Updated: Mar 6, 2020
The Zadroga Act limits the non-economic loss awards to $90,000 for non-cancer conditions, and $250,000 for eligible cancers. At the same time as the current reductions were announced, the VCF announced a "re-calibration" of how it would calculate non-economic loss awards for non-cancer conditions, essentially setting the bar much higher to be issued the full award. The VCF has now provided some guidance as to the supporting documentation it will consider when considering the severity of non-cancer conditions:
Medical documents that show the type and frequency of medical treatments you have had for your condition. For example, documents that show hospitalization, surgery, emergency treatment, and/or treatment for side effects of the condition.
Test results and treatment prescribed that show the severity of your condition. For example, many people with respiratory injuries have pulmonary function tests. If you have had such tests, please submit the test results including the physician’s interpretation of the tests. Other examples include computed tomography scans, x-rays, endoscopies, esophagogastroduodenoscopies, laryngoscopies, polysomnography or sleep studies, or other diagnostic and treatment procedures.
Medical records documenting severity and/or effect of the condition on daily life.
Documentation of the medications required to manage your condition and how often you take those medications. The type of medication prescribed and the frequency of use of the medication can help demonstrate the severity of the condition.
Medical records or treating physician statements showing use of assistive devices that significantly impair activities of daily living – such as breathing devices that may be used for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
If your condition has limited your activities, please submit any explanation or documentation that explains this effect of your condition. For example, you could submit letters or reports from specialists who treated your eligible conditions.
Records of state and federal agency proceedings or private insurance records that address your medical condition.
A personal statement discussing the impact of the eligible conditions on your life. Such a statement is most helpful if it provides a timeline and details on the medical treatments you have experienced. Note that in general, the VCF will need medical records substantiating claims of medical procedures (surgery, etc.).
We encourage our clients to send us any pertinent medical records, as outlined above, that demonstrate the impact of your WTC-related conditions on your quality of life. We also encourage our clients to prepare a detailed Impact Statement, as discussed during your consultation with our office.
We are still not sure where these awards will land, even after the federal government restores funding. However, the best we can do is to provide a complete, well documented claim such that your award demonstrates the severity of your conditions.
If you have any questions or concerns about the above, please contact me or my paralegal, Toni-Ann, at (212) 766-5800, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.