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State Appeals Court Clears Way for Compensation for 9/11 Volunteers

In June, a state court of appeals overturned a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Board that denied injury compensation to certain 9/11 volunteer workers.

In September 2001, Jaime Hazan, now 43, was an emergency medical technician. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, Mr. Hazan volunteered at a triage area at Chelsea Piers. The following day, Mr. Hazan helped look for survivors in the aftermath of the attacks.

Mr. Hazan, who lived on the Upper West Side, now resides in New City. He suffers respiratory and other health problems due to his exposure to dust and particulate. Mr. Hazan applied multiple times to the World Trade Center Volunteer Fund for compensation but was denied by the New York Worker’s Compensation Board, which cited points such as:

  • The injuries suffered by Mr. Hazan are attributable to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • Mr. Hazan offered volunteer aid on his own, not as part of a recognized volunteer agency.
  • Because Mr. Hazan suffered injury, without association with a recognized rescue or volunteer agency, Mr. Hazan is not eligible for compensation.
  • The decision was based on efforts to reduce fraudulent compensation claims to the fund.

In June 2013, a three-member Appeals panel overturned the decision denying benefits to Mr. Hazan through the Volunteer Fund.

In the case of Mr. Hazan, the court notes, “Neither the statutory language nor the legislative history supports the Board’s requirement that an individual be affiliated with an authorized rescue entity or volunteer agency.”

While the office of Governor Cuomo reviews the decision, this is hopeful news for injured 9/11 volunteers seeking to receive compensation for injury from the special state fund.

If you have questions about a 9/11-associated injury or compensation claim in New York City, speak with Barasch & McGarry’s skilled September 11 attorneys.

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