The widow of a firefighter was recently in the news because she finally won New York workers’ compensation benefits after her husband died shortly after leading a training exercise. It took the widow about two years to file for benefits, but only because she didn’t realize that she was eligible for workers’ comp benefit after her husband’s unexpected death.
Not only did the insurer deny her claim – stating that she waited too long – but they also said that there was no way she could prove that his heart attack had anything to do with the firefighter training exercise he had just led. Oh really?
Fortunately for the widow her husband’s death had already been recognized by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation as being caused by the stress and exertion of the training exercise.
An advocate for the Foundation told the widow that she was entitled to a Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant because of her husband’s death, and that she should also apply for workers’ compensation benefits.
If it wasn’t for the helpful Foundation advocate, this unfortunate widow would have no idea that she deserved benefits because of her husband’s sacrifice. Yet, despite all her husband had done – he was a 38 year firefighting veteran – and despite the posthumous recognition he received, the insurance company DENIED her claim.
Sadly, this scenario is all too common. Insurers are very quick to deny workers’ comp claims, and grieving families are especially vulnerable as they don’t always have the resources to pursue benefits. If you or someone you know ever find yourself in this situation, PLEASE don’t hesitate to talk to a workers’ comp attorney. You deserve so much better than a rude denial from a heartless insurance company!