Supporting the Families of 9/11 Victims
We have options for you to consider in receiving compensation for the loss of your loved one as a result of their service or exposure to Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 or during the months after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Our 20+ years of experience in supporting and guiding families has allowed many of them to get the full 9/11 wrongful death awards they deserve.
The attorneys at our firm have represented several thousands of 9/11 victims, including over a thousand families who lost loved ones. Awards to families who lost a loved one are fairly substantial. Just one example of many, our firm very recently won a $1.9 million award in a 9/11 VCF wrongful death claim involving a Verizon technician line worker with 9/11-related colon cancer.
What Are Wrongful Death Awards?
Wrongful death claims and financial awards are administered by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and are intended to compensate for both pain and suffering and the economic loss related to the death of a loved one. The VCF makes awards to surviving family members for wrongful death, including economic loss, funeral/burial expenses, pain and suffering, and additional non-economic loss such as loss of companionship, solace, comfort, and guidance (called dependent awards). These awards are intended to provide financial stability to the families of the victims and can be used to cover a variety of expenses such as medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages.
The Process For Filing Wrongful Death Claims
IMPORTANT NOTE: The time frame for when a wrongful death claim can be filed is almost always still open even if the loved one died many years ago, as early as 2002. Many families may not be aware of this time frame and that it is NOT TOO LATE.
9/11 VCF wrongful death claims may only be submitted by an authorized personal representative of the deceased, who is typically appointed by the Surrogate or Probate Court in the state where the deceased last resided. The laws governing the selection process vary state by state. The experienced attorneys at Hansen & Rosasco will guide you through this process and will most often assist or even personally handle the required estate proceedings to get the personal representative appointed (an Executor if the deceased had a will, an Administrator if the deceased did not have a will). Our attorneys take the entire legal burden off your shoulders so that you can focus on yourself and your family.
How the VCF Determines Wrongful Death Claims
The categories and financial awards of wrongful death claims are determined by the VCF as follows:
Personal Injury Pain and Suffering
A personal injury claim is awarded for the period of time when a victim was first diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness until the date of his or her death. The amount of money awarded ranges from $10,000 to $340,000.
Wrongful Death Pain and Suffering
This is awarded for pain and suffering related to a victim’s death and is added to the “personal injury pain and suffering” classification. The amount of money awarded can be as high as $250,000.
Spouse and Dependent Awards
This is awarded to the victim's surviving spouse and children. The amount of money awarded is an additional $100,000 to the surviving spouse and $100,000 to each of the deceased’s dependents.
Burial Memorial Services or Funeral Costs
This is awarded to the victim's estate to compensate for out-of-pocket burial or memorial services. The amount of money awarded is determined by the VCF.
Loss of Earnings
Loss of earnings is awarded to provide for economic loss to the victim’s beneficiaries for earnings lost from when he or she was unable to work due to a 9/11-related illness or injury – both for the period of time from when the deceased first became disabled until his or her death, and also for the future when the deceased would have been expected to work had he or she not passed away. The amount of money awarded is dependent on the age of the victim, the work history, and the projected number of years he or she was disabled and expected to continue working until retirement.
The amount of lost earnings awarded by the VCF may vary by millions of dollars and, for that reason, it is important that the claim be properly documented and argued by an experienced attorney.
Replacement Services Losses
This is awarded to the victim's beneficiaries for the full value of household-related tasks that the victim performed before his or her passing from a 9/11-related illness or injury. Awards for replacement services, which must be properly documented, range from a minimal amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What if the Person's Death Was Unrelated to an Eligible 9/11 Condition?
The VCF also provides compensation if the deceased victim had a 9/11 condition (including just about any type of cancer) before their death but died of an unrelated condition. These awards are typically lower than the awards for wrongful death since they are limited to the pain and suffering from the time the deceased was first diagnosed until the date of death, but no additional amounts will be awarded related to the death such as wrongful death award, dependent awards, or funeral expenses.