Recently, the story of Dave Innocenti, a former employee at the New York Stock Exchange, made national news. Today, the former broker, who regularly biked, ran and lifted weights, has to walk with a cane and use an electric chairlift to get up stairs at just 58 years old, thanks to rheumatoid arthritis he developed related to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Innocenti is just one example out of many people who have suffered autoimmune diseases as a result of exposure to toxins in the air after the terrorist attacks. However, most of those people worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attacks, including firefighters and first responders. Innocenti worked on Wall Street, and did not spend time at Ground Zero after the attacks occurred.
This poses an interesting question — do Wall Street workers have the right to seek compensation for health issues caused by the 9/11 attacks in the same way first responders do? The answer likely depends on whether the victims are able to clearly establish a correlation between their illness and the attacks.
There has not been much research into the health of employees of the Financial District in the 14 years since the attacks. Though they were not in the midst of the clean-up, they were working just a few blocks away. Innocenti says people had to walk with shirts over their faces as they exited the exchange on the day of the attacks, because dust in the air was so thick. He also says when workers returned to the exchange the following week, many of the surfaces in the building were coated with this dust.
If you have suffered from health conditions due to the events of 9/11, you may have the ability to file a claim for compensation under the Zadroga Act, even if you weren’t at Ground Zero. For more information, contact the skilled New York attorneys at Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson.