Hiring an Attorney for Your 911 Cancer Claim: What to Do

The events of 9/11 shocked the world. People felt sadness, fear, and anger, and Americans weren’t the only ones. Individuals across the globe watched in horror as the twin towers came down. They remained glued to their televisions and couldn’t seem to turn away from the devastating images coming out of New York, Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania. Everyone wondered if their city or country would be next.

Today, countless individuals who helped clear the rubble following the attacks, those who were near an attack that day, and many others still live in fear because of this event. They worry they will develop cancer or other health issues because of their exposure to the debris present in the areas that were attacked. If a medical professional diagnoses a person with a condition that is attributed to this exposure, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund can help. Seek help at to get compensation for the injuries you have sustained.

What is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

Congress established the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund or VCF to provide individuals with compensation for injuries sustained because of the terrorist attack. Personal representatives of deceased individuals may also request compensation.

Anyone who worked or volunteered to assist with the removal of the debris and other clean-up tasks following the attacks may seek help through this fund, and the same holds for those who did construction. Furthermore, men, women, and children who lived, attended school, or worked in these areas may file a claim.

The areas affected include the World Trade Center and the surrounding exposure zone, the Pentagon, and the Pennsylvania crash site. This exposure must have taken place between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002.

What Disorders Qualify for Relief Under This Fund?

When Congress established this fund, they did so to help individuals suffering from cancer and aerodigestive disorders resulting from the victim inhaling toxic debris at the crash sites. This includes obstructive airway diseases, sleep apnea, inflammatory disorders of the upper airways, interstitial lung disease, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and gastroesophageal reflux conditions. However, many other disorders qualify a person for relief through this fund. Individuals may find a full list of health conditions and injuries here.

Registering a Claim

Individuals worry they may have waited too long to file a claim. However, a person may file a claim as long as it is within two years of learning the condition relates to 9/11 and the aftermath. This two-year period begins when the victim receives World Trade Center Health Program verification or a federal or state entity informs them that the condition relates to 9/11.

A victim doesn’t need to prove that the condition resulted from 9/11. The fund looks at the date when symptoms started, the date of diagnosis, and the nature and duration of the individual’s exposure. In addition, the fund examines the victim’s unique circumstances, such as where they worked, what type of work they did, when they arrived on the site, and how long they were present. A minimum of four hours of exposure is required if the victim developed cancer and believes it is because of this exposure. However, a person who was in the dust cloud is eligible regardless of the time.

Proving Need

Claimants must show proof of eligibility when seeking compensation. They must establish they were in an exposure area, provide information on the severity of the injuries, and show financial losses to receive this compensation. This may require medical records, tax returns, insurance information, pension information, and affidavits from other individuals who can state the victim was in an exposure zone. In addition, the victim must provide proof of out-of-pocket expenses.

Attorney Fees

Victims often worry they will incur attorney fees if they pursue a claim. The fund takes that into consideration. It provides standard attorney fees of a ten percent contingency fee for any victim filing a claim, regardless of whether they win or lose.

Non-Economic Loss

Besides covering the medical expenses of victims, the fund provides compensation for non-economic losses or pain and suffering. The amount awarded varies by the medical condition of the victim.

Economic Loss

Individuals who file a claim also receive compensation for loss of earnings, funeral expenses, household services, and more. When calculating loss of earning, the fund considers past and future earnings as well as employee-related benefits. However, the fund caps compensable gross income at $200,000 per year, and pensions, private disability insurance, and Social Security Disability offset the loss of earnings award.

Death Claims

Sadly, many individuals have lost their lives because of their presence in the exposure zones. A representative of the deceased may file a death claim on their behalf. The presumed non-economic loss is $250,000. In addition, the surviving spouse will receive $100,000, as will each surviving dependent. It is possible for the representative to file a claim for pain and suffering suffered by the deceased from the date of injury until their passing.

The Importance of the Victim Compensation Fund

One week after the terrorist attack, the Environmental Protection Agency declared it safe for people to return to lower Manhattan. However, the agency issued this statement without sufficient information, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality played a role in this announcement.

Victims later learned the air was actually filled with hazardous pollutants. This included mercury, benzene, fiberglass, asbestos, and other substances known to play a role in cancer. Of the 400,000 individuals exposed to the toxic dust cloud, only 54,000 had filed a claim with the fund as of June 2020. These victims have received $6.69 billion in compensation to date.

If you or a loved one spent time in an exposure zone and have since become ill, reach out to an attorney to learn more about filing a claim. Countless individuals came together following this disastrous act to help others and clean up the debris. They deserve to be cared for now that they have fallen ill because of their good deeds. This fund provides compensation to those in need. Learn more today about whether you are eligible to file a claim.

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