The 17th anniversary of 9/11 is right around the corner and although it’s been quite a while since that day, many are still living with the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack. Many of them might have had to deal with immediate tragedies, whereas others had to deal with a slower, more painful one like the late Detective James Zadroga who suffered through complications as a direct result of working at Ground Zero and spending time in lower Manhattan in the months following 9/11. Thanks to him, his loved ones and many first responders, there is now compensation available for those who found themselves in lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks.
Who is James Zadroga?
James Zadroga was an NYPD detective who died of respiratory disease as a result of his work at the World Trade Center site; The Zadroga Act was named in his honor. Within a month of responding to the terrorist attack, Detective James Zadroga had difficulty catching his breath. Unfortunately, Zadroga and many of the other first responders were only wearing thin, paper mask over their faces that did not provide the type of protection they would need for all those chemicals at Ground Zero.
By the one year anniversary of the terrorist attack, the one-time bodybuilder was constantly coughing and had a consistent sore throat. His eyesight was also failing. By September 11, 2003, James Zadroga was attached to an oxygen tank. On January 5, 2006, NYPD Detective James Zadroga had passed away.
Zadroga passed away with fiberglass in his lungs and traces of mercury in his brain. This was the first case where a death was directly linked to his time working in and around Ground Zero.
The Zadroga Act
Unfortunately, the James Zadroga Act didn’t pass until 2010 and was only available to other first responders (police officers, firefighters and construction workers) who were either battling severe symptoms similar to the ones Detective Zadroga dealt with.
As of now, the Zadroga Act has extended to all victims, not only first responders, who were in lower Manhattan after 9/11. These victims might now suffer side effects of being exposed to the toxins which were still lingering around in the months following the attack.
On January 2, 2011, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (the Zadroga Act) was signed into law and, as a result, the September 11, 2001 Victim’s Compensation Fund (VCF) was reopened. This means that individuals who were injured as a result of exposure to these hazardous toxins following September 11, 2001, may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Among the injuries covered under the VCF are lung disease, asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, chronic cough syndrome, chronic sinusitis, GERD and sleep apnea.
When originally enacted, the Zadroga Act did not cover cancer. However, recently the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced that 50 forms of cancer will now be covered under the Zadroga Act.
Injuries Covered in the Victim’s Compensation Fund
The injuries covered as part of the Victim?s Compensation Fund are always changing and the severity of these injuries are taken into consideration as well. Below is a list of injuries currently covered by the VCF:
- Malignant Neoplasms of the lip, tongue, salivary gland, floor of mouth, gum and other mouth, tonsil oropharynx, hypopharynx and other oral cavity and pharynx
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Nasopharynx
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Nose, Nasal Cavity, Middle Ear and Accessory Sinuses
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Larynx
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Esophagus
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Stomach
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Colon and Rectum
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
- Malignant Neoplasms of the retroperitoneum and peritoneum, omentum and mesentery.
- Malignant Neoplasms of the trachea; bronchus and lung; heart, mediastinum and pleura; and other ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs
- Malignant Neoplasms of the soft tissues (sarcomas)
- Malignant Neoplasms of the skin (melanoma and non-melanoma), including scrotal cancer
- Malignant Neoplasms of the breast
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Ovary
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Urinary Bladder
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Kidney
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Renal Pelvis, Ureter and Other Urinary Organs
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Eye and Orbit
- Malignant Neoplasms of the Thyroid
Qualifying for the Victim’s Compensation Fund
For those who are currently suffering from side effects of this exposure, you may be entitled to compensation.
We are committed to representing, filing claims for and protecting the rights of our fellow New Yorkers and others who have had their life altered due to this traumatic and devastating event. Please contact a Zadroga Act attorney at Douglas & London in New York, NY, today to learn more about compensation available under the Zadroga Act and the VCF.