Were you in the NYC Exposure Zone in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks? If you developed an illness linked to the toxic dust, you may be eligible for compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Significantly, a VCF award comes in two parts that are each calculated separately. An eligible responder or survivor can make a claim for both the economic losses and their non-economic losses they suffered due to their 9/11 health condition.
What Does a VCF Economic Loss Award Cover?
For countless responders and survivors, their 9/11-related illnesses had not only an impact on their health but also their financial circumstances. Many 9/11 health conditions, cancers, and diseases can affect a responder or survivor’s ability to work, resulting in loss of wages and employment benefits. The VCF recognizes these economic losses and considers them when granting an award.
A VCF economic loss award can include compensation for the following:
- Past lost wages
- Future lost earnings
- Loss of employment benefits
- Loss of pension or retirement contribution program
- Loss of health benefits
Responders or survivors may also be entitled to an award for out-of-pocket costs connected with their 9/11-related medical treatment. However, claims for these expenses can only be made after the VCF award has been issued — they cannot be included in the initial claim submission.
What Is Included in a VCF Non-Economic Loss Award?
In addition to an economic loss award, responders or survivors with an eligible 9/11-related illness may also be entitled to compensation for the non-economic loss they suffered. Also referred to as a “pain and suffering” award, a non-economic loss award is separate from economic loss. It is meant to compensate for the physical pain and emotional pain and suffering in connection with a 9/11-related illness. It also considers the physical impairment, mental anguish, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life suffered by a responder or survivor.
Under the Zadroga Act, a non-economic loss award can range from $10,000 to $90,000 for a non-cancer condition and between $90,000 and $250,000 for a cancer condition. Although the maximum amount that can be awarded for a single cancer condition is $250,000, the Special Master is permitted to exceed the statutory cap in the event the claimant has more than one 9/11-related cancer. The statutory cap can also be exceeded if a responder or survivor was diagnosed with a severe non-cancer condition in addition to a cancer. Additionally, some non-cancers are considered “presumptively severe and debilitating,” warranting a higher award amount. For instance, emphysema, interstitial lung disease, asbestosis, and sarcoidosis can be compensated at the highest amount permissible under the statute for non-economic loss.
In cases involving a non-economic loss award in a deceased claim, the spouse and dependents of a 9/11 responder or survivor who passed away due to their 9/11-related health condition may be entitled to recover under the Zadroga Act for their loss. The statute allows a non-economic loss award of $250,000 to be issued for an eligible victim and an additional $100,000 to the victim’s spouse and dependents.
Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who was diagnosed with cancer or another health condition as a result of exposure to the toxic dust cloud — or if lost a loved one as a result of a 9/11-related illness — you may be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic losses from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have successfully represented thousands of responders, survivors, and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for more than a decade. For a free consultation, call 1-800-2-DEARIE.