Turley Hansen & Partners, LLP Call for More Helpful Info: 1-855-WTC-INFO (982-4636)

“9/11: Fifteen Years Later” Documentary to Air on CNN

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Ahead of the 15th anniversary of the attacks on America, CNN has announced that it will broadcast an updated version of the Emmy award winning 9/11 real-time documentary, “9/11” with limited commercial interruption, on September 11th, 2016 at both 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm. The new two-hour film version is called ‘9/11: Fifteen Years Later’

Thank you CNN for remembering!

Award-winning actor, producer, and founder of The Leary Firefighters FoundationDenis Leary will introduce the new anniversary edition of the film, reflecting upon the heroism of the firefighters who responded that day to the World Trade Center towers.

From the site of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City that commemorates the fallen, including 343 members of the New York City Fire Department, Leary will recall the bravery and emotions of the events in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, and beyond.

Thank you Denis Leary for remembering!

Many consider this documentary – which everyone should be warned – contains graphic, disturbing images and language – the definitive documentary of the actual attacks and devastation on 9/11.

As disturbing as this documentary  film is, I think many of us need to watch this film. I first saw the original version in 2002. I promise you – you will “Never Forget” 9/11 if you watch this film. It will also put our continuing fight against groups like ISIS in a much clearer perspective. 

The original film was directed by brothers Gédéon and Jules Naudet, French-born filmmakers,and by retired Manhattan firefighter James Hanlon. The Naudets and Hanlon were on hand at the Duane Street New York Fire Department house on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, to film the training of a rookie New York firefighter, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into Tower One of the World Trade Center.  One of the most indelible images of that fateful moment of impact was filmed by Naudet, and first aired that evening on CNN.

Thank you to the Naudet Brothers and firefighter James Hanlon for producing the definitive documentary which will help us all to “Never Forget”!

The brothers continued filming the heroic rescue efforts of the first responders throughout that fateful day.  The film is a gripping, evocative, minute-by-minute account of that harrowing day through the lens of these filmmakers.

Please consider watching this special 9/11 documentary presentation on 9/11/2016 at 8:00 pm.  It will help us all “Never Forget”.  Thanks. 

Dan Hansen &  Troy Rosasco

 

9/11 Attorneys Sponsor Long Island WTC Health Program Picnic

Stony Brook WTC Health Program Picnic 2016

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund law firm of Turley Hansen was pleased to sponsor the Long Island 9/11 World Trade Center Health Clinic annual picnic last Saturday, August 13, 2016. Despite the heat index approaching 100 degrees, the turn out of both first responders and their families was overwhelming.

The picnic was organized by the the always professional staff at the Stony Brook Health WTC Health Program Clinic in Islandia. The Deer Park Fire Department graciously hosted the event.  Music, food and fun was had by all. Given the blistering heat, Turley Hansen luckily chose to donate hundreds of water bottles to the event!

Stony Brook is one of only five Clinical Centers of Excellence (CCE’s) in the New York Metropolitan region for both responders and survivors. The Center covers initial health evaluations, yearly medical monitoring exams (including lung cancer scans), and medical and/or mental health treatment for specific certified WTC-related health conditions. See the newly updated (August 2016) WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence Member Handbook here.

The Stony Brook Long Island WTC Health Program actually runs two clinics on Long Island – one in Islandia and one in Mineola at Winthrop University Hospital. See the contact info below:

State University of New York, Stony Brook
Telephone: (631) 855-1200
Two Locations

Suffolk County (Main Clinic)
1345 Motor Parkway, 1st Floor
Islandia, NY 11749

Mineola (Contact Main Clinic First)
173 Mineola Blvd, Suite 302
Mineola, NY 11501

Unlike the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the World Trade Center Health Program provides benefits for psychological conditions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. These health benefits include individual counseling, support groups and psychiatric medications, as needed. All health benefits are 100% free with no co-pays or deductibles.

The recent passage of the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act added $3.5 billion in additional funds to treat 9/11 responders and survivors until the year 2090. The WTC Health Program treats all 9/11 covered illness, including over 70 separate cancers. (See the list of covered WTC 9/11 cancers here).

As always, Turley Hansen is glad to lend a helping hand to the entire 9/11 community.

 

Special Report: 9/11 Cancers Triple Since 2014 Due to Ground Zero Dust

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As reported in the New York Post today, September 11th related cancers have tripled since January 2014.  The long term health effects of the World Trade Center dust, fumes and toxins continues to grow. Now, almost 15 years since the attack, every state in America has at least one resident sick with a 9/11 related illness. It appears the pain is long from over. The evil brought to our shores that day by radical terrorists continues to plague our nation.

As of June 30, 2016, over 5,400 WTC first responders and others who lived, worked or went to school in downtown Manhattan – below Canal Street -have come down with 9/11 related cancers due to breathing the toxic dust and fumes from Ground Zero. At least 1,140 have died from WTC cancers. And the federal government told them the air was safe – right!

According to Dr. Michael Crane, Medical Director of the WTC Health Program at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, new 9/11-linked cancers are being certified between 10-15 times per week!  At that pace, his medical center alone will certify over 500 911 cancers in the next 12 months.  The program monitors more than 48,000 police officers, construction workers, volunteer firefighters, utility workers and others who selflessly at Ground Zero. The New York City Fire Department has their own medical program and monitors another 16,000. Thank God Congress passed the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act last December.

The 9/11 Zadroga Reauthorization Act provides lifetime monitoring and 100% healthcare coverage for victims with 911 cancers through the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).  You can enroll and get screened for cancer, no matter where you live in the nation, by calling 1-888-982-4748. The new Zadroga Act also provides compensation to victims through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund recently re-opened for new claims. You can find the new VCF Claim form here.

Unfortunately, our office is also seeing a large increase in 9/11 first responders, cleanup workers, downtown residents and workers (below Canal Street) calling about 9/11 Zadroga Act eligibility.

Reminder: If you or a loved one were present in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street anytime between September 11th 2001  and May 30th 2002, and have been diagnosed with cancer, you can call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO to see if you are eligible for free health care and compensation under the 9/11 Zadroga Act.

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Re- Opens for New Claims

 

New 9?11 Victim Compensation Fund Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya

New 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Special  Master Rupa Bhattacharyya

Lot’s of good news came from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) today.

First, after an over seven month suspension following the passage of the new 9/11 Zadroga Reauthorization Act, the Victim Compensation Fund is now officially accepting new claims. We will have a lot of happy clients!

The Fund released today a new single “claim form” for both “eligibility” and “compensation” determinations. Previously, 9/11 claimants or their attorneys had to complete two separate forms and wait for a determination on “eligibility” prior to submitting a form claiming “compensation”.  See the hard copy version of the new 16 page 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Claim form here.  The new single comprehensive claim form should speed the processing of claims and do away with one extra hurdle of appeal.

Turley Hansen will start filing new client claims pending since last December beginning tomorrow. Four of our paralegals participated in a special training session at the Department of Justice offices today to learn about the new claim form and online filing procedures. See the important New 9/11 Victim Compensation Document Checklist that you should follow before filing any claim here.

Second, the new 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Special Master, Rupa Bhattacharyya, introduced herself in a special message.  Her message, filled with both compassion and professionalism,  gives us every impression that she will be more than able to fill the big shoes left by former Special Master Sheila Birnbaum.  See some of her comments below:

As I assume my responsibilities as Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”), I do so with great humility and deep appreciation for the significant progress the VCF team has made under Sheila Birnbaum’s steady leadership since the passage of the Zadroga Act in 2010 and its reauthorization in December 2015. I also come into the position with an acute awareness of the urgency of continuing that work so that claims are processed promptly and efficiently in order to provide full compensation to those who have suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I want to thank Sheila for her compassion and dedication to designing, implementing and operating a program for the last five years that is transparent and fair and attuned to the needs and concerns of our claimants. As we move through this transition period, I have made clear to the VCF staff that our number one priority is to process and pay claims with thoughtful consideration and without unnecessary delay. There will be no slowdown while I get up to speed.

I think we have a winner!

If you have questions about the “New 9/11 Victim Compensation Claim Form” , a 9/11 cancer compensation claim or where your previously filed claim may be in the process given the reopening of the VCF, call one of our 9/11 attorneys  at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636).

9/11 First Responder NYPD Detective Joe Sweeney Speaks at Democratic National Convention

Great speech last night at the Democratic National Convention by 9/11 First Responder – NYPD Detective Joe Sweeney!

In direct and heartfelt words, Detective Sweeney told a national audience how he felt about then Senator Clinton’s unwavering support for the health of 9/11 first responders and other victims.   Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican and who you might vote for in November, Joe spoke as an American first.  He stood there as a shining example of the many humble and selfless law enforcement officers who protect us across this country every day.  Way to go Joe!

In addition to Detective Sweeney, 9/11 victim Lauren Manning – who was severely burned over 80% of her body- spoke about the impact of that horrible day. Congressman Joe Crowley of Queens, New York spoke about the passage of the 9/11 Zadroga Act establishing the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

Detective Sweeney was an NYPD officer and detective for over 21 years serving his city and his country.  Both his proudest and saddest day on the job was 9/11/2001 when he was called to work in the smoke and the ash and search first for survivors – then for remains. He spoke of all the first responders – including firefighters, construction workers, utility workers, emergency workers and volunteers – who came together to help in yet another world crisis (caused by “radical Islamic terrorism”Yes – I have no problem saying those words!)

Joe correctly pointed out that it was our own federal government that told the first responders recklessly that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breath.  Unfortunately, we now have the continued health consequences and premature deaths of first responders to prove how wrong the government was.  As we all know now,  the air around the WTC crash site was a “smoldering toxic soup” like never seen before or since, and our first responders are now paying the price. 

In the dangerous world in which we now live, it is nice to see that our brave first responders not only get the national recognition they deserve – but the compensation and health benefits they deserve.

 

 

 

 

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund: How to File a Claim Now?

As of Monday, July 18, 2016, you cannot now file a new claim with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). This is because the 9/11 Fund Special Master (the person who decides the amount of your award) is currently revamping the old claim forms as a result of the changes required by the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act. However, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund recently posted a 33 page “sample” claim form so that victims could start the process of gathering necessary information. See the new sample 9/11 VCF Claim form here. Remember, this form is not yet final and should not be filed with the VCF.  Turley Hansen expects a new claim form to be issued very soon.

For example, if you were diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer today, you could not file a new claim yet. However, you or your 9/11 attorney could begin assembling all your “eligibility documents” such as witness affidavits regarding your “proof of presence” at the 9/11 “crash site area” between the dates of “9/11/2001 and 5/30/2002” as either a first responder or local resident.  You could also begin assembling all your medical records and and “certifications” from the  World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

Perhaps the most important thing to do if you were diagnosed with a 9/11 covered condition today would be to “register” your claim with the Victim Compensation Fund. “Registration” is different from “filing” a 9/11 VCF claim. You can register your 9/11 claim without actually filing your claim.  This will protect you from missing important filing deadlines. Unfortunately, I speak to 9/11 cancer victims everyday who have missed registration deadlines.  If you were diagnosed with any covered 9/11 medical condition, click here to register with the Victim Compensation Fund today or call an experienced 9/11 claim attorney.

Again, even though you cannot file a new 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund claim today, you should still “register” with the VCF today if you have not already done so. We will let you know when the new 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund claim form is released to the public and 9/11 lawyers.

If you have questions about your eligibility or 9/11 covered medical conditions, please call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) to speak to an attorney.

 

How Should You Choose a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney?

Here at Turley, Hansen & Partners, it all starts with the first phone call. Watch the video above to get a sense of who our lawyers really are.  I spent over an hour on the phone this morning with a widow whose husband recently died of 9/11 related colon cancer. He was a volunteer fireman who traveled  from  five states  over on September 12, 2001 to help with rescue and recovery efforts at to Ground Zero. A real hero.

Our client was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 48, and he was only 52 at the time of his death. The aggressive chemotherapy he received to treat his cancer caused a host of other serious health problems which caused as much, if not more, pain and suffering as the cancer. He and his wife had been married almost 30 years when he died.

The widow had some basic questions about being appointed the “Personal Representative” so that she could receive the balance of her husband’s Group A award and file for a new death claim.  But as we talked I could tell she was still in tremendous pain from the loss of her soul mate.  I listened as she told me how hard it was for her to write out a “Victim Impact Statement” but that she wanted me to  read it so that I could understand their story.

After her husband’s diagnosis, it seemed like the world began crumbling around them (including losing their home).  Yet they still had each other to lean on until his death this spring. Now, with her children grown and married, she felt completely alone.  I wasn’t able to solve any of the heartbreaking problems she faces today, but I was able to listen when she needed it.

The widow’s Victim Compensation Fund claim is fairly straight forward from a legal perspective.  But our discussion this morning reminded me that I had another role as a 9/11  Victim Compensation lawyer. When I was admitted to the New York State Bar over 25 years ago, I took the oath as both an “Attorney and Counselor at Law”. Often times we attorneys only focus on our advocacy role and forget about our  role as a “Counselor at Law”. Today, I needed to remember that dual role when I spoke to my client’s widow.

So when you are trying to choose a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund lawyer, remember to consider whether the “Attorney and Counselor at Law” will pick up the phone himself and listen first, then talk. You will be glad you did.

New 9/11 Zadroga Reauthorization Act WTC Compensation Fund Regulations Available from Turley Hansen

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The Justice Department today issued 47 pages of new regulations implementing the James Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Reauthorization Act.

See the new Zadroga 9/11 Reauthorization Act regulations here.

We have already posted the important changes in the actual 9/11 WTC Zadroga Reauthorization Law in a previous post here. The new regulations are just as important. 

The new Zadroga regulations puts the “meat on the bones” of the new 9/11 Zadroga Reauthorization law and tell claimants and their lawyers how to file claims and what to expect in terms of financial awards in the future.

After a preliminary analysis, we believe the most important things claimants and their lawyers need to know about the new regulations are:

  • the Special Master shall identify claims that present the “most debilitating physical conditions” and prioritize payments to such claimants. This means that a claimant with terminal 9/11 related lung cancer should get priority placement for payment of compensation over a claimant with a surgically removed skin cancer that is presently considered cured. This is one of the most important changes for 9/11 victims who are seriously ill;
  • time limits for filing claims is extended from October 3, 2016 to December 18,2020;
  • the regulations clarify that the $250,000.00 cap for non-economic damages in cancer cases is for a single cancer. This means that if a claimant has more than one distinct 9/11 covered cancer, the award could pierce the $250,000.00 cap. For example, if a claimant is awarded $250,000.00 in non-economic damages for kidney cancer in 2016, and then develops unrelated 9/11 thyroid cancer in 2017, the claim can be “amended” for additional non-economic compensation;
  • the definition of a “spouse” in 9/11 related death claims has been expanded to include “same sex spouses” who were lawfully married to the victim under applicable state law;
  • economic loss shall include awards for out-of-pocket burial expenses on a case-by-case basis;
  • future awards for loss of earnings shall not include any amount for “future medical expenses” (presumably since most such expenses should be covered through the free care available from the World Trade Center Health Program – WTCHP);
  • determination of collateral offsets (amounts of compensation paid to a claimants from other different sources  that will reduce the final net payment to the claimant from the VCF) are further clarified;
  • the  VCF will implement the new statutory requirement of capping annual gross income at $200,000.00 for purposes of calculating future economic losses. This means that a claimant who previously made $250,000.00 annually prior to becoming disabled will now have his or her award based upon the $200,000.00 gross income cap, rather than their actual earnings;
  • the prior minimum award of $10,000.00 has been eliminated, meaning that even if a claimant has a covered 9/11 medical condition, they may receive zero dollars from the 9/11 WTC Victim Compensation Fund (VCF);

The new final 9/11 Victim Compensation Claim form is still not available, but a sample form should be posted shortly. We will bring this form to your attention on this website as soon as it becomes available. There are many more issues to be discussed about the new regulations and we will continue to bring you our analysis here.

There is a 30 day public comment period on this James Zadroga Act rule starting June 15, 2016. Click here if you wish to submit comments.

If you have any questions about the new Zadroga Act regulations or 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund claims, call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO to speak with one of our attorneys.

 

A Small Percentage of Future Group B 9/11 Victim Compensation Awards May Be Reduced

Turley Hansen  would like to share with you important new information from a recent meeting the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund had with law firms representing victims of 9/11 and its aftermath.

Specifically, a relatively small percentage of  9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Group B non-economic claim awards ( VCF claimants with loss determination awards dated after 12/17/15) could be reduced compared to the original Group A awards.

The Fund has advised 9/11 Cancer Victim Compensation law firms in writing as follows:

“Update on loss models and methodology: The reauthorization statute caps non-economic loss and includes a prioritization mandate. This means the non-economic awards will be lower for certain conditions than they were under Group A. 

We will not know how the new Reauthorization Act truly impacts Group B claims until the VCF starts issuing Group B decisions at the end of June (only a few weeks away) and we see new regulations being issued on June 15th. Stay tuned to this website and we will let you know what we find out.

Of course, Turley Hansen will fight to make sure their clients receive all the compensation they deserve from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, including appealing award determinations when appropriate.

We should also know more when the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund issues new regulations implementing the changes in the Zadroga Reauthorization Act in an “Interim Final Rule” on June 15, 2016. This new Rule is subject to a 30-day post-publication notice and comment period that will begin on June 15 and end on July 15, 2016, but the comment period should not itself hold up Group B determinations.

More New Info Coming June 15, 2016: the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund plans on posting a wealth of new and important information on the VCF.gov website on  June 15th, including new “FAQ’s” and a sample new claim form.  The new claim form includes helpful suggested changes from the law firms representing 9/11 victims. The actual, final online and hard copy claim forms should be released by the end of July.

***This effectively means that no new 9/11 VCF claims will  be able to be filed by VCF law firms until late July or early August at best.

Once new information becomes available next week, we will analyze and post the important take-aways here. Stay tuned.

 

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Pays Families Over $1 Billion in Last 5 Years

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9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) Special Master Sheila Birnbaum issued a Special Report yesterday announcing that over $1 billion dollars has been paid claimants and families since the Fund re-opened in 2011. See her Special Report here.

Turley Hansen & Partners, LLP has obtained over $60 million dollars from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for their clients over the last 5 years, and continues to file new claims with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for WTC first responders, volunteers, residents and workers below Canal Street who were in the “crash site area” between 9/11/01 and 5/30/02.  Many of the newest claims involve 9/11 related cancers.

Some of the key take-away’s from the the Special Master’s report include:

  • Group A Claims (claimants with loss determination award letters dated 12/17/15 or earlier) – as of May 22, the VCF has authorized payments on 8,717 claims.  Almost all Group A claim payments will be authorized in full by the end of June.
  • Group B Claims (claimants with loss determination awards dated after 12/17/15) – the VCF expects to begin issuing the first Group B loss determinations also at the end of June and expects that first payments will be authorized by mid-August. The VCF has made over 2,050 “Eligibility Decisions” since January of this year.
  • Filing New Claims – while the VCF updated new federal regulations and claim forms required by the Reauthorization of the Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Act passed last December, claimants have been unable to submit completed applications. During this period, Turley, Hansen & Partners has been preparing our clients’ claims for full submission once the VCF begins taking new applications. The VCF plans on releasing the new application forms by the last week in July. If all goes well, we should be able to start submitting applications with the new forms in August and September.
  • 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund website – on June 15, the VCF will post new information and FAQ’s on its website. The VCF will then post additional information in late July once the new application forms are released.

We will keep you posted on this blog with additional info you need to know. So far, this is all good news for victims of 9/11.  Please call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) to speak to an attorney if you have any questions.

 

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