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Death Benefits

Understanding a Workers' Compensation Case

When someone is hurt on the job or suffers from an illness related to their occupation, he or she may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits in the form of medical care, temporary disability, and/or permanent disability payments. If a worker dies as a result of a work injury or employment-related illness, those left behind may be able to seek death benefits from the deceased workers’ unemployment insurance carrier. Computing the exact amount of benefits due to the survivors of a worker who was killed on the job or died from an illness caused by his or her work can be a complex undertaking and it is advised that families speak to a Rockland County workers’ compensation lawyer. At the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., we help families seek the benefits to which they are legally entitled following a loved one’s work-related death.

The amount of benefits payable in a particular case depends on several factors. First, did the deceased worker leave behind dependents, such as a spouse, children, or parents who depended upon him or her for financial support? If not, benefits may still be payable, albeit in a lesser amount, to the employee’s nondependent family members. The amount due also depends on, among other things, the amount of money that the worker was earning at the time of his or her death and during the year prior, the number of family members who are entitled to seek compensation, and whether the employee died instantly or whether his or her death came months or years after the initial injury or illness.

The Process of Filing a Claim Following a New York Worker’s Death

While each case is unique insofar as the determination of exact death benefits is concerned, there are some universal requirements in these types of cases. First, those seeking to collect benefits following a Rockland County or other New York employee’s death due to an on-the-job injury or illness must file a claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. The family has only a limited time to do this, so it is important to act promptly. Supportive documentation, such as proof of death by the worker’s physician, will also be required. If the family seeks payment of funeral and burial expenses, there must be proof of these amounts as well. (Note that funeral and burial expenses are capped at a certain dollar figure depending upon the worker’s county of residence at the time of his or her death.)

Generally speaking, death benefits, payable through the workers’ compensation system, are the only compensation to which a deceased employee’s family may be entitled (other than a modest Social Security death benefit payment and life insurance if the employee had such a policy). However, in some circumstances, such as when a worker dies from a work-related product liability injury or perishes in a car accident while performing his or her job, there may be the possibility of a traditional negligence-based wrongful death lawsuit. In such cases, the family may have to pay back a portion of the death benefits to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier due to a legal principle known as “subrogation,” and the proceeds will be divided according to the beneficiary designations under New York wrongful death laws rather than under the workers’ compensation laws.

Contact a Helpful Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Rockland County

Hiring an attorney may seem like a daunting task, but it is very important to speak to a seasoned legal professional if you have lost a loved one due to a work injury or illness. At the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., we regularly assist clients in Rockland County and the Greater New York area (including New City, White Plains, Yonkers, New York City, Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens) as they assert work-related claims. We also handle nursing home negligence cases from Suffolk to Ulster Counties; dental malpractice cases in Rockland, Westchester, and Orange Counties; and Social Security Disability cases throughout the nation. You can reach our offices through this website or by dialing 845-708-5900, or you may contact Valerie on her cell phone at 845-598-8253.

Client Reviews
Choosing the right attorney can make a world of difference. I was lucky to find Valerie. I found her to be diligent in all that she does and highly competent in dealing with insurance companies. Excellent work! Steven F.
Thank you for your help Valerie. I truly mean it. I know first-hand how you and your entire firm have always worked above and beyond to take care of your clients. Thanks! Theresa D.
The entire Board of Directors and I would like to congratulate you on the professional manner in which you have enhanced, not only your own professional reputation, but the reputation of all your brethren. Congratulations and best wishes from all of us. Rockland County Bar Association
Today our office sent you a person who is looking to utilize your expertise. I just wanted you to know that it is comforting to be able to recommend someone who has the ability to meet the needs of the people we entrust to you. Davis and Davis