9/11 was one of the gravest days in the United States in recent memory. Terrorists-19 all told-connected with the anti-U.S. Islamic terrorist group “al-Qaeda” hijacked four airliners that day. The planes were loaded with hyper-volatile and combustible jet fuel. The homicidal terrorists slammed their jets into the north and south Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The towers crumbled after the exploding airplanes detonated upon impact with the structures. Of course, we will not forget the planes that crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and in Shanksville, PA.
COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF THE TERROR ATTACKS
At Parker Waichman LLP, we understand the pain and loss from the terrorist attacks on 9/11. We are from New York. Our friends, family, and neighbors worked in the World Trade Center. The sense of devastation with which we were left continues to resonate over 15 years later. Our Zadroga Act Attorneys have the experience and resources to pursue justice for people who have suffered a loss on 9/11.
Understanding the Tragic Event of 9/11
Understanding the history of the attacks and how they transpired helps us deliver the highest degree of legal representation for the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. The death toll from 9/11 was horrendous. Nearly 3,000 people died in the September 11 attacks. Among the dead were 400 first responders from the New York City fire and police departments as well as NY/NJ Port Authority officers. In addition to the 3,000 who died, another 10,000 suffered a variety of injuries.
The 9/11 Timeline of Events
Tower 1 is Struck, and Our Nation Realizes We Are Under Attack
The television coverage burned the horrific images into our brains. We watched in horror after learning that around 8:45 a.m. the first plane struck the north tower. The aircraft was loaded with 20,000 pounds of jet fuel struck the north tower, which was also known as Tower 1. American Airlines 767 struck the building around the 80th floor and burst into a massive fireball. Many people died instantly, and others perished in the smoke and flame.
Tower 2 is Struck
Eighteen minutes later United Airlines Flight 175 demolished the south tower after striking the 60th floor. The resultant explosion blew steel, glass, airplane parts, and other debris onto the streets below. Similar to the north tower, numerous people died instantly, and hundreds of others were trapped above the fireball. Those poor, unfortunate souls trapped by the smoke and flames reached out for rescue only to find that their fate was sealed.
Who Attacked the United States on 9/11?
We have come to know the attackers. Terrorists who entered the United States from some of our ally nations in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates came to our country with hate in their hearts. Other would-be attackers came from Egypt and Lebanon. These homicidal terrorists were backed by Saudi al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his criminal network. Reportedly, the attacks were retribution for America’s involvement in the Persian Gulf War a decade prior.
How Airport Security Failed to Prevent the 9/11 Attacks
The murderous jihadists thoroughly and extensively planned the attacks meticulously for over a year. Many of the attackers took flying lessons at various locations throughout the United States. A few of the terrorists entered the U.S. a short time before the attacks, but some had been in the country for many years. As a result, they were able to scout airport security. The terrorists knew that airport security-contrary to what it is now-was lax. Consequently, they could smuggle box cutters on board their flights. They merely marched through security checkpoints, which were designed to identify threats such as firearms, large knives, bombs, and other incendiary devices or what might be considered more traditional threats to airline security. Before 9/11, no one expected box cutters in the hands of a few individuals to be a threat to national security.
A New Form of Airborne Terrorism
The meticulous planning even went so far as their selection of flights. The hijackers targeted airlines that were cross-country flights headed to the west coast. They understood that the planes would be loaded with jet fuel to make the non-stop journeys from east coast locations such as Boston to California. The hijackers turned the planes into massive flying bombs traveling at speeds approaching 500 miles per hour.
The hijackers sprang into action shortly after takeoff. Using the box cutters, they smuggled onboard, coupled with their study of martial arts and self-defense techniques, the attackers murdered flight attendants and stormed the cockpits of the airplanes. They murdered the flight crews and took over controls of the planes. Recordings of the cockpit transmissions indicate that the hijackers, speaking in heavily accented English, asked the passengers to remain calm as the attackers altered the planes’ flight routes and headed toward New York and Washington, D.C. Perhaps people onboard thought that they would land safely at a nearby airport and the terrorists would negotiate a ransom and they would all go home again. The victims on board had no idea that the hijackers learned how to fly commercial airlines but never learned how to land them.
A Carefully timed and Executed Plan of Attack Against Our Great Nation
The timing of the attacks was not by accident either. The hijackers knew that their targets would be loaded with people. They planned to strike their targets at the end of rush hour. The World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon building, and the White House workers would be busily going about their work days and would never suspect that terrorists would fly a commercial airliner into the buildings in which they worked.
Even buildings of military significance such as the Pentagon would outwardly appear to be impenetrable to an aerial attack. However, at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 which departed from Washington Dulles airport several minutes earlier debunked that widely-held belief. Five hijackers commandeered Flight 77 in the same manner in which the other jets were hijacked. The jetliner slammed into the outer ring of the Pentagon and penetrated as far in as the 5th ring, or the innermost wing of the building. 59 souls compromised of the passengers and crew on board the plane perished as did another 125 people on the ground. The fireball and blaze that erupted from the crash engulfed a large portion of the Pentagon. Firefighters spent days trying to extinguish the fire. Stories of heroism would emerge from the wreckage in the days and weeks that followed.
Within a few minutes of the assault on the Pentagon, the world watched in horror and utter disbelief at the events that would unfold in New York. Police, fire, and Port Authority officers raced to the “Twin Towers.” The first responders selflessly gathered their gear and went to the source of the fire. Surely, they must have wondered how they would extinguish the inferno that was burning at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The jet fuel burned off quickly but the resulting fires that consumed office furniture, paper, walls, carpets, and other elements of an office building filled with people who worked there on a daily basis. Those fires burned so hot that the floors began to pull away from the outer columns. None-the-less, firefighters laden with 90 pounds of gear climbed the staircases of the Towers toward the source of the blaze. At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower, or World Trade Center 2, started to collapse. Within seconds, the 110-story structure would be reduced to a pile of rubble. Television cameras captured the scene as people on the ground and across the country watched the South Tower came down.
Our New York City Emergency Responders – New York’s Bravest Heroes
Firefighters, paramedics, and police continued their efforts in the North Tower. Department heads gave the order to evacuate that building after the South Tower fell. Due to poor communication, not everyone heard the mayday call. NYPD had a helicopter in the air near the North Tower. The officers noted that the tower was buckling on one side. A short time later, the officers told their dispatch center that the roof would collapse imminently. At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower came down. The catastrophic failure of the structure occurred 102 minutes after the first plane hit the Tower.
The Loss of Life Was Catastrophic
The losses were catastrophic. Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the attacks. 9/11 easily surpassed Pearl Harbor regarding the death toll and the number of people injured. In New York, 343 firefighters were killed while trying to save workers trapped inside the Twin Towers. Another 23 police officers died as did 37 Port Authority officers when the towers collapsed. Only 14 people who were trapped above the impact zone on the South Tower survived. They all made it out of the building via Stairwell A. Stairwell A was the only staircase that was not destroyed when the plane collided with the building. No one who was trapped above the impact zone of the North Tower lived that day. All exit routes were destroyed because of the crash, explosion, and subsequent fires.
The Collapse of World Trade Center Buildings 1 and 2
The collapse of World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 caked lower Manhattan in a cloud of dust and debris. No one was immune from the pulverized steel, concrete, and glass invading their lungs, eyes, and noses. It was estimated that half a million people were blanketed by the dust cloud in lower Manhattan and neighboring Brooklyn. Late in the afternoon of 9/11, World Trade Center building number 7, which was situated immediately adjacent to the Twin Towers, also collapsed. Rescuers dubbed the site, “the Pile.” However, the World Trade Center area, which was essentially a massive crime scene, became universally known as “Ground Zero.”
The Heroic Acts of the Passengers on United Flight 93
As these events unfolded, all air traffic, including United Flight 93, was ordered to land. Flight 93 had departed from Newark, New Jersey International Airport bound for Los Angeles but the flight left the gate later than its scheduled departure time. Consequently, people on board learned about what was happening from sources on the ground. When hijackers took over the plane, the doomed souls on board knew that they were to be sacrificed by madmen carrying out a vile and sinister plan. Brave people trapped in the plane that was to be turned into a missile took action in the hopes of preventing the hijackers from carrying out their mission. The heroes on board of that plane stormed the cockpit and fought the hijackers for control over the jetliner. The jet slammed into a field near Shanksville, PA. Everyone on board died, but the quick and decisive actions of several people on board that flight thwarted the hijackers’ mission and saved an untold number of lives.
No one is certain what the intended target was for Flight 93. Some speculate that it was headed for the U.S. Capitol building or the White House. Others thought that the terrorists wanted to destroy any one of the nuclear power plants that line the east coast. No one will ever definitively know what target at which they aimed.
THE ZADROGA ACT: COMPENSATION FOR 9/11 EMERGENCY RESPONDERS, RESIDENTS, AND WORKERS EXPOSED TO TOXINS
The Zadroga Act is a federal law named after James Zadroga who was a victim of the 9/11 attacks, but he did not die on 9/11. James Zadroga was a New York City Police Detective who responded to the World Trade Center and helped search for victims in the rubble. He subsequently contracted a respiratory disease which doctors related to exposure to chemicals from Ground Zero. He died in 2006 from the illnesses caused by that exposure from his heroic efforts to save people or bring them home after the towers fell.
The official name of the statute is the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. The compensation distributed by the Zadroga Act is separated into two categories of victims of 9/11. They are the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program. Congress designed the programs to compensate people who were injured in different ways on 9/11.
- The September 11 Victim Compensation fund provides financial compensation to people who developed cancer and other chronic diseases from the carcinogens that were blown all over New York. The Zadroga Act reopened the Victim Compensation Fund because it had initially closed in 2004. But, pervasive health problems connected to the disaster necessitated reinstating the program and providing additional funding to those who fell ill after the program first ended.
- The World Trade Center Health Program provides healthcare services to those who were at or near Ground Zero on 9/11 and in the days and weeks that followed.
9/11 CAUSED SUBSTANTIAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
The pain and suffering caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks lives on to this day. The explosions from the plane crash, and the subsequent collapse of the Towers and the resultant dust cloud scattered carcinogenic materials all over New York. As a result, the asbestos, fiberglass, glass, concrete, and other debris that filled the air and blanketed the earth near Ground Zero created a massive health care crisis.
The death toll from 9/11 has been on the rise. Medical experts have determined that some 60 varieties of cancer and 30 other chronic or debilitating diseases have been linked to exposure to the fallout from the collapsing towers and recovery work on Ground Zero. Fortunately, Congress passed the Zadroga Reauthorization Act in 2015. Adding more funding and extending the duration of the programs ensures that people who are currently suffering from 9/11 related diseases and those who will develop health problems in the future will receive compensation and the health care they need. But time is of the essence. The Act was renewed for five years until 2020. Congress will need to reauthorize the fund at that time, or operation of law will extinguish by its terms.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR ZADROGA ACT COVERAGE?
Applicants who believe that they are suffering from a 9/11-related illness must be evaluated and approved before they receive coverage under the Zadroga Act. There are strict guidelines for qualifying for each component of the fund.
QUALIFYING FOR COVERAGE UNDER THE 9/11 VICTIMS COMPENSATION FUND (VCF)
Applicants who pursue coverage under the VCF must meet certain qualifications.
- Register for coverage before December 18, 2020
- Have never been involved in or has previously dismissed any prior any 9/11 based lawsuit
- Must have a 9/11 certified condition
- Prove that you were at Ground Zero or within the New York City Exposure Area from 9/11/2001 through 5/31/2002;
There are important exclusions of which people must be aware.. The fund will ask you to waive certain rights to other lawsuits to qualify. That is one of the many reasons why you should have representation for you 9/11 claim. The Act allows you to have counsel of your choosing to guide you through the claims process. If you are denied a claim, and you believe the decision was wrong, your lawyer can assist you to appeal the denial of benefits.
QUALIFYING FOR THE WORLD TRADE CENTER HEALTH PROGRAM
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) is different than the VCF. The WTCHP covers first responders in the police, fire, and emergency medical response professions who had responded to the scene as well as those who worked at Ground Zero during rescue and recovery missions. The act also extends coverage to those who performed the same duties at the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA. Additionally, the WTCHP covers people who lived and worked in the area of Ground Zero as well as children who attended school near the disaster site or in the designated disaster area.
More detailed information about who may be eligible follows.
New York City Fire Department
- FDNY firefighter or emergency medical responder, either currently active or retired, who worked at least one-day performing rescue and recovery services at Ground Zero, Staten Island Landfill, or the New York City Medical Examiner’s office, or
- Survivors of a firefighter or emergency medical personnel who died from a World Trade Center illness which was diagnosed on or before September 1, 2008.
New York Emergency Responders
- NYPD officers, Port Authority offices from New York and New Jersey, regardless if their status – active or retired, who participated in rescue, recovery, cleanup, or another service in lower Manhattan, described as south as Canal Street. In addition to lower Manhattan, officers who served at the Staten Island landfill, or the piers at which barges were loaded.
- Any individual who worked or volunteered to work at “Ground Zero,” barge loading piers or the Staten Island Landfill. This category includes former or current federal employees who assisted in the same way as described.
- A current or former employee of the New York City Officer with the Chief Medical Examiner who worked on cases related to 9/11 including handling the remains of those killed in the attacks.
- Port Authority employees who worked in the Trans-Hudson Tunnel.
- The vehicle driver, vehicle maintenance employee, or another individual who assisted with hauling debris from Ground Zero or worked on vehicles that transported debris and were exposed to toxins in the air.
New York City Survivors
- A person in the area of the dust or covered by the dust cloud on 9/11.
- A person, including children, who worked, lived, went to school, or daycare in the disaster area for at least 80 hours between 9/11 and July, 2002, or was there for 30 days during the 11 months from 9/11 to July 2002.
- A cleanup or maintenance worker who worked within the New York City disaster area from 9/11 to January 2002.
- People who worked in the New York City disaster area from 9/11 to May 2003.
Pentagon and Shanksville, PA
- Current or retired first responders like fire, emergency services, and police.
- Recovery and cleanup workers and/or cleanup contractors.
- Anyone who volunteered at either site, such as Red Cross volunteers.
SPEAK WITH ONE OF OUR 9/11 ZADROGA ACT ATTORNEYS TODAY
As a New York-based law firm, we too were affected by the events of 9/11. Our attorneys promise to work diligently to win you the compensation you deserve from the September 11th terror attacks.
Call Parker Waichman’s 9/11 illness lawyers today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-768-7529) or fill out our online contact form to schedule a no obligation and free case review.
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