The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 left the nation reeling. While citizens across the United States processed just what had happened, a select group of brave rescue workers and disaster response personnel immediately set to work to save those still in the ruined buildings. While these courageous first responders went to work to save others, individuals went to work to protect them and reward their sacrifice. Among them was attorney Paul Napoli. Recognizing the enormity of the situation and bearing witness to the terrible events himself, Napoli understood that he could give back to these first responders by ensuring they were cared for when they in turn needed rescuing.
What’s In A Name
When the World Trade Center towers began to fall, many ran away from the site, but one man ran toward the disaster. James Zadroga was the first New York City Police Department officer to participate in the first response rescue efforts at ground zero.
Zadroga came from a family dedicated to helping others. His father was a police officer, so naturally, James followed in his footsteps. In 1992, Zadroga first joined the NYPD, quickly being promoted to detective in 1999. During his career, he earned 31 medals for excellence and his commitment to the city of New York. Finishing his night shift, Zadroga halted his commute home and instead joined other first responders in responding to the terrorist attack. In his search to find survivors, Zadroga would spend nearly 450 hours in and around ground zero.
A man in good health prior to 9/11, Zadroga soon began to experience a harsh cough. By 2004, Zadroga was forced to retire from the NYPD and had been diagnosed with acute silicosis. Despite being awarded a settlement from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Zadroga’s health continued to decline, and he passed away in January of 2006. Doctors determined that Zadroga had died from a “history of exposure to toxic fumes and dust,” undoubtedly linked to the incredible number of hours he had spent at the World Trade Center disaster site.
The Push For The Zadroga Act
Zadroga’s death sparked a loud dialogue about the impact that the 9/11 attack had had on more than just the deceased victims. There was a heightened concern over the impact that the rescue operations had on first responders. The connection to the toxic dust at ground zero made it apparent that there was not adequate enough support for these first responders. Politicians began to take action, and that August, New York Governor signed the Zadroga Act that expanded health and death benefits to 9/11 first responders. Soon after, Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation at the federal level that would again expand coverage and options for those affected at the site. This was the 2009 James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. After passing in the House, prominent New Yorkers, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Paul Napoli, lobbied the Senate to do the same.
Congressional Resistance To The Zadroga Act
But shockingly, the bill was met with resistance at the Senate level. In December of 2010, Senate Republicans launched a filibuster against the bill. Citing concerns over the cost of the bill and where it would receive its funding, Republican Senators refused to let the bill move any further. After public outcry, led by individuals, like Paul Napoli, and a searing public rebuke by high-profile media personality Jon Stewart, Congress agreed to pass the bill.
Signed into law on January 2nd, 2011 by President Barack Obama, the Zadroga act extended the World Trade Center Health Program Fund and allowed those who were affected by the dust and chemicals of ground zero and their families to continue to file for compensation under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The passage of the Zadroga Act was a major victory on behalf of those who risked their lives to serve the people of New York.
The Work Of Paul Napoli
Thrilled by the passage of the act, Paul Napoli and his law firm immediately began accepting clients and helped them to file claims and navigate the complex wording of the Act. Today, Napoli continues to help those who have suffered due to exposure to the toxic dust and chemicals present at the World Trade Center disaster. Through his efforts, Napoli and his firm have helped responders and survivors receive the medical monitoring, treatment, and cash awards that they so rightly deserve. Napoli has worked tirelessly for these survivors and has worked for more than 11,000 first responders and other rescue workers. All told, his work has earned them an estimated $816 million dollars.
His extensive work as well as his personal investment with the survivors of 9/11, have earned Napoli national attention and acclaim. Widely considered to be an authority on the Act and the issues surrounding September 11th, Napoli has routinely appeared in media stories, and a variety of publications to speak about his work and his involvement with the survivors, including publications like City of Dust.
Thanks to Napoli’s insight into the Zadroga Act, the firm is ready to aggressively represent you and your interests. If you’re a survivor or first responder to the 9/11 attack and feel you are eligible for cash awards or treatment from the Zadroga Act, get a free case evaluation with the Napoli Shkolnik PLLC firm.