Pain and Suffering Damages Under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
What are "non-economic losses?"
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) calls “pain and suffering” damages “non-economic losses.” “Pain and suffering” damages describe the physical pain, suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of life’s daily activities that a victim endures as a result of having become sick from a 9/11-related illness. The VCF will consider and award “pain and suffering” damages, along with other types of damages (e.g., economic losses, such as lost earnings), when determining an award.
We secured $3.4 million for “pain and suffering” (non-economic damages) and “loss of earnings” for a Wall Street professional disabled by 9/11-related cancer.
Compensation for “Pain and Suffering” Damages
All 9/11-related cancers and illnesses can have a long-term effect and cause pain, suffering, and economic losses on the lives of those who were exposed to the toxins released into the air and water at or near Ground Zero – on September 11, 2001 or in the many months afterward. If you became sick because of exposure to the contaminated air at the “Crash Site Area,” know that our VCF lawyers are dedicated to advocating for you through this VCF claim process and in pressing for an award for the full amount. We will evaluate the various damages you are eligible for under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
New caps on "non-economic" damages are:
- $250,000 for individuals with covered 9/11 cancer types. (Note: Certain cancers will be awarded less than $250,000.) The 9/11 cancer claims are among the most common claims submitted through the VCF.
- $90,000 for an eligible non-cancer condition. (Note: Many conditions that are not 9/11 cancers will be awarded less than $90,000.)
- The Reauthorized Zadroga Act does not place an “aggregate cap” on “non-economic” loss but merely states that the loss for any type of cancer shall not exceed $250,000 and the loss for any type of non-cancer shall not exceed $90,000. For example, if a 9/11 victim suffers from one type of cancer and receives an award, and then later develops a second cancer, the VCF has the discretion to make an additional award of compensation of up to another $250,000.
- In cases where the 9/11 claimant suffers multiple cancers, our firm’s 9/11 attorneys have successfully argued and won many cases where we obtained awards greater than the $250,000 cap.
- A “non-economic loss” may be for either a 9/11 cancer or non-cancer condition and/or may be for more than one type of cancer.
- The 9/11 VCF Special Master has the discretion to consider the effect of multiple cancer conditions or multiple cancers and non-cancer conditions in computing the total non-economic loss.
- Since the Special Master has complete discretion in the amount of a VCF award, it is vital that a devoted 9/11 attorney advocate for the claimant is able to obtain the maximum award allowed by law.
"Non-Economic Loss" Awards
“Non-economic loss” awards do not require that the claimant lose time from work or suffer a permanent disability. The VCF awards “non-economic loss” payment only for covered physical conditions. Unfortunately, the VCF specifically excluded awards for mental injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.
There are many benefits available to those who are eligible for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The VCF Special Master has unlimited discretion in setting the amount of an award and, as a result, payouts vary greatly, depending on how the facts of the claim are presented.
Tips for Securing Maximum VCF Award Amounts
The 9/11 VCF lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP always help our clients receive the maximum allowable awards. Steps to accomplish this include helping and preparing a detailed “Victim Impact Statement,” documenting the claim with citations and summaries of medical records, and in obtaining medical reports and witness affidavits to support the maximum award allowed by law. We believe the VCF claim reviewers and Special Master must know the real story about how your 9/11-related illness or health condition changed your life. You and your family are not just a faceless diagnosis. The VCF must know these facts to award the appropriate compensation in your claim.