Construction workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions in New York. Many different hazards create the risk of serious and fatal injuries, which is why construction has one of the highest fatality rates of all occupations.
If you have lost a loved one in a construction accident, you and your family may be entitled to financial compensation. You should speak with a construction accident lawyer about your legal rights promptly.
In New York, eligible family members can seek workers’ compensation benefits following a construction worker’s death. These are referred to as “survivor benefits” under New York’s workers’ compensation law.
There are two main categories of survivor benefits: (i) cash benefits and (ii) benefits for funeral or memorial expenses.
After a fatal construction accident in New York, eligible family members can obtain cash benefits. In most cases, these benefits are paid on a weekly basis.
For weekly cash benefits, the amount paid is determined based on “the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to the accident.” Benefits are paid at two-thirds of this amount, subject to a weekly maximum.
For deaths occurring between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, the weekly maximum is $966.78. The weekly maximum increased to $1,063.05 for work-related deaths occurring on or after July 1, 2021.
Spouses and children are eligible to receive weekly cash benefits. If a construction worker only has a spouse at the time of his or her death, the spouse is entitled to receive weekly cash benefits and a two-year lump sum payment upon remarriage. If a construction worker has children and no spouse at the time of his or her death, the children are entitled to equal shares of the weekly cash benefits owed.
If a construction worker is married and has children at the time of his or her death, the construction worker’s spouse is entitled to a weekly cash benefit equal to 36.67 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage during the year prior to the fatal accident. The spouse is also entitled to a two-year lump sum payment upon remarriage. The worker’s children are entitled to equal shares of 30 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage – accounting for the total two-thirds weekly cash benefit.
If a construction worker dies on the job and does not have a spouse or children, then other family members are eligible to receive cash benefits as follows:
New York’s workers’ compensation law also provides benefits to cover the expenses of a funeral or memorial following a fatal construction site accident. These benefits are paid to anyone who incurs these expenses, or to the funeral service provider.
In the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester, benefits for funeral and memorial expenses are subject to a cap of $12,500. In all other counties, benefits for funeral and memorial expenses are capped at $10,500.
In addition to applying for survivor benefits through workers’ compensation, families may have additional options for recovering financial compensation. For example, if negligence was a factor in your loved one’s death, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
If an individual, company, or party other than your loved one’s employer is responsible for his or her death, then your family may be able to hire a lawyer to pursue a claim for damages. Some examples of cases in which families may be able to seek wrongful death damages include:
Workers and their families are often unaware of their full legal options after an on-the-job accident. Death benefits cover many of the financial losses associated with the loss of a loved one, but they will not fully compensate you for all damages.
Dreyer Boyajian LLP has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in construction accident claims. We look beyond workers’ comp to pursue all avenues for recovery on your behalf.
Please call Dreyer Boyajian LLP at (518) 463-7784 today for a free review of your case. Our construction accident lawyers serve clients in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and all of New York.