Yet again, New York has lost another hard working citizen to an on the job accident which claimed his life far too soon.
Buried Alive At Work
On the day that he died, the construction worker, a 59-year-old man, was working as part of at team that was installing a cesspool in the front of a home. The digging had already been going on for some time and the hole into which the cesspool would be placed was quite deep.
The worker was standing near the edge, directing the crane which was lowering the container into the ground when suddenly everything gave way below him.
A sinkhole opened up and he was swallowed by it, buried alive under about 15 feet of dirt, another worker barely escaping the same fate because he managed to grab the bucket attached to the heavy machinery used to dig the hole.
Despite the immediate efforts of his co-workers who both began to dig and called 911 for help, no one was able to reach him for six hours. By that time, he had already succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
The sinkhole is so large that nearly the entire front house of the yard is engulfed and even the street has been closed off because it is too unstable for cars to drive on.
The deceased leaves behind a wife, adult children, and a grandchild, as well as many extended family members who have expressed their sorrow at his untimely passing.
Workers’ Compensation Does Offer Death Benefits
There is absolutely nothing that can replace the worker, however, in an effort to ensure his family won’t be left financially struggling, New York requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance with can provide his loved ones with death benefits.
These death benefits may include:
- Compensation for funeral and burial expenses.
- Payments made in regular installments that are intended to provide compensation for the loss of the deceased’s wages.
- Coverage of any medical expenses for treatments related to the illness or injury which resulted in the worker’s death.
There are strict timelines that every applicant must adhere to when filing for these benefits, which may seem overwhelming for those who are already dealing with the loss of their loved one. But the reality is that it’s best to make a claim as soon as possible and the claim is more likely to be approved if the applicant’s work with a lawyer from the very beginning.
A Workers’ Comp Claim Can Be Denied?
Absolutely. Whether the claim is filed by an injured or ill worker, or the loved ones of someone who has passed, claims are denied every single day, even if the applicants rightfully deserve payment. Even if the claim is paid, insurance companies frequently try to find ways to reduce the amount paid out, so that the company is saved money.
Workers’ compensation is supposed to be no-fault, meaning that even if the worker who was harmed made a mistake which contributed to the accident which caused their injuries, they should be covered. But if a mistake is made on the claim form, their employer contests the claim, or they don’t provide the records the insurance company requests, they may find a denial letter in the mail.
The decision can be appealed, but the appeal must be filed, in writing, within 30 days. Then a panel of three New York State Workers’ Compensation Board members will review the case. This panel has the right to modify, affirm, or rescind the judge’s decision, or they may send it back to the judge to be developed further. If the board still agrees with the denial, an appeal can be sent to the Appellate Division.
This process is time-consuming and stressful, not to mention that during the appeal, the applicants will not be receiving the payments they so desperately need. In order to move through the appeal’s process as quickly as possible, the applicants should consult with a lawyer.