Construction is one of the most hazardous industries for workers. When a construction accident results in death, it can cause tremendous pain and financial hardship for family members left behind. Surviving family members may be eligible for death benefits under workers’ compensation. If the actions of a negligent party contributed to a loved one’s death, survivors may also be entitled to file a wrongful death claim for damages.
What Death Benefits Are Available Under Workers’ Compensation?
Survivors are entitled to benefits under New York workers’ compensation law in the event of a fatal, work-related accident. The surviving spouse, children, parents, or estate of the decedent may be entitled to these benefits. The employer or its insurance carrier is also responsible for funeral expenses up to $6,000. Workers’ comp death benefits are paid out as follows:
- If the decedent has no surviving dependents, the parents receive a sum of $50,000.
- If there are no surviving parents, that sum is paid to the decedent’s estate.
- A surviving spouse receives benefits for the remainder of his or her life, except if he or she remarries, in which case the spouse receives a lump sum of two-years of benefits.
- If there is a surviving spouse with no minor children (and no blind or physically disabled children), the spouse receives 66.667% of the average weekly wage of the deceased at the date of death, up to the statutory maximum rate.
- If there is a surviving spouse and minor children, the benefit is divided among the spouse and all the children.
- Benefits to surviving children cease when the child turns 18, or 23 if a full-time student.
When Can Surviving Family Members Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
Construction workers in New York City have the protection of various safety and liability laws. Unlike workers in most states, they can sue employers and coworkers if they have been seriously injured. The right to sue passes to a worker’s surviving family members in cases of fatal injury. If negligence of a property owner, subcontractor, equipment manufacturer, or other third party caused a fatal accident, that party can be sued for wrongful death.
What Steps Should You Take If You Have Lost a Loved One in a Construction Accident?
If someone you love was killed in a tragic construction accident, you may be overwhelmed with grief and not in a state of mind to deal with a workers’ compensation claim or a wrongful death lawsuit. The best thing to do is to consult with an experienced New York personal injury attorney. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to assist you with:
- Filing a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits: You and your family are entitled to these funds.
- Investigating your loved one’s accident to determine fault and liability: We leave no stone unturned and hold every negligent party accountable.
- Meeting filing requirements and deadlines: We can handle the procedural requirements for both your workers’ compensation claim and your wrongful death claim if you file one.
- Negotiating skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf for the compensation you are entitled to receive.
- Fighting for your rights in court, if necessary.
Why Choose Us?
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, we believe in investing in our clients’ cases. Our successful record speaks for itself. Our New York personal injury attorneys have been awarded membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and listed among New York Super Lawyers®. We offer a free consultation. If you have lost a loved one in a tragic construction accident, call us at (212) 986-7353 to find out how we can help.