- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Families of first responders and other individuals who developed an underlying health condition from the 9/11 terrorist attacks that contributed to their death from COVID-19 can file a wrongful death claim under the Victim Compensation Fund, according to a clarification posted by the Department of Justice.

If the health condition linked to the terrorist attacks is the immediate cause of death, an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death, then the VCF will generally award wrongful death compensation, the DOJ says on its website.

Including COVID-19 under the wrongful death provision is a “huge relief to the 9/11 community,” many of whom have respiratory diseases or cancers linked to toxins and are unable to fight off the coronavirus, said Michael Barasch, a New York attorney who has represented thousands of 9/11 victims.

Mr. Barasch, managing partner at Barasch McGarry law firm, told The Washington Times this week that he has lost more than 100 clients to COVID-19. The lawyer has represented 20,000 people, or about a third of the total 9/11 community. An estimated 275 people who developed health conditions from 9/11 have died from COVID-19, a number Mr. Barasch described as likely “grossly undercounted.”

Those approved for a wrongful death claim under the VCF will be awarded $250,000. The DOJ posted the clarification to the wrongful death provision last week.

• Shen Wu Tan can be reached at stan@washingtontimes.com.

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