • A consumption factor reflecting the victim’s share of household expenditures
  • Replacement services loss
  • Out-of-pocket burial expenses

Lost earnings are not typically awarded in cases where only a short amount of time has passed between the victim’s disability determination and their passing due to a 9/11-related health condition. Additionally, if the VCF issued compensation to the victim during their lifetime, the personal injury award would not be reduced if the deceased claim resulted in a lower amount.                           

You May Be Able to Recover Compensation for Death Unrelated to a 9/11 Health Condition

If the direct cause of a victim’s death was unrelated to their 9/11 health condition, their family might still be entitled to receive an award from the VCF. In such cases, the VCF may issue an award for non-economic loss, which is intended to compensate the victim for the pain and suffering they experienced before their passing. However, the victim’s family would not be eligible to receive the additional compensation provided for under the Zadroga Act if the cause of death was not directly linked to the 9/11-related illness.   

Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Attorney 

If your loved one passed away due to a 9/11-related health condition, you may be eligible to obtain an award from the VCF. However, the VCF’s registration and claim filing procedures can be confusing to navigate, so it’s critical to have a skillful 9/11 VCF attorney on your side to ensure you obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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