Compensation for 9/11 Responders Under the Zadroga Act
September 11, 2001, was one of the gravest days in United States history. Terrorists connected with the terrorist group al-Qaida hijacked four airliners that day, slamming two of them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The towers crumbled and first-responders rushed to the scene, digging through the rubble amid a cloud of toxic debris. But in the months and years to come, these people began to experience a range of negative health effects.
At Parker Waichman LLP, we understand the pain and loss of the 9/11 attacks. 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 nearly 20 years later. So, we proudly fight for the heroes who rushed into the chaos to help and, in the years to follow, were to pay the price for that heroism. Our Zadroga Act attorneys have the experience and resources to pursue justice for people who suffered health complications after the 9/11 response.
Understanding the Tragic Events of 9/11
Understanding the history of the attacks and how they transpired helps our 9/11 lawyers deliver the highest degree of legal representation for the victims of the aftereffects of the 9/11 terror attacks. The scope of the attacks was massive, including a horrendous death toll. Nearly 3,000 people died, 2,606 of them at the World Trade Center at the World Trade Center alone. Among the dead were 400 first-responders from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), as well as the NY/NJ Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). 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: The Nation Realizes We Are Under Attack
The television coverage burned the horrific images into our brains. We watched in horror after learning that at around 8:45 a.m., a plane had struck the North Tower. The aircraft was loaded with 20,000 pounds of jet fuel when it struck the tower, which was also known as Tower 1. American Airlines Flight 767 struck the tower around the 80th Floor and burst into a massive fireball. Many people died instantly and others perished in the smoke and flames.
Tower 2 Is Struck: The Disaster Builds
Eighteen minutes later, another passenger jet, United Airlines Flight 175, demolished the South Tower after striking it at the 60th Floor. The explosion blew steel, glass, airplane parts, and other debris onto the streets below. Many people died instantly and hundreds of others were trapped in the fireball. Those poor, unfortunate souls trapped by the smoke and flames reached out for rescue only to find that their fate was sealed.
FDNY, NYPD and PAPD officers raced to the Twin Towers. Surely, they must have wondered how they would extinguish an inferno that was burning at more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The jet fuel burned off quickly, but the resulting fires burned so hot that the floors themselves began to pull away from the outer columns. Nonetheless, firefighters — each laden with 90 pounds of gear — climbed the staircases of the towers directly into the blaze.
The Fall of the Twin Towers
At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower 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 sink to the ground.
But firefighters, paramedics, and police still continued their efforts in the North Tower. Department heads gave the order to evacuate that building after the South Tower fell, but due to poor communication, not everyone heard the call. The NYPD had a helicopter in the air near the North Tower, and the officers on board 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.
Who Attacked the United States on 9/11?
Terrorists with a group known as al-Qaida perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, backed by their Saudi leader, Osama bin Laden. These terrorists entered the United States from some of our ally nations in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Egypt and Lebanon. Reportedly, the attacks were retribution for American activities in the Middle East.
Catastrophic Loss of Life
Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, easily surpassing the number killed at Pearl Harbor. 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. Only 14 people who were trapped above the impact zone in the South Tower survived. They all made it out of the building via Stairwell A, 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 Towers 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 September 11, 2001, World Trade Center building number 7, which was situated immediately adjacent to the Twin Towers, also collapsed. Rescuers now dubbed the entire site “the Pile,” a place containing 1.8 million tons of debris. However, the World Trade Center area, which was essentially a massive crime scene, became universally known as “Ground Zero.”
9/11 Health Problems
The explosions from the plane crashes and the subsequent collapse of the Towers and its resulting 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 and growing health crisis.
The deaths caused by the 9/11 attacks didn’t end that day or even that week. 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 at Ground Zero. The death toll continues to grow today. Thousands of people have died from illnesses related to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
If you or a loved one suffered injury or illness as a result of 9/11, you are likely entitled to compensation. Our 9/11 victims compensation fund lawyers are here to help.
What Is the 9/11 Health Bill (Zadroga Act)?
The 9/11 health bill is officially named the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, commonly referred to as the “Zadroga Act.” By definition, the law was passed to provide financial compensation and health monitoring to people who developed cancer and other chronic diseases from the carcinogens that were blown throughout the skies of New York.
The compensation distributed by the Zadroga Act is separated into two categories: the World Trade Center Health Program, created to provide health monitoring and care to those suffering from 9/11-related health problems, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, formed to compensate victims and their families for their losses. The Zadroga Act re-opened the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which had been closed in 2004.
The Zadroga Act is named after James Zadroga, who was a victim of the 9/11 attacks who did not die on 9/11. James Zadroga was a New York City Police Department detective who 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 related illnesses stemming from his heroic efforts to save people or bring them home after the towers fell.
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. For these 9/11 victims, lawyers may be able to help the process of getting assistance go more smoothly.
Applicants who pursue coverage under the VCF must meet certain qualifications. You must:
- Have never been involved in or had previously dismissed a prior 9/11-based lawsuit
- Have a 9/11 certified condition
- Prove that you were at Ground Zero or within the New York City exposure area from Sept. 11, 2001, through May 31, 2002.
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 your 9/11 Zadroga claims. The law 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 Zadroga Act lawyers can assist you in appealing the denial of benefits.
What Illnesses Are Covered Under the Zadroga Bill?
The Zadroga Act covers illnesses included under the World Trade Center Health Program. There are a large number of illnesses and injuries that may form the basis for 9/11 claims, including:
- Acute traumatic injuries
- Aerodigestive disorders
- Cancers and childhood cancers
- Diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Leukemia and lymphoid leukemia
- Malignant immunoproliferative diseases
- Injury and illness in the digestive system
- Mental health conditions
- Musculoskeletal disorders
What Benefits Can I Receive Under the Zadroga Act?
Your 9/11 payout may include compensation for things such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and the costs of hiring help to do tasks you used to be able to perform yourself. You might also be able to claim compensation for non-economic losses, like pain and suffering and a decreased quality of life.
Can I File a Claim if I Lost a Loved One?
Yes, you can. Deceased loved ones may be eligible for full benefits no matter what pre-existing conditions they had. If they passed away due to traumas sustained on 9/11 or being near Ground Zero caused them to pass away at a later date, they may still be eligible for benefits, which in this case would go to their surviving loved ones. When you file a WTC claim, lawyers from our firm can help you seek compensation on behalf of your deceased family member.
What’s the Deadline for Filing a Claim?
You must register with the VCF before July 29, 2021, to be able to file a claim. Once you have registered with the VCF, your right to file a claim for compensation will be protected until 2090. Our skilled Zadroga Act lawyers can help you to complete any necessary paperwork on time to safeguard your legal rights.
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 responded to the WTC as well as those who worked at Ground Zero during rescue and recovery missions. The WTCHP also extends coverage to those who performed the same duties at the Pentagon and the Shanksville, PA, site where the third and fourth planes crashed. 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. You may qualify for this program if you fit into one of these groups:
New York City Fire Department
- FDNY firefighters or emergency medical responders, either currently active or retired, who worked at least one day performing rescue and recovery services at Ground Zero, the Staten Island landfill or the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office
- Survivors of a firefighter or emergency medical personnel who died from a World Trade Center illness diagnosed on or before Sept. 1, 2008
New York Emergency Responders
- NYPD officers or PAPD officers from New York or New Jersey, active or retired, who participated in rescue, recovery, cleanup or another service in lower Manhattan, described as south of Canal Street. In addition to lower Manhattan, officers who served at the Staten Island landfill or the piers at which barges were loaded also qualify.
- Individuals who worked or volunteered to work at Ground Zero, the barge-loading piers or the Staten Island landfill. This category includes former or current federal employees who assisted in this way.
- Current or former employees of the New York City Office of 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
- Vehicle drivers, vehicle maintenance employees or other individuals 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
- People in the area of the dust or covered by the dust cloud on 9/11
- People who worked, lived, went to school or went to day care in the disaster area for at least 80 hours between the time of the attacks and July 2002 or were there for 30 days during the 11 months from the time of the attacks to July 2002
- Cleanup or maintenance workers who worked within the New York City disaster area from September 2001 to January 2002
- People who worked in the New York City disaster area from September 2001 to May 2003
Pentagon and Shanksville, PA
- Current or retired first-responders like firefighters, 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 dedicated 9/11 lawyers promise to work diligently to win you the compensation you deserve under the Zadroga Act. Call our 9/11 victims compensation fund lawyers today at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-768-7529) or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case review with no obligation.
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