The true impact that a 9/11-related illness, injury or death has had on a victim and their family can’t be measured in dollars and cents alone. The trauma, pain and loss felt by those who have suffered because of the terrorist attacks aren’t necessarily reflected in medical bills, paystubs or invoices. These “non-economic” losses are often part of victim compensation awards. But claims for such losses, including pain and suffering, must be supported by documentation and evidence. This can include “victim impact statements” which reflect how the 9/11 attacks and aftermath have affected the claimant and those around them.
Pain and Suffering Damages Can Be Part of Victim Compensation
Damages for pain and suffering can be part of an award from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). This includes compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life’s activities that a victim experiences as a result of and in connection with eligible 9/11-related physical injuries or illnesses. The VCF will not award pain and suffering damages for solely mental injuries (such as PTSD, anxiety or depression).
Caps on Non-Economic Damages
When the Zadroga Act was reauthorized in 2015, new regulations were enacted that put caps on the amounts that Group B claimants could receive from the VCF for non-economic losses. Group B claims are those with award notices dated after December 17, 2015.
These non-economic loss caps are as follows:
- $250,000 for an eligible 9/11 covered cancer (certain cancers will be awarded less than $250,000)
- $90,000 for an eligible non-cancer condition (many non-cancer conditions will be awarded less than $90,000)
Victim Impact Statements
Note that these caps represent the maximum amount available for non-economic losses connected to a specific cancer or other condition. That does not mean that every claimant will receive that maximum amount. As with claims for economic damages, claimants seeking compensation for non-economic losses must submit evidence to support those claims. Since non-economic losses such as pain and suffering are inherently subjective, this evidence often takes the form of written statements and testimony about how the 9/11 attacks and resulting medical conditions have impacted the life of the victim as well as his or her family.
A detailed “victim impact statement” is a document submitted with a VCF compensation claim in which the victim tells their story; making their suffering very clear, real and human to the VCF staffers reviewing their claim. The statement can discuss the impact that the eligible physical illnesses, injuries or conditions have on your day-to-day life and how they have limited your activities and ability to enjoy life.
At Turley, Hansen & Rosasco, our 9/11 compensation lawyers help our clients prepare powerful victim impact statements that reflect the scope and extent of their suffering so they can maximize the amount of compensation they may receive. If you have questions or need help with your 9/11 compensation claims, please call us today at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) or fill out our contact form to schedule a free claim review.