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Victim Compensation Fund

Proving Non-economic Losses in a VCF Claim

August 25, 2014 | Michael Barasch

For most VCF claimants, non-economic losses represent the bulk of their recovery. While out of pocket costs for medical treatment — as well as lost wages from total or partial disability — can be significant, intangible losses like pain, disfigurement and the inability to fully enjoy life’s pleasures remain a major factor.

Unfortunately, proving the existence and extent of these types of losses can be a challenge. Whereas economic factors are objectively provable through medical invoices, tax returns, pay stubs and other readily available and unambiguous documentation, placing a value on pain and other non-economic losses is, by nature, subjective. It requires a significant exercise of discretion by the VCF staffers who process and decide compensation claims.

  • Regulations set presumptive non-economic losses for those who died as a result of the 9/11 attacks and recovery operations as $250,000 for the deceased and $100,000 each for a surviving spouse and dependent.
  • Non-economic awards for survivors whose injuries cause a consistent, sustained and severe impact upon daily life generally range between $90,000 and $125,000.
  • Awards for survivors whose injuries cause only a mild continuing impairment are generally up to $40,000.

While non-economic losses for the deceased and their families are established by regulation, the numbers presented here reflect the trends so far. Ultimately, VCF administrators evaluate each case independently and determine what type of non-economic award is appropriate.

Submitting in-depth medical records, lists of medications, insurance records and records from government agencies such as Social Security who held proceedings relating to your condition may help the VCF determine its severity. A personal impact statement can also be helpful when supported by objective evidence. The attorneys of Barasch & McGarry are available to help VCF claimants determine the best means of proving their non-economic losses.

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