9/11 recovery workers engaged in long hours of heavy lifting as they removed rubble, cleared debris, and moved large pieces of equipment. Unfortunately, carrying out these tasks caused many 9/11 responders to endure lifelong musculoskeletal disorders and debilitating pain. If you were a 9/11 recovery worker who suffers from a musculoskeletal injury or condition in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Types of 9/11 Musculoskeletal Disorders
A WTC-related musculoskeletal disorder is defined as a “chronic or recurrent disorder of the musculoskeletal system caused by heavy lifting or repetitive strain on the joints or musculoskeletal system occurring during rescue or recovery efforts in the New York City disaster area in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.” The two most common types of musculoskeletal disorders in 9/11 recovery workers include carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can arise as a result of repetitive hand use. When certain tasks are performed for a prolonged period of time, pressure can be placed on the median nerve in the wrist, causing swelling and nerve damage. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms typically include:
- Tingling or burning in the thumb and fingers
- Numbness and pain
- Radiating sensation
- Arm pain
- Weakness in the hand
Often, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated without surgery. In some cases, a splint or brace can be used to prevent pressure on the nerve. Anti-inflammatory injections or over-the-counter medication can also be used to help alleviate the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Physical therapy is also sometimes recommended by doctors to treat the condition.
Similarly, lower back pain in 9/11 recovery workers can be treated in a variety of ways. Doctors may recommend hot and cold packs, steroid injections, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or surgery — depending on the severity of the case.
VCF Compensation for 9/11 Musculoskeletal Conditions
A 9/11 musculoskeletal condition can have a significant impact on your life and livelihood. If you are a 9/11 recovery worker who suffers from a musculoskeletal disorder as a result of the work you performed in the NYC Exposure Zone in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, you may be entitled to receive an award from the VCF. The VCF provides compensation for the economic losses you incurred due to your musculoskeletal condition, including lost earnings, loss of benefits, and out-of-pocket expenses in connection with medical treatment for your 9/11-related health condition.
The VCF will also issue compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your 9/11 musculoskeletal disorder. The lowest non-economic loss award the VCF will issue for a musculoskeletal condition is $10,000. While the Special Master has identified musculoskeletal disorders as presumptively less severe than other conditions — warranting a lower award amount — the award for a 9/11-related non-cancer condition can increase up to $90,000 based on the severity.
Importantly, in order to recover any compensation for a 9/11-related musculoskeletal disorder, or any other 9/11-related illness, the condition must first be certified by the WTC Health Program.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
A 9/11 musculoskeletal disorder can significantly affect your life — and you may be eligible to obtain compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, the process of registering and filing a claim can often be confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating. It’s best to have the guidance of a knowledgeable 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney who can help ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
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 more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.