September 11, 2001 is a day that most Americans will never forget. It was a day of tragedy, heroism, and the beginning of a long fight to move forward. Although the tragedy occurred almost nine years ago, the date 9/11 and Ground Zero continues to make headlines. In recent news, there is controversy about building a mosque so close to Ground Zero and whether or not it is an appropriate place for one. There are also headlines about the firefighters and other first responders and workers’ compensation. Advocates are urging the first responders to file for future workers’ compensation before the deadline this September.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act did not go through in the House of Representatives and advocates of the act are hoping the votes in Congress will push it through. It was created to improve the protection of the first responders at Ground Zero and to amend the current Public Health Service Act. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is related specifically to anyone who responded to the attacks on September 11, 2001, and who may have suffered injuries, illness or even death from their response.
What makes this act unique is that it is a form of worker’s compensation, but it also protects the worker in the future. To file for this compensation, you do not have to show any type of symptoms of injury or illness to be eligible. You can file now so that if you do become ill in the future, you will be covered by the compensation. Because of the nature of clean up jobs, some illnesses or injuries can occur years after the initial exposure to chemicals, debris, or other factors. Most workers’ compensation claims have a statute of limitations regarding when they can be filed and a symptom or injury has to be prevalent.
Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens can cause diseases later in life. This is a fear that many first responders worry about. Doctors are seeing more and more cases now, nine years later, of illness and disease from the first responders of 9/11. Ground Zero was certainly filled with ash and other environmental exposures months after the initial attack took place. One man clean filters for six months after the tragedy and now has respiratory problems. He takes medication daily and finds it harder to work and even breathe.
To file for the future worker’s compensation, one must file by September 13th of this year and has to have been a first responder or volunteer of 9/11.
About the Author: Brooke Haley marketing associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation lawyer that practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts within the State of Illinois. For more information, please visit http://www.millonpeskin.com.