The 9/11 terrorist attacks resulted in widespread physical, emotional, and economic suffering to countless people, not only on the day itself but also in the years that’ve followed. Luckily, many individuals affected by this tragic event may be eligible for compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which the United States (US) government established.
The September 11th VCF is a government program designed to provide financial assistance to the victims of the terrorist attack. It’s typically used to reimburse victims for expenses associated with the tragedy, such as medical costs and lost wages. However, maximizing this compensation can be a complicated and often challenging process. Many things should be considered to ensure a more favorable outcome.
If you’re one of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this post can provide practical tips to ensure you obtain the maximum compensation you’re due. Read on.
- Understand the Eligibility Criteria
Understanding the eligibility criteria for the VCF is the first step toward maximizing compensation. It can help you determine whether you can receive compensation under VCF years after the unfortunate event.
Generally, the September 11th VCF covers individuals who were physically injured or developed illnesses due to the attacks or the debris removal efforts. And it includes those who were present at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, or the surrounding New York City exposure zone. In fact, the VCF provides compensation for representatives of deceased individuals who lost their lives due to attacks or subsequent recognized health conditions too.
By knowing the abovementioned criteria, you can figure out whether you have a valid claim, to begin with.
- Avail Yourself Of Legal Guidance
Navigating the VCF claim process can be complex. Therefore, it’s important to partner with an experienced 9/11 attorney. This legal professional understands the intricacies of the VCF rules and processes so they can help prepare a comprehensive and strong claim.
Specifically, a dedicated attorney can help you in the following ways:
- They can help you determine whether you’re qualified to file a claim under VCF;
- They can help collect enough evidence to support and maximize your claim;
- They can help prepare and file your claim before the deadline expires;
- They can make the filing process much easier and faster by taking care of everything professionally;
- They can negotiate compensation amounts and appeal any adverse decisions; and others.
Having a 9/11 attorney by your side can be an excellent idea to improve your chances of getting a claim approval. Another good thing about seeking assistance from them is that you usually don’t need to pay a fee unless you receive compensation. To know more about VCF lawyers’ fees and how they can work best for you, check out some reputable websites and online resources for more information.
- Obtain Comprehensive Medical Documentation
Thorough medical documentation can be crucial to substantiate your claim. The VCF requires robust medical records that demonstrate the link between the claimant’s physical injuries or health conditions and the 9/11 attacks.
As such, you should collect all pertinent medical records, diagnoses, treatment plans, and prognosis information. Additionally, it’s best to consult with medical professionals who understand the unique health impacts of the 9/11 attacks. This way, you can procure the necessary pieces of evidence to strengthen your VCF claim.
- Identify Economic And Non-Economic Losses
Economic and non-economic losses form the basis of any VCF victims’ claim. Henceforth, it’s important to understand the difference between these losses to get the most out of your VCF award. The better you understand what these types of losses entail, the higher your chances of receiving a fair amount of compensation that you deserve.
Generally, economic losses include lost wages, benefits, business income, and future earnings potential, as well as out-of-pocket medical expenses. Non-economic losses include physical and emotional suffering. Properly document and quantify these losses to maximize your compensation.
- Monitor The Claim’s Status
Once a claim is submitted, it’s essential to regularly monitor its status. The VCF provides updates regarding the processing of claims, and any requests for additional information should be addressed promptly. This is because delaying your responses to such requests may slow down the process and potentially impact the compensation amount.
- Review The Decision Letter Carefully
When the VCF makes a decision regarding a claim, it sends a decision letter outlining the amount of compensation awarded. It’s crucial to review this letter carefully to understand how the VCF calculated the compensation. If there are any discrepancies or misunderstandings, you should address them immediately.
For instance, if the compensation awarded seems inadequate or there are disagreements with the VCF’s decision, consider filing an appeal. It must be lodged within 30 days of the decision letter’s date. In this situation, having legal counsel can be valuable in presenting a compelling case during the appeal process.
- Stay Updated With Policy Changes
Lastly, you should stay updated with any changes in VCF policies or legislation.
Congress has reauthorized and expanded the VCF several times since its inception, resulting in some changes in the eligibility criteria, claim procedures, and available compensation. Because of this, it’s essential to keep abreast of these changes to help you and your attorney adjust your strategies and ensure you maximize your potential compensation.
While navigating the VCF claim process can be daunting, individuals affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks have numerous resources at their disposal. Therefore, by keeping the tips mentioned above in mind, you can navigate the entire claim process easier. Consequently, you can have a better chance of securing the maximum compensation you need to recover and get vindication.