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Looking at death benefits entitlement in New York, P.1

Last time, we began looking at a construction accident that occurred last year in Coney Island. As we noted, the owner of the construction company now faces manslaughter charges for allowing safety violations which contributed to a worker’s death.

Although the surviving family members in this case are not living in the United States, ordinarily the surviving family of a deceased worker would have the right to seek workers’ compensation death benefits, and possibly to pursue litigation against third parties who are liable for the accident. Only in rare cases would the surviving family members of a deceased worker have the ability to sue the employer for the death of a worker—though failure to obtain workers’ compensation is one such circumstance. 

For surviving family members of a deceased worker, having a firm understanding of their options for compensation is important. Most of the time, death benefits are going to be the most certain form of compensation for the survivors of a deceased worker. Under New York’s workers’ compensation system, death benefits are only available to surviving family members of a deceased worker when the death resulted from a compensable injury. To be considered compensable, an injury must arise out of and in the course of employment.”

If it is determined that the injury is compensable, the deceased worker’s surviving spouse and/or minor children are eligible for an amount of cash equal to two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the worker in the year preceding the fatal accident. Next time, we’ll continue looking at death benefits under New York workers’ compensation law.