New York mesothelioma lawyer Joseph W. Belluck today said that 9/11 workers with mesothelioma should step forward to explore their eligibility for compensation in light of a federal ruling that greatly expands the scope of a $4.3 billion fund established to compensate and treat people exposed to toxic smoke, dust and fumes following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Mesothelioma is among 50 different types of cancer added to the list of sicknesses covered by the fund under a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) decision released June 8. Belluck praised the decision.
"Mesothelioma, which is caused by inhaling asbestos, certainly belongs on a list of diseases covered by exposure to the smoke and dust generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center," said Belluck, a founding partner of the Belluck & Fox, LLP, law firm.
Belluck said that his law firm currently is assisting a victim of mesothelioma who worked cleaning up the World Trade Center.
"Asbestos was present in parts of the 1970s-era construction of the World Trade Center, and it was among the many toxic elements vaporized after the 9/11 attacks," Belluck continued. "Anyone who came in contact with the wreckage and who now has symptoms of mesothelioma - or a diagnosis - should come forward to seek the compensation they are due."
The DHHS decision will allow volunteers, residents, schoolchildren and passers-by to apply for compensation and treatment for cancers developed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, The New York Times said in a recent article.
In addition to mesothelioma, the new ruling includes lung, breast, colon, trachea, esophageal, kidney, bladder, skin, thyroid, blood and ovarian cancers. Prior to the new decision, the ailments approved for compensation were mainly respiratory and digestive ones.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen caused by inhaling or swallowing asbestos, a naturally occurring heat- and fire-resistant fibrous mineral. Asbestos was used in a variety of industrial machinery and equipment, and in consumer products.
The disease is eventually fatal, but aggressive therapy may prolong the lives of patients who are diagnosed early, Belluck said.
People with covered cancers that lived, worked or attended school in Lower Manhattan between Sept. 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, would be able to apply for compensation for their economic losses, pain and suffering, The Times said. The amount of compensation will depend on the severity of the illness and duration of exposure. Survivors of patients who have died may also apply for benefits.
"Compensation through the 9/11 fund is not automatic," Belluck said. "Mesothelioma sufferers and others will find that they need to gather a variety of documents and other information to prove their eligibility."
The Belluck & Fox law firm is dedicated to helping mesothelioma victims obtain compensation as they fight their disease. The firm has won several multi-million dollar verdicts in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of mesothelioma sufferers, including a $32 million verdict in Dummitt v. A.W. Chesterton (No. 190196/10) and a $19.5 million verdict in Konstantin v. 630 Third Avenue Associates (No. 190134/10) in August 2011.
About Belluck & Fox, LLP
Belluck & Fox, LLP, is a nationally recognized law firm that represents individuals with asbestos and mesothelioma claims, as well as victims of crime, motorcycle crashes, lead paint and other serious injuries. The firm provides personalized and professional representation and has won more than $500 million in compensation for clients and their families.
Partner Joseph W. Belluck is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, New York Magazine's "Best Lawyers in the New York Area" and in Super Lawyers. Mr. Belluck has won numerous cases involving injuries from asbestos, defective medical products, tobacco and lead paint.
Partner Jordan Fox is a well-known asbestos and mesothelioma attorney who has been named to the Best Lawyers in America, New York Magazine's "Best Lawyers in the New York Area" and to Super Lawyers. On two separate occasions his verdicts were featured as the National Law Journal's Largest Verdict of the Year.
Belluck & Fox, LLP, is featured on the list of America's best law firms, which was published jointly by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers magazine. The listing showcases 8,782 different law firms ranked in one or more of 81 major practice areas.
The firm's New York City office is located at 546 Fifth Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY, 10036 (local phone number (212) 681-1575). For more information, contact the firm at (877) 637-6843 or through the online contact form.
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