Former 9/11 Airline Dispatcher Now Stricken with PTSD Fights for Health Benefits from 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund
Parker Waichman LLP is Fighting Alongside Michael Winter, a Former United Airline Dispatch Working on 9/11 Who Now Struggles with PTSD, to Obtain Health Benefits He Desperately Needs from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.Sep 19, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent the last decade working to ensure the heroes of 9/11 are not forgotten, is representing a former airline dispatcher in his fight to receive health benefits from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Funds. Michael Winter, who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since helping to guide hundreds of airline flights to safety on 9/11, recently told his story to CBS News.
According to Parker Waichman LLP, Mr. Winter was supervising some 40 flight controllers at a Chicago operations center on 9/11/2001. After the terrible reality of what was happening had been made clear, Mr. Winter issued a dispatch to all United Airlines flights warning pilots to secure their cockpits. Flights receiving Mr. Winter's dispatch included United 93, which by that time had already been taken over by terrorist. United Flight 93 would later crash into a field in rural Pennsylvania, following a heroic attempt by its passengers to regain control of the plane from its hijackers.
Mr. Winter told CBS News that he became depressed and withdrawn after the ordeal. As a result, he left his job as an airline dispatcher in 2007 and moved to Florida hoping for a fresh start. In 2010, however, Mr. Winter suffered a severe psychological reaction while viewing a film depicting the events that occurred on United Flight 93. Since then, three different doctors have diagnosed Mr. Winter with PTSD.
Unable to work, or even "function on a reasonable, human level," Mr. Winter has applied to the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for health benefits so that he can finally afford the therapy he so desperately needs. So far, however, the Fund has denied Mr. Winter's pleas for help, maintaining that benefits are only available to "... responders on site at specified locations related to the World Trade Center disaster, or at the site of the ... crashes...," according to CBS News.
Parker Waichman LLP is committed to seeing to it that Mr. Winter, along with all of those who worked so heroically to ensure the safety of others on that terrible day, have access to the healthcare they need.
“Although Mr. Winter was not physically present at one of the designated crash sites, he certainly was a First Responder to the terrorist attacks on September 11th,” states Matthew J. McCauley, who is the lead attorney in the WTC/Zadroga group at Parker Waichman LLP and a former NYPD Officer and WTC First Responder. “In the early developments of September 11th, Michael’s involvement with clearing the airspace over the sites to ensure public safety, as well as his direct involvement with Flight 93 until its conclusion, truly links him to the very purpose of the Zadroga Act, to assist those in need of care and treatment who suffered injuries as a result of these attacks. His involvement spans all 3 three crash sites."
"To think that a bystander to the WTC attack would be eligible for PTSD benefits and yet this man would be shut out is disturbing," Mr. McCauley continued. "Our law firm strongly believes that Mr. Winter should be eligible for benefits and we have submitted an appeal on his behalf. We will continue to represent Mr. Winter pro bono and will not give up until he receives the benefits that our other 9/11 First Responders are entitled to.”
Among other things, Parker Waichman LLP worked along side 9/11 First Responders to ensure the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which reopened the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for five years to provide healthcare and financial help for sickened first responders. Just last month, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recognized the association between the toxic dust that blanketed the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the attacks and cancer. As a result, more than 50 forms of cancer have been added to the list of illnesses now eligible for Zadroga Act compensation.
Parker Waichman vows to continue its efforts to make sure Michael Winter and all of the heroes of 9/11 receive the Zadroga Act compensation they need and deserve. If you or a loved one are eligible for compensation under the Zadroga Act, and would like assistance with your claim, please visit Parker Waichman's Zadroga Act claims page at yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney