Although none of us will ever forget the horrible events of September 11, 2001, it will for most of us, due to our lack of direct involvement therein, eventually become a somewhat distant memory.
For the families and friends of those directly involved, however, the pain, sense of loss and for many the financial consequences will never fade away. It is reassuring, however, to know that the United States Federal Government, mindful of these harsh and bitter realities, acted quickly and decisively through the establishment by the United States Congress of the September 11, 2001 Victim Compensation Fund.
Essentially, the Fund provides a less complicated way to compensate victims who are physically injured or who lost their love ones during their terrorist activities of September 11, 2001.
By filing a claim for compensation from the Fund, claimants (or their personal representatives) will be giving us their right to file a September 11, 2001 related lawsuit against any party except a person who is a knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act, or to recover collateral source obligations (or in other words, to recover monies owed by insurance companies, etc).
The US Congress established the Fund as an alternative to filing a lawsuit; however, claimants are not required to use the Fund. Claimants still have the right to seek compensation through the Courts.
The Fund does not provide compensation for losses to personal property, but only for personal injury or death. The Fund is intended to compensate qualified claimants whether they were in the crashed planes or on the ground. The law states that the Fund victims can be compensated for economic losses (that is, losses that can easily be measured in terms of money, such as lost wages, medical expenses, burial costs, loss of business or employment opportunities) and non- economic losses (very real harms that are not easily measured in terms of money, such as the losses associated with disfigurement or physical impairment or other losses such as loss of companionship).
Speaking as a member of the legal profession, it is gratifying to know that large numbers of our members have banded together to provide free assistance to people who wish to pursue compensation from this Fund. These free legal services are being offered by a group of American and Canadian Trial Lawyers operating under the banner Trial Lawyers Care. The registration for free legal help can be achieved by filling out the sign up form on TLCs website www.911lawhelp.org or by contacting TLC at 1-888-780-8637.
It is important to know that access to this Fund is not limited to American citizens. The lives of people from virtually every corner of the globe were lost on September 11, 2001. It is therefore only fitting that access to this Fund is available to everyone regardless of their nationality or place of residence.