Get Help Receiving Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits After the Loss of a Loved One
When misfortune strikes in the workplace resulting in the loss of life, there are few words that can express the inconsolable sadness felt by all those involved. We know this is a very difficult time, and planning for the future seems impossible in light of the present tragedy.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC are here to help you in every way we can so you can grieve your loss while we help ease the financial burdens you face.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job and also provides benefits to dependents of workers who die as a result of job-related injuries. However, filing claims for workers’ compensation benefits is a complicated process, and making mistakes can cause a claim to be denied. In addition, workers’ comp is an insurance program; and both employers who are faced with increased premiums and insurance companies who are out for profit want to pay out as little as possible. As a result, they tend to make it difficult to receive benefits and may deny claims on a technicality or claim the death was not even work-related. To deal with these hurdles, it can help to have a workers’ compensation lawyer familiar with workers’ compensation death benefits on your side to fight for your rights to fair compensation.
Our Kaplan Lawyers, PC workers’ compensation lawyers are aware of the tactics used by employers and insurance companies and know how to combat them to get you the benefits you deserve. You don’t have to go through this alone. We offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss the circumstances of your individual situation and show you what we can do to help. Call us today at (516) 399-2364 to get started.
How Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help You Get Death Benefits
Our compassionate attorneys understand that after the death of a loved one, grieving family members have much to deal with and are likely to become confused and overwhelmed when dealing with the bureaucracy and forms necessary to get death benefits. When you hire us, we will make sure everything is done correctly from the start to result in a successful claim. If a claim has already been denied, we know how to make appeals to fight denials. We can help by:
- Making sure all procedures are followed and forms are filled out correctly, in a timely manner
- Investigating your case, interviewing eyewitnesses and first responders
- Gathering evidence to help prove your claim, such as videos from surveillance cameras
- Obtaining all relevant work and medical records and accident reports
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Representing you at any hearings with the Workers’ Compensation Board
- Building and preparing your case and arguing on your behalf if a claim goes to trial.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Death Benefits?
Does workers’ compensation cover death benefits? In the state of New York it does. Recognizing that the loss of a loved one due to a workplace accident will create a gap in family earnings, New York workers’ compensation law covers death benefits if a work-related injury causes death under NY WCL §16. A death can be considered work-related if it is due to a specific injury or due to an occupational disease or condition. Programs are administered by a New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
New York law allows death claims to be filed through the state’s workers’ compensation system by family survivors of all qualified working employees. The surviving spouse, children, parents, or estate may file for the death benefit, which includes indemnity compensation benefits and costs of funeral expenses, according to a schedule set by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
If there are no surviving spouse or children, N.Y. Work. Comp. Law §16(4-b) provides a payment of $50,000 to the surviving parents of a legally employed worker, plus a maximum of $6,000 allocated for funeral expenses. If there are no surviving parents, payment goes to the deceased person’s estate.
In addition, in most cases, spousal benefits are also available to unmarried partners living together who have no children.
Don’t delay. Call Kaplan Law today to move forward with getting your benefits at 516 399-2364.
How is Workers’ Compensation Calculated in Case of Death?
The Amount of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Varies, Depending on the Situation.
The amount of workers’ compensation death benefits is calculated based on the deceased worker’s average weekly wages for the preceding year. Benefits do not cover the deceased worker’s salary in full, but are calculated based on the person’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW). For purposes of workers’ compensation, the AWW is the worker’s total earnings from the previous year divided by 52. In cases where the worker does not have a year’s prior wages to review, the State Workers’ Comp Board determines the benefit based on a comparable worker’s wages within the industry.
Understanding how workers’ compensation is calculated in the case of a death means knowing how death benefits are allocated. Different beneficiaries are entitled to different amounts, depending on their relationship to the deceased and the existence of other possible beneficiaries. In the case of a death, workers’ compensation is calculated as follows:
- Spouses — The widow or widower of the deceased is generally entitled to two-thirds of their spouse’s lost wages, up to the statutory maximum — if there is solely a surviving spouse with no minor children and no children who are either blind or physically disabled. Generally, the surviving spouse receives benefits for life, except in situations where they remarry. In case of remarriage, the spouse receives a lump-sum of two years of benefits [Y. Work. Comp. Law § 16(1-b)], after which benefits cease.
- Children — If the deceased has left behind minor children, they, too, are entitled to benefits. If there are minor children in addition to the surviving spouse, the two-thirds benefit rate is divided between the surviving spouse and all minor children. In situations where there is more than one surviving child, the surviving spouse receives 36.667% of the weekly benefit rate and the children divide the remaining 30% equally. Surviving children’s benefits will cease once they turn eighteen, or twenty-three years old for full-time students enrolled in an accredited institution. [Y. Work. Comp. Law § 16(2-a)]. Children who are dependent on the decedent at the time of the accident and are permanently totally blind or disabled may receive benefits at any age.
- Other dependents — If there are no surviving spouse or children, other dependents including surviving parents, siblings, grandchildren or grandparents who were dependents of the deceased employee at the time of the accident may qualify for benefits. Siblings’ and grandchildren’s benefits are subject to the same age and education conditions as children would be.
Death of a Claimant with an Existing Condition
There are situations when those who have been previously injured or who have suffered a job-related illness and are receiving benefits will die from their condition. Here, the next of kin must file a Form C-62 with the Board, in addition to a Form C-64 being submitted from the deceased’s treating physician. The purpose of the doctor-submitted C-64 form is to affirm that the employee’s death was attributed to the condition associated with the compensation claim. In addition, a form known as a C-65 must be completed by the funeral director associated with the disposition of the employee’s remains.
Contact Us for Help If a Loved One Has Died at Work
At this difficult and tragic time, you are entitled to the representation of an attorney to help you get New York workers’ compensation benefits. Except for situations where someone dies due to intoxication on the job, there is no need to prove fault to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If a claim is disputed for reasons such as whether the injury is actually work-related, an attorney can plead your case and have a judge rule on the matter.
The goal of workers’ compensation is to eliminate the need for lengthy and costly civil litigations, such as wrongful death actions. However, there are some situations where you may be able to move beyond workers’ comp benefits and bring a wrongful death claim that will provide compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Those damages include loss of support, voluntary assistance, and possible inheritance, as well as medical expenses incidental to a death, and funeral expenses. An example would be if the death was caused by an outside contractor who ran over a worker while on the job.
When you contact Kaplan Lawyers, our attorneys will examine your situation to see if a wrongful death case should be considered.
Get Workers’ Comp Death Benefits Even When a Death is Not While at Work
Also, a worker does not have to die on the job for survivors to have a claim. If the death can be clearly anticipated after the injury that occurs or the illness contracted at work, beneficiaries can seek compensation for an anticipated death. An example of this can involve contracting a serious illness after being exposed to toxic substances on the job, or suffering a catastrophic brain injury from a workplace accident that places a worker in a coma, on life support, with no hope of recovery.
At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we realize how tough it is to focus on legal issues during an emotional time like losing a loved one. This is why you are urged to call our workers’ compensation lawyers so we can relieve you of some of the duties arising from your emotional ordeal. No words can adequately express our sympathy, but we are here to serve you and assist your family in any way we can.
Contact us at 516-399-2364 to arrange a free consultation as soon as you are able. No fees are charged if we’re not successful in securing the benefits you deserve.