The pain and sorrow of losing a loved one to a 9/11-related illness or injury can be unbearable. Tragically, many families lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and children due to exposure to the toxic dust cloud as they aided in the rescue and recovery efforts in the months following the terrorist attacks. Others lost family members to 9/11-related illnesses who lived, worked, or went to school in the NYC Exposure Zone as a result of continually breathing in the carcinogens that contaminated the air south of Canal Street.
Whether your loved one was a 9/11 responder or survivor, you may be eligible for compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for your loss. The attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. provide compassionate representation and assistance with navigating the complexities of filing 9/11 wrongful death claims.
9/11 Wrongful Death Claim Eligibility
A VCF deceased claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. To be eligible for compensation, the VCF requires that the deceased individual must have been:
• A 9/11 responder or survivor
• Within the NYC Exposure Zone in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks
• Have an eligible 9/11-related cancer or other health condition certified by the WTC Health Program
Additionally, the victim’s death must have been caused by their 9/11-related health condition to be eligible for compensation. If their 9/11-related illness wasn’t the direct cause of death, the VCF will look at the death certificate and consider whether the victim’s 9/11-related condition was a “significant contributing factor” to the death or an underlying cause of death.
Submitting a VCF Deceased Claim
Before the personal representative can submit a claim, they must first register with the VCF. There are strict registration deadlines that must be met for 9/11 wrongful death claims, depending upon when the responder or survivor passed. If your loved one died from their 9/11-related health condition any time before July 29, 2019, you must register the victim’s claim by July 29, 2021. If a victim passes after July 29, 2019, the VCF imposes a registration deadline of two years from the date of death.
If the victim filed a claim before they passed away from their 9/11-related health condition, the personal representative will need to register a new deceased claim. However, if the 9/11-related health condition was not the cause of death, the personal representative will need to file an amendment to the victim’s personal injury claim.
Compensation for 9/11 Wrongful Death Claims
There are two parts to a VCF award for a deceased claim and each calculated separately — the victim’s personal injury award and the wrongful death award.
A VCF personal injury award compensates the victim for the losses they suffered in connection with their 9/11-related cancer or health condition during their lifetime. While there are minimum amounts assigned to each eligible health condition, the VCF generally issues compensation based on the severity of the responder or survivor’s condition.
A wrongful death award for a deceased claim is meant to compensate the victim’s family for the loss of their loved one. The victim’s dependents may also be awarded for the economic loss they suffered in connection with the victim’s lost earnings and pension benefits due to their 9/11-related health condition prior to death.
Under the Zadroga Act, the VCF may issue an award for non-economic loss in a deceased claim, providing compensation for the victim in the amount of $250,000, and $100,000 to the spouse and each dependent.
Contact a New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney
If your loved one was a responder or survivor who passed away as a result of a 9/11-related cancer, illness, or injury, you may be entitled to compensation from the VCF. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has over a decade of experience helping the families of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, construction workers, office workers, residents, and anyone present at Ground Zero or in the NYC Exposure Zone file 9/11 wrongful death claims. Contact us for a consultation.