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How survivor benefits help families after a worker dies

When someone we know is seriously injured, for instance in a bad workplace accident, we may say, “At least she is lucky to be alive.” Tragically, some work injuries are so severe that they cannot be survived.

Every year, workers in construction and other high-risk jobs are killed on the job. Common types of fatal work site accidents include:

  • Scaffolding accidents
  • Falls from heights
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Explosions and fires
  • Machinery accidents

Victims often leave behind grieving spouses and children. Regular workers’ compensation does not fit in this situation, but in New York, workers’ comp death benefits are available to loved ones, to help them pay necessary bills.

Also known as survivor benefits, death benefits may go to the deceased’s spouse and/or dependent minor children. They may be paid as a single lump sum, or in weekly cash payments. The amount awarded varies, but is based on the deceased’s average wages, and there is a minimum and maximum that can be awarded. Separately, workers’ compensation can issue up to $5,000 to go toward funeral expenses.

Besides pursuing survivor benefits, a wrongful death suit against a third party, such as the manufacturer of the machine that caused the death, may be an option.

Perhaps nothing is worse than someone dying before their time. The grief a workplace death causes loved ones should not be compounded by a financial strain due to the loss of the deceased’s income. Survivor benefits can help make up for this financial loss, so that the family can focus on the grieving process.

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