Construction in New York City is a dangerous trade. According to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), construction deaths accounted for 22% of all workers’ deaths in 2019. While a fatal construction site accident is a tragedy, the state has labor laws to protect workers, which means the families of fatal construction accident victims can pursue compensation for their loss of life.
Navigating these laws alone can be stressful, especially if insurance companies, employers, or other parties refute their obligation. A knowledgeable and experienced construction accident attorney who knows New York’s labor laws is the best path toward recovering the maximum compensation you and your family deserve.
If your loved one died in a construction accident in New York, you are likely entitled to compensation through the state’s worker compensation laws. In some instances, you may also file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation applies to more than just those injured on a job site. A deceased’s surviving spouse, minor children, or other dependents can be entitled to weekly cash benefits through survivor’s benefits. The amount equals two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for 52 weeks before the accident. Those benefits last for life, or until the spouse remarries or the children become adults.
That amount cannot exceed the weekly maximum of the accident’s established date. If there is no spouse, children, or dependents to receive the compensation, the deceased worker’s parents or estate may be entitled to $50,000.
Funeral or memorial expenses for a work-related death could be covered under workers’ compensation. In most counties, the costs cannot exceed $10,500. In Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester, the full funeral or memorial expense is $12,500.
To qualify for survivors’ benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation laws, you’ll need to file an affidavit for death benefits; proof of death by a physician in last attendance on the deceased form; and evidence of burial and funeral expenses by the undertaker form.
Like other personal injury lawsuits stemming from construction accidents, a wrongful death lawsuit would hold third parties responsible for the negligence or intentional acts that killed your loved one. Those third parties could include site owners, general contractors, site managers, subcontractors, engineers, or anyone driving equipment whose operation caused your loved one to die.
New York law dictates that the deceased worker’s ‘executor’ or personal representative of their estate file their wrongful death suit. Unless a family member is the executor of the deceased’s will, they cannot bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court.
Like other personal injury lawsuits, damages can be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit. These losses include things like funeral and burial expenses, reasonable health care expenses related to the deceased’s final injury, any financial support the dead would have given to support their family, the value of support and services lost, the survivors’ lost inheritance, pain and suffering, and any interest on the damages award.
Despite a few exceptions, wrongful death lawsuits must be typically filed within two years of your loved one’s death to fall within the statute of limitations.
Losing a loved one because of negligence in the workplace is a tragedy. While nothing can replace what you lost, the financial impact from their death can be daunting. Having an experienced fatal construction accident lawyer on your side can ensure your rights are respected and improve the odds of a successful survivors’ benefits application or wrongful death lawsuit.
The New York fatal construction accident attorneys with Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. are here to lift this burden. If your family has a wrongful death claim, we will guide you through every step, from investigating the incident, hiring expert witnesses, and conducting settlement negotiations.
“I retained Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek for a serious personal injury case. They were very professional and managed to obtain a settlement for me that far exceeded my expectations. I would strongly recommend this firm for anyone’s legal needs.”