Following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, tens of thousands of people who lived, worked, and studied in the Lower Manhattan area began exhibiting symptoms of serious respiratory problems. When the towers collapsed, a toxic dust cloud quickly filled the air, inhaled by countless victims. The carcinogenic substances contained in that dust, which hung in the air for months after 9/11, included asbestos, lead, benzene, chromium, and PCBs. Nearly 20 years after the disaster, people are still being diagnosed with medical conditions related to 9/11 dust exposure.
From asthma to deadly cancers, 9/11-related illnesses have harmed more than 55,000 people, and the number keeps growing. With dozens of public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in the Lower Manhattan area, students and teachers are among the most affected.
Many teachers had returned to school within days of the attacks in preparation for the students’ return, tens of thousands of whom were back in class mere weeks after the attacks. Teachers, professors, and other school staff returned to buildings that had been severely contaminated by toxic dust.
Sadly, many of the 13,000 9/11 survivors who have been diagnosed with related cancers were Lower Manhattan students, teachers, and school staff.
VCF Compensation and WTCHP Medical Care Available to Downtown Manhattan Teachers
Individuals who taught at K-12 schools, colleges, and universities near the World Trade Center between September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002, and have been diagnosed with a 9/11 illness, may be able to obtain medical treatment and financial compensation.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was passed in 2010, named for the first NYPD officer to die of an illness related to the terrorist attacks. The Act resulted in the creation of two programs that benefit 9/11 survivors: The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which certifies eligible 9/11 illnesses and provides medical care to victims; and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides financial compensation to victims for damages suffered.
Teachers, professors, and other school staff who worked in the Lower Manhattan area during the qualifying timeframe and have been diagnosed with a WTCHP-certified condition, should apply to both programs. In fact, even those individuals who have not been diagnosed with a certified illness or injury should register with the VCF by July 29th, 2021. Doing so guarantees the timely filing of future claims. A VCF lawyer can help Lower Manhattan teachers determine eligibility and file a claim for maximum compensation.
Lower Manhattan Teachers With 9/11 Related Illnesses Can Receive Compensation & Care
The list of WTCHP-certified injuries and illnesses is vast, including everything from asthma to brain cancer. Certain conditions are more prevalent than others, however; respiratory conditions and cancers are among the most common illnesses diagnosed in 9/11 survivors. The majority of the illnesses and injuries on the WTCHP list fall under one of the below categories:
- Aerodigestive disorders, such as asthma and sleep apnea;
- Cancers (68 in total);
- Mental health conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and
- Traumatic injuries, including injuries to the eyes and brain.
The above list is far from exhaustive. Here is the complete list of WTCHP-certified health conditions and injuries. Lower Manhattan teachers suffering from a 9/11 illness or injury that is not currently certified by the WTCHP may still be eligible. Even conditions that are associated with a covered condition may be considered. Contact our VCF law firm today for more information.
Teachers in The Lower Manhattan 9/11 Exposure Zone
Current and former teachers who worked, or still work, in the area surrounding Ground Zero—now known as the Exposure Zone—may be able to obtain health care and financial compensation for 9/11 illnesses and injuries. Teachers and other school/college staff are among the largest groups impacted by toxic dust exposure on September 11th, and in the weeks and months that followed.
In an effort to return to normalcy, local officials encouraged schools to resume classes as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this premature return has resulted in the sickness, injury, and death of thousands of students, teachers, and other school faculty who studied and worked in Lower Manhattan.
Any individual who taught or worked at a Lower Manhattan public school, private school, college, or university between the qualifying dates of September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002 may be eligible for medical monitoring and treatment, and substantial compensation. The eligible schools include:
- Alfred E. Smith
- 89 Liberty
- 126 Jacob August Riis
- 150 TriBeCa Learning Center
- 234 Independence School
- 276 Battery Park City School
- 397 Spruce Street School
- 289 Hudson River Middle School
- Borough of Manhattan Community College – BMCC
- Church Street School for Music and Art
- German School Manhattan
- High School of Economics & Finance
- Leadership & Public Service High School
- Leman Manhattan Preparatory School
- Montessori School Manhattan
- New York Law School
- PACE High School
- Pace University
- School for Young Performers
- Stuyvesant High School
- Tribeca Community School
The above schools are encompassed by the Exposure Zone, a 1.5-mile radius surrounding Ground Zero. An experienced 9/11 attorney can help survivors determine how to proceed.
How To Apply For VCF Compensation or WTCHP Medical Care
To be approved for benefits through the VCF and WTCHP, applicants must be diagnosed with a WTCHP-certified condition. They must also submit Proof of Presence documentation, showing their presence in the designated area during the qualifying timeframe. A WTC lawyer can help victims obtain the documentation they need, file a timely application, and obtain the maximum available compensation. Even minor application errors can reduce, delay, or deny benefits.
Contact Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP Today
At Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP our highly-skilled team of Zadroga Act lawyers have provided thorough representation to teachers who worked in Lower Manhattan between September 11th, 2001, and May 30th, 2002, allowing them to get the medical treatment and financial compensation they need to heal and move on with their lives. Teachers, professors, and other school staff were among the most affected groups of workers in Lower Manhattan on and after 9/11. In addition to helping victims register for benefits, we will submit a medically-supported optional impact statement to the VCF to ensure that they are eligible for the maximum compensation available. Call Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP today at 212-983-3000 for a free and confidential consultation.