The terrorist attacks on the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001, caused just under 3,000 immediate fatalities.
The victims included airline passengers, employees of the Pentagon, people working at the World Trade Center, and many others.
As heartbreaking as that number is, however, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Thousands of World Trade Center responders, volunteers, and bystanders didn’t die on September 11, 2001.
First responders, pedestrians, and employees of the FDNY and NYPD are just some of the unfortunate people who developed severe health conditions such as cancer, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis, sleep apnea, or asthma from inhaling carcinogens at or around Ground Zero.
While we represent all types of clients eligible for the Victim Compensation Fund, this page focuses exclusively on those affected by post-9/11 asthma.
Cannata, Hendele & Cannata have already secured more than $300 million in settlements for victims of World Trade Center injuries and are proud to be a federal court-appointed litigator for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Our attorneys provide terrorist attack victims with personalized service, time, and undivided attention because we understand they deserve nothing less. If you’re struggling with asthma due to the aftermath of the WTC attack, please reach out to a personal injury attorney from our law office today.
ou pay no upfront cost for your legal advice and no fee at all unless and until we successfully secure a settlement from the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) on your behalf.
Definition of a World Trade Center Victim under New York law
For the purpose of receiving compensation, the VCF and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program) typically consider anyone who developed asthma after being present or visiting Ground Zero, the Pentagon, or the Shanksville plane crash site between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, a victim. However, the complex policies of the WTC Health Program afford differing amounts of exposure time based upon the type of work or presence. Commonly, the time frame that the WTC Health Program looks at is September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002, but exceptions are depending upon your circumstances.
Please note that you need not have been present on the day of the terrorist attack to claim eligibility for WTC VCF payouts for asthma.
Understanding your medical condition: Asthma, Sleep Apnea, GERD
Exposure to asbestos, breathing in toxic chemicals, and working or moving about NYC while exposed to large dust clouds are the main factors that caused some first responders and others to develop asthma-related to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
Some people in New York City developed asthma symptoms right away while others experienced delayed symptoms, sometimes by several years.
Unfortunately, asthma is a chronic condition that never fully goes away. The best you can do is manage your symptoms and know your triggers for an attack.
The most common symptoms associated with post-9/11 asthma include:
- Chest tightness
- Increased production of mucus
- Persistent coughing
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms of asthma can range from mild to life-threatening.
It’s common for people with asthma to carry a rescue inhaler to restore their breathing to normal when exposed to a substance that triggers a response.
What is the WTC Victim Compensation Fund?
Originally created in December 2001 and operating until June 2004, the purpose of the World Trade Center Victim Compensation Fund was to provide cash payments to those who suffered physical harm during the dates indicated above while present at one of the three locations. The payments included compensation for both economic and non-economic loss awards.
Also known as the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, the VCF reopened in 2010 under the mandate of President Barack Obama. He reauthorized the fund in 2015 before President Donald Trump signed legislation in 2019 that keeps WTC VDF payouts for asthma available until 2090.
Most people who filed a VCF claim did so for a respiratory ailment during the first several years the fund was available to them. In addition to asthma, common conditions included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). VCF rules adapted later to add more than 75 types of cancer as well as orthopedic illness.
Understanding eligibility for WTC VCF payouts for Asthma
According to information published at vcf.gov, in order to receive WTC VCF payouts for asthma, you must meet six specific criteria. These include:
- Complete and file a claim by the registration deadline.
- Obtain certification from the WTC Health Program stating that you have received treatment for an injury or illness directly related to debris removal at one of the three eligible sites.
- You may also have been in proximity to one of the sites, commonly referred to as the NYC Exposure Zone, without being officially involved in the clean-up efforts. However, it needs to be between the dates of September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, as indicated above.
- If you meet the three criteria above, the World Trade Center Victim Compensation Fund also requires that you have a timely dismissal, settlement, and release of a lawsuit related to the terrorist attack, and/or withdrawal of your legal claim.
- If you have already received compensation from the VCF, you need to demonstrate proof or your new condition or loss. You will also need to submit proof that you have not received previous compensation for the new condition or loss.
- If another person submits a VCF claim on your behalf, he or she must show documented proof of having the legal authority to do so.
The Victim Compensation Fund administrators require each claimant to be registered for benefits according to their unique circumstances.
Our attorneys will make sure to register you by all critical deadlines to preserve your legal right to file a future claim.
The July 29, 2021 deadline coincides with the two-year anniversary of the third reinstatement of the legislation officially named Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeiffer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
The registration deadline differs from the claim filing deadline, which is October 1, 2090, for anyone who has filed.
What is the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)?
It’s important to note that the WTC Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund are two separate things. While the latter disburse funds to eligible claimants, the WTC Health Program exists to provide treatment and medical monitoring for survivors present at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania plane crash site. Each program has its own set of criteria. For example, your documentation requirements differ based on whether you were a first responder or not.
Filing a VCF claim for Asthma, COPD or GERD
Our attorneys will help you submit your claim within the two-year window following July 29, 2019.
When we are certain that the program received your registration, our next step is to complete a VCF claim form. Administrators of the Victim Compensation Fund must receive your application by October 1, 2090. By filing a claim, we help you authorize the VCF to collect your health data. This includes organizations such as the WTC Health Program. Our attorneys will help you submit your claim and support you every step of the way.
What you should know about VCF compensation
The VCF offers compensation for two types of losses, economic loss, and a non-economic loss award.
To qualify for an economic loss payment, your asthma must cause an occupational disability. You must also have an official designation of occupational disability provided by the Social Security Disability Administration, New York State Workers’ Compensation, or a similar agency.
When determining lost earnings, VCF program administrators look at your age, disability percentage, when your disability started, and several other factors.
Replacement service loss and medical expenses loss also fall under the category of non-cancer economic loss. The first covers such things as the value of household services while the second covers any medical expenses you pay out of pocket such as co-pays and deductibles.
Please be aware that VCF administrators may reduce your compensation under a portion of the program known as collateral offsets. That means it will deduct the amount of any of these payments from your compensation:
- Benefit payment for police officers and other public safety officers
- Lawsuit settlement
- Life insurance
- Social security disability
- Workers’ compensation benefits
When you work with our law firm, your WTC injury attorney will ensure that your application is completed properly and help you determine any amount that VCF program administrators might deduct from your final payout.
Contact Cannata, Hendele & Cannata Today for a Free Consultation
It has been nearly two decades since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Since that time, our firm has worked with thousands of cancer and non-cancer WTC victims to help them enroll in the Victim Compensation Fund as well as the World Trade Center Health Program. We can do the same for you.
Whether you’re dealing with asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, GERD, or another common lung issue, we can help you secure health care and the compensation you deserve, including a fair non-economic loss award as well. Please contact us today at 1-888-982-8428 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. We serve clients in NYC, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all surrounding boroughs.