David Perecman Weighs in on Insurance Coverage Denied to 9/11 Responders with Rare Cancer

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New York personal injury lawyer David Perecman of The Perecman Firm supports a rule amendment regarding insurance coverage for people who participated in the 9/11 rescue, recovery and cleanup operations.

New York personal injury lawyer

The Perecman Firm

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health should not have prioritized their concerns regarding false negatives and erred on the side of insurance companies.

Recent data from the World Trade Center Health Program said there are nearly 3,000 cases of cancer among firefighters police officers, contractors and civilians who worked or lived near the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011. A number of these responders are being denied health insurance coverage because their cancers were diagnosed too soon, reported CNN News (9.11.14).

One of the cancers being diagnosed is oropharyngeal cancer. Four years is the minimum latency period that was set for oropharyngeal cancers, meaning the minimum time period needed to prove a connection between exposure to toxins at ground zero and a diagnosis of that type of cancer. If the cancer was diagnosed in less than four years, the insurance companies are denying coverage, CNN News said.

In one case reported by CNN News, a former New York police officer and first-responder who provided security after the attacks was diagnosed with stage IV oropharyngeal cancer three years and 10 months after his work at ground zero. The eight week gap left John Meyers ineligible for cancer coverage or compensation.

Determining an accurate latent window is a complex process partially because there is very little data on cancers developed after sucking in dust, soot, chemicals, asbestos, pulverized cement, smoke and other health hazards from collapsed buildings, reported CNN News.

According to CNN News, some people believe four years is likely a “fair timeline for developing oropharyngeal cancer, even considering the unique circumstances surrounding 9/11.” Other people, like Myers and Attorney at Law David Perecman, disagree with the minimum latency period that was set.

“Thousands of people participated in the 9/11 rescue, recovery and cleanup operations and often they worked for months without the right protective equipment,” said Perecman.

Advocates for responders say they will petition the institute to amend its rules regarding coverage for oropharyngeal cancer, reported CNN News.

“The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health should not have prioritized their concerns regarding false negatives and erred on the side of insurance companies,” said Perecman.

Besides oropharyngeal cancers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, determined the latency periods for 57 other cancers, said CNN News.

The National Cancer Institute described oropharyngeal cancer as a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat behind the mouth. It includes the back one-third of the tongue, the soft palate, the walls of the throat, and the tonsils.

“As a nation, we promised to never forget the attacks, now let us not forget those still battling serious 9/11-related illnesses and injuries,” said Perecman.

The CNN News story is “9/11 responders with rare cancer denied insurance coverage.”

For more than 30 years, the personal injury lawyers at The Perecman Firm in New York have aggressively helped individuals and-or their families obtain compensation in New York. Contact The Perecman Firm at 212-977-7033.

About David Perecman and The Perecman Firm, PLLC:

For the past 30 years, the New York construction accident, medical malpractice, auto accident, personal injury, and civil rights violation lawyers at The Perecman Firm, PLLC have handled all types of New York accident in the workplace cases. David Perecman, founder of the Firm, has been recognized for his achievements as an Honoree in the National Law Journal's Hall of Fame, in New York Magazine's "The Best Lawyers in America" and The New York Times Magazine "New York Super Lawyers, Metro Edition" for the years 2007-2010. The prestigious U.S. News & World Report ranks The Perecman Firm among the top 20 personal injury firms in New York City for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

The Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients. Among the more recent victories, Mr. Perecman won a $15 million verdict** for a construction accident (Index 112370/03) Supreme Court, New York County, a $5.35 million dollar verdict*** for an automobile accident (Index 2749/04) Supreme Court, Kings County, and a $40 million dollar structured settlement for medical malpractice (Index 2146/03)****Supreme Court, Kings County.

The Perecman Firm serves Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester, Upstate NY, Morris County, and Rockland County.

**later settled while on appeal for $7.940 million    
*** later settled for $3.5 million
**** total potential payout

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Sherry Ishak
The Perecman Firm
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