U.S. state-sponsored terrorism fund claims Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran’s government has engaged a pattern of conduct to sponsor acts of both domestic and international terrorism. With the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the country has provided training to terrorists who have subsequently carried out attacks around the world.
The rogue nation has supplied fuel, missiles, equipment, and training to various terrorist groups and has harbored fugitive members of terror groups, including members of Al Qaeda. Iran has provided financing to terrorists for three major wars in which the U.S. has been involved, including the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. It has also financed terrorist groups in Yemen and elsewhere throughout the Middle East.
Many U.S. service members have suffered serious injuries or have been killed as a result of Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Iraq War veterans and veterans of these other wars who have been injured by an explosive formed penetrator or an improvised explosive device may be eligible to recover compensation from the United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund. An experienced injury lawyer might help injured veterans and the families of soldiers who have been killed because of state-sponsored terrorism to recover compensation for their losses.
What is the United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund?
The Justice for United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Act was passed in 2016 as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law established a fund for U.S. servicemembers, their families, and people who were abducted and held during the Iranian hostage crisis to allow for the recovery of compensation for their losses caused by injuries from an improvised explosive device or an explosive formed penetrator device in wars that were partially funded through state-sponsored terrorism.
The law is codified in 34 U.S. Code § 20144. It allows Iraq War veterans and other veterans who have filed lawsuits against Iran or other state sponsors of terrorism and have won judgments in a U.S. District Court to apply for compensation from the fund. Individual claimants may be eligible to recover up to $20 million from the fund. If the family members also have eligible claims, they are limited to an aggregate of $35 million in compensation, depending on the value of the judgments that they are awarded in their court cases.
Injuries from incidents of international terrorism
Thousands of U.S. soldiers have suffered injuries as a result of an IED or an EFP. Some of the injuries that may entitle veterans to compensation include the following types:
- Shrapnel injury
- Traumatic brain injury or TBI
These types of severe injuries may cause the victims to suffer from a permanently reduced quality of life. A traumatic brain injury or TBI may require a veteran to have round-the-clock care for the rest of his or her life. A shrapnel injury or an amputation may cause permanent disfigurement and disability, and PTSD may prevent soldiers from obtaining and finding employment while harming their relationships with others around them.
Where does the money in the fund come from?
The U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund was established and funded by multiple banks that funneled money to Iran that was subsequently used to sponsor acts of terrorism. Each of these banks has been found guilty or have pleaded guilty to conspiring with the Iranian government to provide it access to billions of dollars. The Iranian government is accused of subsequently using the money to finance acts of terrorism during the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Many U.S. soldiers were catastrophically injured because of these terroristic acts.
In addition to the banks, a number of companies that violated the Iranian sanctions have also had to pay into the fund. These banks and companies have paid the civil penalties that they received in their criminal cases into the fund for the victims of state-sponsored terrorism. The USVSST has a list on its website of companies and banks that have paid money into the fund during the fiscal years of 2018 and 2019. Some of the foreign banks that have pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and that have contributed to the fund include the following:
- Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Barclays PLC
- Credit Suisse AG
- Credit Suisse Asset Management LTD
- BNP Paribas A.B.
- HSBC Holdings PLC
- Commerzbank AG
- Standard Chartered Bank PLC
Because of the actions of these banks and companies that have violated the U.S. Iranian sanctions, the country has been able to finance terrorist acts that have caused the injuries and deaths of many soldiers.
Rights of injured veterans and families to sue
Under 18 U.S. Code § 2333, a U.S. citizen who has suffered an injury or the estate or family of a person who was killed as a result of state-sponsored terrorism are allowed to file lawsuits against any person or company that has aided or abetted a state sponsor of terrorism or who has provided substantial assistance to such a country that allows it to further acts of terrorism.
When victims and families secure judgments against the banks or companies that have provided substantial assistance to a state sponsor of terrorism, they are able to apply for compensation from the United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund.
How much compensation might be available?
The amount of compensation to which you might be entitled will depend on the facts of your case and the extent and nature of your injury. Each case is decided on its merits by the judge or jury that hears it. Injuries that are severe and that require ongoing care may lead to more compensation than those that healed after surgery.
Some of the types of damages that might be awarded in a court case include the following:
- Past medical expenses
- Expected future medical expenses
- Past income losses
- Reductions in the future abiity to earn income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium for spouses
- Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
- Lost rights of inheritance
Importance of acting quickly
It is important for victims of EFP or IED explosions to act quickly to hold those who are responsible liable for their actions. The rising tensions with the Iranian government could lead to the cessation of funds being placed in the fund. People who are potentially eligible for compensation should meet with experienced personal injury lawyers to learn about the rights that they might have. An attorney may help the victims to file and litigate lawsuits. If they win judgments, the lawyer may then help his or her clients with applying for compensation from the United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund. To learn more, contact our law firm today to schedule your consultation about your potential claim and right to recovery.