The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
The attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001, resulted in the death of nearly 3,000 people. The immediate impact of the event could be felt throughout the globe, and surely, New York City residents who lived in proximity to the World Trade Center suffered as a direct result of the atrocity. The event that reverberated around the world continues to affect the many first responders who risked their lives that day and the hundreds of thousands of Lower Manhattan residents, who to this day suffer the consequences of that unconscionable act. Thankfully, in 2011, under President Obama, the Zadroga Act was passed, instituting a September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and healthcare program for survivors and first responders.
What’s included in the compensation fund? Those deemed eligible can receive remuneration for lost income (past and future), medical expenses related to the event, and pain and suffering damages – i.e. any intangible effects of the event such as emotional turmoil. In 2015, the Fund was extended another five years, meaning it will be available until 2020, and the healthcare program was extended to 2090.
First Responder Dies
At the end of March, Melissa S. Morrow passed away after contracting brain cancer. The death was considered a line-of-duty fatality, as Morrow was one of the first responders at the Pentagon after a plane crashed into the side of the facility. Morrow spent 10 weeks sorting through the wreckage of the attack, searching for evidence of any kind. It is believed that the particles from the wreckage led to her illness. FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke highly of Morrow: “She fought for justice for those we lost. She fought to bring peace to their families, and she fought to make sure that what happened that day would never—ever—happen again.”
To memorialize Morrow, her unit gathered around a radio and sent out a “Last Call.” The dispatcher asked for Morrow to respond (“This is the last call for FBI Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow, radio 1108”) and when she didn’t answer, the dispatcher gave a short speech and then said, “FBI 1108 has ended her tour. Troop A is clear at 1700.”
Troop A was in fact a beneficiary of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, having been certified by the Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program. She died at the age of 48.
Many others may be eligible to receive compensation for their injuries. The attack on the World Trade Center left an immense pile of rubble and a serious cloud of dust that swept over Lower Manhattan. If you were a first responder, or if you were living below Canal Street at the time of the event, you may be able to obtain remuneration for your injuries. It may be helpful to hire an experienced Victim Compensation Fund attorney – someone who understands the filing process and who can help you get the best possible compensation package.
After the World Trade Center came down, the surrounding area was made into a toxic zone. The air was infused with dangerous particles including asbestos. Despite this fact, the EPA Chief made the negligent error of allowing people to return home and to drink the water, which was also toxic. This action has resulted in loads of unnecessary illnesses.
In order to receive just compensation for your injuries, you need to be able to prove that you were present at the toxic site for a long enough period of time. You also need to show that your exposure to the environs of Lower Manhattan after September 11th, 2001, led to your illness. The process of collecting evidence can be tricky. That’s why it’s a good idea to consult with a skilled attorney. They can help you track down the necessary documents as you attempt to obtain remuneration for your injuries.