The spouses and families of workers that are killed in workplace accidents have automatic coverage, or indemnity benefits, through Workers’ Compensation. A fatality is considered work-related if it is due to a specific injury or occupational disease or condition. However, the amount of compensation may not be sufficient to help a family readjust to the economic realities of life without the deceased family member’s salary.
If it is determined that the worker’s injury and subsequent death was the result of a compensable injury, the surviving spouse and any minor children or other dependents as defined by law, are entitled to cash benefits on a weekly basis. The amount of compensation is equal to two thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for the year before the accident occurred. This weekly compensation amount should not exceed the weekly maximum amount regardless of the number of dependents.
If there are no surviving family members such as children, spouses, grandchildren, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and parents that are entitled to compensation, the estate of the deceased worker may be entitled to a lump sum payment of $50,000. There may be additional funds for funeral expenses. In fatalities that occurred after June 8, 2016, the amount awarded for funeral expenses increased to $12,500 in Metropolitan New York counties and $10,500 in other counties. A surviving spouse receives benefits for the remainder of their lives unless they remarry. In that case, the spouse receives a lump sum of two years of benefits.
When an unexpected tragedy occurs, a family can be overwhelmed with grief. The emotional pain and suffering can feel intolerable, and healing from this type of tragedy may take months and even years. If the deceased family member was the sole or primary wage earner in the family, the grief and pain is compounded by the realities of an uncertain future. The best course of action is to consult with an attorney who specializes in workplace and other personal injury and workplace fatality cases.
The experienced New York workers compensation lawyers at Jacoby and Meyers LLP have been helping their clients receive the compensation they deserve for decades. We understand that along with the highest quality legal counsel, you should be treated with compassion and kindness. We have been helping our clients receive the compensation they need and deserve for decades and we can help you too.