Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

What are the workers' compensation death benefits in NY?

Employees across the nation face unpleasant events in the workplace. Some of this could seriously impact their lives, such as a serious accident. A workplace accident can leave an individual with significant injuries, requiring him or her to incur extensive medical expenses and lost wages. As burdensome as this can be, it pales in comparison to the losses suffered by family members that lost a loved one in an on-the-job accident. In addition to the emotional pain and suffering they may face, these surviving family members can face extensive financial losses that can affect them both short and long-term.

Perhaps the one piece of good news for these families is that they may be able to recover death benefits through the workers' compensation system. Under New York law, surviving spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents and even grandchildren may be eligible to receive death benefits depending on the circumstances at hand. These benefits can include funeral costs and lost wages. However, the amount actually recovered varies depending on the circumstances at hand.

For example, a surviving spouse who has no children can receive up $56,000 in addition to $887 per week. If the spouse remarries, then he or she may receive a lump sum payment of $97,000. When a deceased individual leaves behind a spouse and children, then the spouse will receive the $56,000 payment along with $488 per week. The children then receive $400 per week, but that amount must be split equally amongst all children.

Death benefits can provide significant financial relief to those who lose a loved one as a result of an injury or illness suffered while on the job. However, succeeding on one of these claims is never guaranteed, as employers and insurance companies will often do everything they can find evidence to support a claim denial. In these instances, and cases where the exact cause of death is not 100 percent clear, a surviving family will need to present strong evidence to support their claim. Oftentimes, an experienced legal professional can help with this process.

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