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Victim Impact Statements: How Can You Maximize Your Claim?

By Hansen & Rosasco

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) doesn’t only provide compensation for wage loss suffered by those who incurred a 9/11-related illness as a result of their exposure to the toxins at the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack sites. It also provides compensation for the severity of a 9/11 illness and the  impact that the illness has had on their lives. To claim this compensation – known as pain-and-suffering damages – many claimants opt to provide a victim impact statement along with their claim.

The VCF has caps placed on the maximum amount of compensation that claimants can receive for the pain and suffering they have incurred due to their condition. An experienced 9/11 benefits attorney can help you prepare a powerful victim impact statement to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available for you.

What Is a Victim Impact Statement?

A victim impact statement is a document that a claimant can submit along with their claim. The statement addresses the quality-of-life impacts that the claimant has experienced due to their injury, providing a human element to staffers tasked with considering thousands of claims.

The Types of Impacts Commonly Mentioned in Pain and Suffering Claims

The term “pain and suffering” is often used to describe non-economic damages, which are compensation you seek for the life-changing costs of your injury.

The term refers not only to physical pain and suffering related to the illness or the procedures used to treat it, but also the severity of the pain and suffering resulting from the trauma of being permanently or even terminally ill, the inability to work or to live independently, the loss of the ability to partake in activities that were previously important to you, and more.

What Type of Information Should My Statement Include?

Here are several questions about the pain and suffering you have experienced because of your condition that you need to answer for those reviewing your claim:

  • How has your 9/11-related medical condition impacted the daily activities of your life? If your illness caused you to be too sick to go to work or required you to miss work because you needed to attend medical appointments, this is both an economic impact as well as a psychological one. If you are too sick to live independently and must leave the home you purchased or the town you’ve spent years residing in to move in with relatives, this is also an important point to discuss. As well, being too ill to drive and the subsequent reliance on family members or public transportation to make appointments should factor in your statement.
  • How did you need to limit your activities since your diagnosis with a 9/11-related medical condition? Were you an avid jogger before you became ill? Did you have a position on a public board that you had to give up because your illness prevented you from making the meetings? Did you have to give up a career you loved because your illness no longer allowed you the ability to do it? You can discuss these limitations in a victim impact statement.
  • Are you able to enjoy your life? Several issues can reduce the quality of life for someone experiencing a 9/11-related medical condition. For example, many VCF claimants have cancer and grapple with end-of-life considerations and uncertainty about whether they will survive the illness. Others suffer insomnia, chronic pain, or rely on medications that affect their personality or alertness. Any circumstance you deal with that constitutes a loss of the enjoyment of life due to your 9/11-related injury can be detailed in your victim impact statement.

Victim Impact Statement

What Other Information Must You Provide With a VCF Claim for pain-and-suffering damages?

If you-with the guidance of your attorney-decide to provide a victim’s impact statement to be included with your VCF claim for pain and suffering damages, you can also provide a copy of your medical records for the diagnosis and treatment of your condition as evidence. This documentation, when combined with a victim’s impact statement, can provide the fullest picture and broader view of the impact your medical condition has caused on your quality of life.

Medical records can show:

  • The medical interventions you have undergone for your condition, and the regularity of those interventions. More frequent needs for medical treatment generally result in higher impacts on the individual’s quality of life.
  • The complications of your condition or treatment that addressed them. Complications often pose a higher likelihood of additional medical interventions, as well as the prescription of medications to treat them. The pain of the complication and treatment also creates higher impacts on an individual’s day-to-day life.
  • The prognosis. Individuals who may not overcome their 9/11-related illness often find themselves trying to prepare for a future for their loved ones that doesn’t include them.

In addition to medical records, among other things, you may need to submit records showing wage loss if you plan to seek compensation for economic damages. You may need documentation to prove your pain and suffering.

What Are the Caps on Pain and Suffering Claims?

There is a cap on the maximum compensation claimants can receive for pain and suffering.

Those caps are:

  • A maximum of $250,000 for a diagnosis of any 9/11-related cancer. Some of the most common cancer in 9/11 responders and survivors are respiratory and digestive system cancers, prostate cancer, urinary tract cancers, blood cancers, and breast cancer in women or men.
  • A maximum of $90,000 for a diagnosis of any 9/11 non-cancerous condition. VCF claimants commonly seek compensation for chronic rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Your experienced 9/11 benefits attorney can help you seek compensation for multiple conditions, file an addendum to your claim to add a newly diagnosed condition, and can explore other programs with you that can also provide needed compensation. We Can Help. 24/7 Free Consultation.

Posted under: 9/11 Victim Compensation

Pain and Suffering Damages Under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

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