Choosing the right 9/11 lawyer can make all the difference in the size of your payout.
Were you in Lower Manhattan for any reason between September 11, 2001 and July 30, 2002? Since then have you been diagnosed with any type of cancer or breathing condition? If so, you may be entitled to significant compensation and free lifetime medical care from the federal government. Congress passed the James Zadroga Act in 2010 and re-opened the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to compensate victims and families for illnesses arising out of exposure to toxins in lower Manhattan after the Twin Towers fell. Sixty nine + different cancers are now covered and eligible victims may be entitled to hundreds of thousands of tax free compensation in addition to free lifetime medical care. However, navigating the federal bureaucracy to obtain these valuable benefits can be difficult for anyone – much less someone who is dealing with a serious illness.
Here are some things you should consider when choosing a 9/11 lawyer to help you take advantage of these benefits:
- Experience – Find a 9/11 lawyer who has been representing 9/11 victims since right after the attacks. A lawyer with over 20 years of experience representing 9/11 victims is far more qualified than a lawyer who just started representing victims a few years ago. In addition, it is particularly helpful to find a law firm which only does 9/11 claims – as opposed to a law firm that handles car accidents and other types of claims. The more experienced the lawyer, the more likely that clients will maximize the compensation award amount. It’s important to pick the attorney whose expansive experience and knowledge reflects an ongoing dedication to the 9/11 community and to their clients.
- Education – Look for a 9/11 lawyer who frequently lectures, writes articles, is quoted in newspapers and appears on television explaining the benefits available to 9/11 victims and their families. You want someone who knows the 9/11 law and regulations back and forth so that you can get the maximum compensation and lifetime healthcare you deserve.
- Dedication to the 9/11 Community – Look for lawyers who consistently support non-profit 9/11 charities such as 911healthwatch.org and other important medical institutions that treat 9/11 victims such as Mt. Sinai Medical Center, NYU Langone Medical Center , and Northwell Health and Stony Brook Medical Center. Many 9/11 victims live with devastating illnesses such as cancer and need daily support from medical professionals that lawyers cannot offer, but organizations can. 9/11 charities and medical institutions are essential to supporting victims and recovery, so you want a lawyer who puts their money where their mouth is.
- Communication with the Lawyer – Can you talk directly on the phone to your 9/11 lawyer, or are you shuffled off to legal assistants? You deserve to be able to talk directly to your 9/11 lawyer, especially because your 9/11 lawyer will likely be paid a 10% legal fee out of your award. Do not compromise on this issue. If you need to speak to your 9/11 lawyer directly you deserve to.
- Caring, Supportive & Knowledgeable Staff – You can tell a lot about your 9/11 lawyer by the team of paralegals and administrative staff that work at the 9/11 law firm. Given the serious medical struggles that 9/11 victims often face, a caring staff at the law firm who can empathize with clients is a must. The lawyer and anyone you interact with at the firm should demonstrate kindness, empathy, and knowledge at all times.
- Next steps – Do your research. Visit long time experienced 9/11 victim law firms and see if they are completely focused and devoted to 9/11 legal claims. Pay close attention to the case results they’ve received for clients in the past. If the law firm has recent content, it’s often a good indicator that they are responsive and up-to-date on current legal changes. If you need to, speak with multiple law firms and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Unfortunately the 9/11 victim claims process can often last a couple of years – don’t be discouraged. Whatever 9/11 law firm you choose – you will be spending a considerable amount of time with so be sure you will work well together on your case. A good 9/11 law firm should unburden you of the administrative tasks involved with your claim so you can concentrate on your health.
Choosing the right lawyer for your 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund case is important to securing the maximum payout. A law firm that stays in constant communication with you, giving you updates on the status of your claim, offers immediate answers to your questions and getting you maximum compensation is what you deserve.