The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has many moving parts and can be challenging to navigate. Even understanding VCF attorney fees can be complex. This complexity often intimidates those heroes considering filing a claim for compensation they are due from the VCF.
An attorney specializing in 9/11 VCF claims is the best resource for navigating the complex VCF process. Still, too many people avoid seeking help out of fear of attorney fees. Proper navigation of the VCF processes, higher VCF settlements, and avoidance of the stress and work of VCF claims more than cover reasonable attorney's fees.
In addition, VCF lawyers' fees are capped by the government at a fixed percentage. Now there is every reason to have the help of an experienced lawyer throughout a VCF claim.
If you have wondered about the attorneys' fees that come with using a VCF law firm, this guide is for you. We hope to educate you on how fees are regulated and why using an experienced VCF lawyer is more than pays for itself. If you have questions about VCF attorney fees or would like to discuss your eligibility, we can help.
Call 1-888-982-8428 or contact us online for a free consultation.
What is the VCF and how does it work?
After terrorist attacks caused the tragedy of 9/11, the VCF was established by Congress to compensate those heroes exposed to toxic materials and dust from the Twin Towers collapse. The primary location of those receiving compensation was in the New York City Exposure Zone around ground zero. Not only are first responders eligible, but anyone that lived, worked, attended school, or attended daycare for children or adults in the lower Manhattan disaster zone near Canal Street may also file.
The VCF includes the Pentagon crash site and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site. Additionally, the NYC Exposure Zone consists of any routes or areas related to the debris removal, more specifically, the barges carrying debris and the Fresh Kills landfill.
Eligible first responders, volunteers, workers, and other victims had to be present at any of the covered sites sometime between September 11th, 2001, and May 30th, 2002. When a victim was present and for how long they were present are factors in calculating compensation for VCF claimants.
In 2019, the signing of the "Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alverez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act" fully funded the VCF and extended the claim filing deadline to October 1st, 2090.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) manages the VCF. An appointee of the Attorney General, the Special Master, manages the distribution of funds. The current Special Master, Rupa Bhattacharyya, was appointed in July 2016.
Filing a claim
Victims or the personal representative of a deceased victim's estate may file claims only after first demonstrating eligibility.
Eligibility is first determined with registration in the 9/11 World Trade Center Health Program administered through the CDC. The WTC Health Program certifies a health condition as 9/11 related cancer or illness, and provides for treatment and monitoring of the condition. With certification, the victim may then apply for compensation from the VCF.
It is important to note that two separate agencies administer these two individual programs. The WTC Health Program certifies a health condition and provides care only. It is not necessary to be registered with the VCF to participate in the WTC Health Program, but a victim must register with the WTC Health Program to file a VCF claim.
Filing a claim with the VCF requires documentation of presence at any crash sites or in the NYC Exposure Zone. These verification forms include third-party verification of presence, documents created in real-time during the eligible dates (pay stubs, union records, etc.), or witness presence statements and affidavits as secondary sources.
All forms must be accurately and completely filled out with the required documentation and submitted before the updated deadline of October 1st, 2090. Registration with the VCF can be done before filing a claim.
What you need to know about VCF attorney fees
Like so many parts of the VCF, regulations regarding attorney's fees can be an unknown buried with other requirements, rules, and regulations. Once explained, you'll understand why representation by an experienced VCF lawyer is the best way to file a VCF claim.
You won't pay a fee unless you earn compensation
Typically, 9/11 attorneys won't charge you a fee unless you receive VCF compensation. You're already dealing with costs and 9/11 related conditions; rest assured that attorney's fees are not something that is cause for worry.
There is a 10% cap on attorney fees
Suppose your attorney gets you compensation from the VCF. In that case, the Zadroga Act caps the amount of fees your attorney may receive, and your VCF lawyer can only charge you 10% of your VCF award. While your attorney may charge expenses incurred while providing legal services, those expenses and attorney fees may not exceed that 10% cap.
You may be charged non-routine expenses in excess of the 10% limitation
If your VCF lawyer incurs non-routine expenses while submitting your claim to the VCF, these may be charged above the 10% cap. Some examples of reimbursable, non-routine expenses are:
- Medical record expenses only to the amount charged by the medical facility and only if the records were necessary for the VCF claim.
- Translation expenses, if a document not in English needs to be translated by a certified translator.
The Special Master can authorize reimbursement for other eligible, non-routine expenses that the Special Master believes to be rare. Some examples would be:
- A business valuation when a claim includes the loss of that business as part of the economic losses.
- Travel expenses for meetings conducted with a client located more than 100 miles from the firm's office.
There are several resources available if you think you have been unfairly charged
Your 9/11 lawyer is there to help and support victims and their families.
Attorneys for 9/11 victims value the contributions of our nation's heroes during and after the horrible events of 9/11. While highly unlikely, if a victim feels that their attorney has charged them for unallowable expenses, the VCF advises you to call their helpline at 855-885-1555.
Should I hire an attorney to file a VCF claim?
Having an experienced Victim Compensation Fund attorney to help you through the claims process can be one of the best decisions you make. An attorney from a great VCF law firm, like Gregory J. Cannata & Associates, will pay off with both economic and non-economic benefits.
Starting with non-economic benefits, an experienced VCF lawyer knows the process.
They have dealt with the different filing requirements and hang-ups and have helped many different victims. The result is that you have an expert handling everything for you.
Your attorney will help get you through the registration process, starting with the WTC Health Program.
If treatment or evaluations are needed, your attorney will have the right resources to help. Your VCF lawyer will know what to do and get it done if there are problems, documents needed, or critical deadlines coming up.
It is an excellent benefit to not having to deal with the stress, run around, and documentation while also knowing everything is handled.
As an economic benefit, an experienced attorney that knows the process can also help you get the full compensation you are due. The difference in an award can be tremendously different when an experienced representative handles the process.
A 10% fee to recover a much higher reward while not dealing with the stress and unknowns that come with filing a VCF claim is an excellent investment.
The 9/11 attorneys at Gregory Cannata & Associates are knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate in VCF claims, and have helped individuals affected by the events on and after 9/11 recover over $300 million in awards from the Victim Compensation Fund.
With our expertise, our clients and their family members avoid the burden of managing the complex claims process alone, while we also improve their ability to avoid a denial and maximize their payout. They epitomize the value of having expert representation on your side when filing your claim.
Questions about your eligibility, claim status, or filing a claim? Our 9/11 attorneys can help
The heroes that responded on 9/11 are due compensation from the VCF if they have suffered adverse health impacts. The VCF process can seem daunting.
An experienced VCF lawyer can provide legal advice, make the process easy, and ensure that the recovery is for the full amount you deserve. You answered the call in our nation's time of need, and we are here to serve you.
If you have questions about VCF attorney fees, your eligibility, claim status, or would like to start your claim, we can help.
Call 1-888-982-8428 today or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced VCF attorney at our firm.