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Workers’ Comp Benefits For Survivors Of Suicide?

When a person takes there own life, the effect on their family, friends and other loved ones is traumatic. Not only do these people lose the individual closest to their hearts but in many cases those dependent on the person who committed suicide lose out on any death benefits due to the nature of the death. Insurance policies and other death benefits are not usually paid out to survivors of people who take their own life, therefore a recent decision by a state appeals court is all the more surprising.

When the Workers’ Compensation Board decided a former New York State Police forensic scientists death was not related to his employment, his widow was denied workers’ compensation death benefits.

The case of Gary Veeder is unusual to say the least. While all jobs come with their fair share of work related “stress”, Veeder’s death is definitely unique. As stated on Thomas Reuters News and Insight, “Veeder was at the center of a 2008 scandal involving inaccurate or undocumented test results at the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center, where his job involved analyzing fibers in connection with criminal cases.”

It has been suggested that an internal work inquiry may have triggered Veeder’s decision to take his own life. His wife claims his death was the direct result of “improper actions” taken by the police department while they were conducting their internal investigation.

This claim was not accepted by the Workers’ Compensation Board which supported the decision of the workers’ compensation judge who originally disallowed the claim. In a somewhat unexpected turn of events the Appallate Division reversed this decision allowing Veeder’s widow to collect workers’ compensation death benefits.

There are always unique cases and situations where presidents are made. If you have a workers’ compensation issue and feel you are entitled to benefits, contact an experienced attorney to represent your case to ensure you are not missing out on benefits you deserve.

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