Economic Loss Damages Under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Economic Loss Damages Under the 9-11 Victim Compensation Fund with Weisfuse & Weisfuse LLP

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) allows individuals who have suffered a health condition related to the 9/11 attacks to receive compensation for their losses.

This compensation is available for two distinct types of losses:

  • Economic losses
  • Non-economic losses

This post focuses on the first type of loss. The amount of compensation received will depend on the precise circumstances of a claim, but a qualified 9/11 attorney should be able to provide a reliable estimate based on past experience of such cases.

What are considered “economic losses” with 9/11 injuries?

Economic losses are measurable financial losses that fall into five basic categories:

  1. Out-of-pocket expenses related to a 9/11-related condition or injury.
  2. Loss of wages as a result of a 9/11-related condition or injury.
  3. Loss of fringe or employer-provided benefits as a result of a 9/11-related condition or injury.
  4. Replacement of household services that a person is not able to perform due to a 9/11 illness or death.
  5. Expenses associated with a funeral or memorial service (in the case of a deceased claimant).

Economic losses are generally more straightforward to prove than non-economic losses, which refer to less tangible losses such as pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and so on.

However, compiling a comprehensive list of economic losses that covers every loss can still be a challenge for individuals without the assistance of a seasoned 9/11 attorney. Economic losses can range from a few thousand dollars up to several million dollars so it’s essential to get it right.

Claimants can receive reimbursement for past out-of-pocket medical expenses paid as a result of one or more eligible conditions. This includes any approved medical expenses in excess of $5,000 paid before the WTC Health Program certified a condition as applicable for treatment.
Many individuals have missed work due to a 9/11-related condition and this loss can also be compensated. Lost wages can be supplemented by a claim for the loss of benefits, including pension programs, retirement contribution programs, 401(k) match, health benefits, plus any other employer- or union-provided benefits.

For deceased claimants, the family can claim for the past and future loss of wages/earnings with the VCF.

When a service that the victim used to regularly perform needs replacing due to death or, in some cases, after a 9/11-related injury or condition, the value of the services can also be compensated.

Some typical examples include cleaning, cooking, child care, home maintenance/repairs, and financial services.

In most cases, this loss is compensated only after death but if an injured or sick person did not work or worked only part-time and performed the service as part of their routine, it may also be compensated by the VCF.

Out-of-pocket expenses associated with a burial or memorial for victims who died as a result of an eligible 9/11-related condition can also be compensated by the VCF.

This claim must be submitted with the initial claim submission. Documentation of expenses covered by any life insurance or another similar source should also be declared.

Prior and future economic losses related to 9/11

9/11 economic losses refer to both past and future losses. An individual with cancer and unable to work, for instance, can receive a payment that covers lost earnings and benefits in the past as well as lost earnings and benefits in the future.

Prior losses cover financial losses suffered by the victim from the time of the 9/11 attacks up until the present day.

Examples include:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost employer-provided benefits
  • Pension losses/reductions
  • The loss of medical insurance
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Any other expenses related to the victim’s 9/11-related condition or death

Future losses cover financial losses likely to be suffered by a victim of the 9/11 attacks during the remainder of their lives, including:

  • Future lost wages
  • Future lost employer-provided benefits
  • Reduced pension losses
  • The loss of medical insurance
  • The total future value of expenses related to the victim’s 9/11-related condition or death

How to document economic loss damages

When a claim is made to the VCF by an individual with a 9/11-related condition, it is essential to substantiate it with detailed and documented proof of losses. It’s easy for claimants to miss benefits that they are entitled to claim, reducing the total amount of compensation awarded.

Sometimes, this amount is reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars because of an omission or mistake.

A comprehensive claim that is properly prepared identifies the complete value of lost wages, fringe benefits, pensions, and more.

Legal assistance from a 9/11 compensation attorney can help claimants prevent mistakes and omissions and secure the maximum compensation possible.

What non-economic losses can be claimed from the VCF?

Non-economic damages are compensation received for intangible losses that are more challenging to assign a dollar figure to. There are no receipts or invoices for such losses but they may have severely impacted the quality of life.

Usually, economic and non-economic damages are awarded together in a claim. However, non-economic damages may be available for victims even if they have not suffered substantial economic damages (such as inability to work) as a result of their 9/11-related condition.

These damages essentially compensate for pain and suffering associated with a physical health condition, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • inability to function normally

Guidelines and limits for financial awards are outlined by the VCF for 9/11 victims who wish to claim non-economic losses. These are as follows:

  • Non-economic damages associated with a cancer-related condition are capped at $250,000.
  • Non-economic damages associated with a non-cancer-related condition are capped at $90,000.
  • For purposes of calculating economic loss, the VCF caps Annual Gross Income at $200,000 for each year of loss.

Claimants can maximize both non-economic awards and economic losses with the assistance of a seasoned 9/11 attorney.

To discuss your situation and learn more about how we may be able to help you, please call Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP at 332-239-2238 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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