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WTC Responders

World Trade Center First Responders, Rescue and Recovery Workers

Facing elevated risk for devastating illness

Those who lived, worked or visited in Lower Manhattan and at the World Trade Center site during and after the events of September 11 face an elevated risk of respiratory disease, cancer, acid reflux, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders, and problems with substance abuse. But emergency, clean-up and repair personnel who responded to the crisis face even greater health risks than most people who lived or worked in the area.

Respiratory disease and WTC workers

In 2010, studies emerged showing that nearly all of the workers exposed to the thick clouds of dust after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed have suffered a persistent drop in lung function. For some workers — especially those who were in good health and did not smoke prior to the attacks — this decline in lung function has not had a significant effect on their day-to-day lives. But for many others, the decline in lung function has limited their ability to work, exercise and perform their usual daily activities.

In ordinary cases of smoke and particulate inhalation, lung function declines, but then slowly rebounds over a period of months and years as the lungs heal and recover. In the case of the World Trade Center dust cloud, emergency, rescue and recovery workers suffered a decline in lung function that has persisted for more than a decade.

Cancers and WTC workers

The mix of toxins present in the smoke and dust at the World Trade Center has long been cause for concern among epidemiologists tracking post-WTC health effects. Because cancer takes longer to develop than many other WTC-related illnesses, studies were slow to link certain types of cancer conclusively with exposure to dust and smoke at Ground Zero. But eventually, studies of firefighters exposed to toxic dust and smoke at the WTC site indicated about a 20 percent higher rate of cancer than firefighters without such exposure.

The FealGood Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group whose mission is to aid all emergency personnel who may have suffered any form of injury as a result of the attacks, had long advocated for the inclusion of cancer among those injuries and illnesses eligible for compensation and medical care. The Foundation keeps an unfortunately growing list of WTC responders who have contracted cancer since the attacks.

After significant pressure from advocacy groups and the media, the federal government included various types of cancer on the list of illnesses qualifying for Zadroga Act medical care and Victim Compensation Fund benefits. The list now contains 68 WTC-related cancers.

Personal injury attorneys with a focus on rescue, recovery and clean-up workers

The seasoned attorneys at Barasch & McGarry have long focused part of their legal practice on helping New York City’s firefighters get the pensions and disability benefits they deserve. Since the tragic events of 9/11, we have expanded that practice to include dedicated advocacy for all first responders — EMS crews, firefighters, police, utility workers, clean-up workers — suffering adverse health effects as a result of their extraordinary efforts in the days and months following the attacks. If you worked on the WTC site or with WTC debris, we want to help you take advantage of every health benefit available to you. We want to help you and your family obtain as much compensation as possible.

Barasch & McGarry — helping set things right

No other law firm in the country has recovered more money from the Victim Compensation Fund for its injured clients than Barasch & McGarry. Please contact us online or by phone at 888-351-9421 to determine your eligibility for WTC compensation or to start the application process.

Compensation available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just responders and volunteers
Our Attorneys
  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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