Construction workers are exposed every day to hazardous conditions, heights and heavy machinery and equipment. Workplace accidents are an unfortunate yet common occurrence on construction sites. Fatal accidents are less common, but they do occur. In New York City alone in 2013, there were 17 fatalities in the construction industry, equating to 30 percent of all workplace fatalities in the city that year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
No matter what circumstances an accident occurs under, dealing with a death that could have been prevented is never easy. A family’s grief is compounded by financial stress if the deceased construction worker was the family breadwinner.
Surviving family members of a construction worker who has been killed while working on a construction site may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation survivor benefits from your loved one’s employer. In some cases, a family may receive workers’ compensation benefits and also may seek compensation through a third party wrongful death claim. There are times when the sheer disregard for safety of a responsible party in a construction accident cannot go ignored. The family may be entitled to bring a wrongful death case against a company other than the worker’s employer that was responsible for the accident.
If you think you may have the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit after a construction accident, you should trust your case and your loved one’s memory to Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. Our New York City injury attorneys are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are more fatal work injuries in the construction industry than in any other U.S. industry. Of 4,405 worker fatalities in 2013, nearly one in five was due to a construction accident.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says the “fatal four” leading causes of deaths in the construction industry are responsible for more than half of all construction accident deaths. The fatal four types of accidents are:
The General Duty Clause of the federal OSHA requires that employers provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Employers can be cited by OSHA for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized hazard and they do not take reasonable steps to prevent or abate the hazard.
In some cases, employers may be held liable in a civil case for negligence that led to an employee’s death. A deceased construction worker’s family may seek compensation to cover expenses related to their loss, including money for the loss of a breadwinner’s wages, and the loss of a husband’s, father’s, wife’s or mother’s companionship.
If a construction worker in your immediate family has died in a workplace accident, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation survivor benefits. After a worker has died from a compensable injury, the surviving spouse and/or minor children are entitled to weekly cash benefits. If there are no spouse and dependent children, then grandchildren, grandparents, siblings or parents who were dependent on the deceased worker may be entitled to benefits.
The total amount available, regardless of the number of survivors, is equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for the year before the accident. Funeral expenses may also be paid, up to $6,000 in Metropolitan New York counties, and up to $5,000 in other counties in New York State.
Surviving family members may also seek compensation from other parties responsible for a construction worker’s death in a “third party” lawsuit. Such a claim may seek restitution from subcontractors or vendors, manufacturers or distributors of faulty equipment, the construction site’s property owner, engineers or architects responsible for site plans, or others if it can be shown that their negligence contributed to the fatal accident.
A third party lawsuit may also seek money that workers’ compensation does not pay, including payments for pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship.
Any fatal construction accident should be independently investigated by a construction accident attorney knowledgeable about the construction industry in New York. Hecht Kleeger & Damashek can provide the knowledge and experience necessary to investigate the circumstance of a construction worker’s death to help ensure that you obtain all of the compensation you are due, including any compensation available through a third-party claim.
The lawyers of Hecht Kleeger & Damashek have over 75 years of combined experience holding responsible parties, whether they are employers, manufacturers of defective products or negligent fellow employees, accountable. You can rest assured knowing that our aggressive yet empathetic lawyers are working on resolving your case in a manner that ensures your financial recovery and your ability to move forward with your life.
Contact us today for a free, no obligation discussion of your accident and the legal options available to you.