It is often said that the ultimate personal injury in any type of accident – including a workplace accident – is death. Although most work-related accidents result in broken bones, shoulder injuries, and similar harm, some statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reveal that over 5,300 people die each year in workplace accidents. A large cause of these workplace deaths are traffic accidents, where statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) almost 39,000 people are killed each year in the United States. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC knows that families who lose a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle accident at work often have questions regarding compensation and benefits.
And here at O’Connor Law, we have the answers. Our dedicated team of lawyers and compassionate staff can help victims and their families answer the tough questions after a loved one is wrongfully killed in a workplace accident such as a motor vehicle accident. Although we know that most people never think that it will happen to them, unfortunately it does far too often. We have experience handling those types of cases where a loved one is killed in a fatal motor vehicle accident at work, which is why we can help you and your family navigate this complex landscape. To learn more about how we can help you are the loss of a loved one, call our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in NYC by dialing (844) 692-6671 to schedule a FREE consultation with our office.
Under New York workers’ compensation laws, an injured worker is entitled to recover up to two-thirds (2/3s) of lost wages, reimbursed medical bills, and certain benefits for permanent disabilities, retraining (if necessary), or other related benefits for certain work-related issues caused by an injury. Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault benefits system, it functions as an “exclusive remedy” for injured workers. This means that victims who are injured often are not able to recover compensation outside of workers’ comp benefits.
This is significant because workers’ compensation does not allow for a victim to recover pain and suffering caused by the accident or an injury. Pain and suffering is often the largest component of a damages award in an accident. This means that some victims may not be able to recover significant amounts of compensation in a workplace accident.
Where an injured worker dies from his or her injuries, a family may be entitled to death benefits under New York workers’ compensation laws. A loved one’s death must have been caused by the workplace accident and be related to employment, such as being killed in a fatal motor vehicle accident at work while traveling between worksites (like a home health aide) or while transporting an inmate to and from court (like a correction officer).
Death benefits are calculated under New York workers’ compensation law from the deceased love one’s average weekly wages divided by 52 weeks in a year. Generally, a surviving spouse will receive two-thirds (2/3s) of those wages for the rest of his or her live. There are exceptions for remarriage, where a surviving spouse will then get a lump sum of two years of benefits instead. If there are surviving children, the amount of benefits gets split between the surviving spouse and the children.
Again, there are no options to obtain pain and suffering in a workplace death from workers’ compensation benefits.
However, a family may be entitled to recover compensation for pain and suffering of a loved one who was killed in a fatal motor vehicle accident at work if a defendant was not the employer or co-worker. In that situation, a family may be entitled to file a third-party claim. This is an exception to workers’ compensation benefits as an “exclusive remedy” and recognizes that, where a third-party causes the death of a worker, the family should have a right to seek regular tort remedies. In order words, the law allows a family to file a personal injury and wrongful death action.
The loss of a loved one is always overwhelming and debilitating. This is especially true when that loss is unexpected and caused by the negligence of another person, business, or government entity. If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC like ours at O’Connor Law to learn more about your rights to compensation under New York law. We offer FREE consultations and case evaluations, which you can schedule by dialing (844) 692-6671 or by sending us a private message through our “Contact Us” box available here.