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What Happens if a VCF Claimant Passes Away After Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

What Happens if a VCF Claimant Passes Away After Filing a Personal Injury Claim? cover

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was founded under the Zadroga Act to ensure that all 9/11 responders and survivors receive the compensation they deserve for the illnesses they developed because of the attack’s resulting toxic dust cloud. Tragically, some victims pass away from their 9/11-related illnesses after filing a VCF claim — and before they’ve received the compensation to which they are entitled. If your loved one died as a result of their 9/11 cancer, disease, or health condition and a VCF claim was pending, it’s vital to understand how to proceed.

The VCF Will Place the Claim on Hold When a Claimant Passes Away

When a claimant who has filed a personal injury claim with the VCF passes away, the claim will be placed on hold until a personal representative is appointed. This is meant to protect the deceased individual’s personal information and ensure the details of the claim are only shared with parties authorized to access the information. The personal representative is the only person permitted to submit a claim or receive payment from the VCF on behalf of the victim.

Upon learning that a claimant has passed away, the VCF will send a letter to the decedent’s last known address. This correspondence will explain the status of the personal injury claim and the steps that must be taken in order for the VCF to continue processing the claim. Since every claim is unique, each letter is different, and it’s important to review the correspondence carefully.

The Next Steps Depend Upon the Circumstances of the Victim’s Passing

If the victim passes away due to their 9/11-related health condition, the personal representative will need to register a new deceased claim. There is a different procedure that must be followed if the death was not related to the 9/11 illness. In cases involving deaths unrelated to an eligible 9/11-related health condition, the original claim must be amended to add information about the personal representative and submit the required documents. A new claim form signature page will also need to be provided.

In the event that a victim passes away because of their certified 9/11-related condition after they have already received payment on their claim, the VCF will consider whether additional compensation should be awarded by calculating the loss for the deceased claim and deducting the award amount that was already paid. In calculating the loss in the deceased claim, the VCF will:

  • Recalculate all components of loss compensated in a personal injury claim
  • Review any amendments that were filed on the personal injury claim prior to the decedent’s death that were not yet decided
  • Recalculate any lost earnings that were compensated in the personal injury claim by applying a consumption factor in calculating future lost earnings

If a victim’s passing was caused by their eligible 9/11-related health condition, not only can their losses in connection with their personal injury claim be recovered — but their loved ones may also be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim. Specifically, under the Zadroga Act, compensation for non-economic loss may be awarded in the amount of $250,000 on behalf of the victim, plus an additional $100,000 to their spouse and each dependent.

Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you lost a loved one to a 9/11-related cancer or health condition, it’s important to have a skillful VCF attorney by your side who can guide you through the deceased claims process. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. are dedicated to providing committed representation to claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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