Construction Wrongful Death

New York City Attorneys Helping Bereaved Families After Worksite Accidents

The construction industry is known for failing to protect its workers as it should. In spite of numerous regulations designed to protect workers from injuries and death, many workers are killed each year in New York City. They leave behind families who are emotionally devastated and may struggle to pay the bills without a primary or secondary income. If your loved one suffers a wrongful death at a construction site, you should retain an experienced New York City construction accident attorney to pursue benefits or damages.

Wrongful Death Arising from a Construction Accident

In New York, building owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and others are supposed to follow safety rules. Unfortunately, construction workers are exposed to a wide array of dangers, including electrocution, toxic chemicals, falls, defective equipment and tools, fires, and improperly maintained sites.

A wrongful death happens when somebody dies because of another party's recklessness or carelessness. Death benefits may be available for surviving dependents under the New York Workers' Compensation Law. A surviving spouse without kids who are minors can receive 66.67% of the deceased construction worker's average weekly wage. Once a surviving spouse decides to remarry, they can receive a lump sum equivalent to two years’ worth of benefits. If there are no surviving dependents, the carrier is supposed to pay $50,000 to the decedent's parents or estate.

Often, however, death benefits are not enough to help a family who has suffered emotional and financial harm from a loved one's death. It may be possible to sue for wrongful death based on violations of the New York Labor Law. For example, if your husband died because the owner of the project failed to supply required safety harnesses and other fall-prevention equipment, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages by showing a violation of New York Labor Law Section 240, which protects against the gravity-related risks of construction work.

Certain surviving family members may be able to recover damages if their attorney proves that the wrongful death happened at the construction site, the defendant's wrongful, negligent, or reckless act caused the accident, the decedent could have sued had they lived, and one or more surviving family members experienced actual damages.

The case can be initiated by the personal representative of the decedent's estate, filing a claim on behalf of the decedent's family to recover the damages that the decedent could have recovered had they lived. The case needs to be filed within two years of the accident that resulted in the death. In New York, wrongful death lawsuits are covered by Section 5-4.1 of the New York Estates, Powers and Trust Laws. This law allows the personal representative of the estate to sue for wrongful death and recover pecuniary losses that they are able to prove. When the personal representative of a deceased construction worker's estate recovers damages, they hold the damages in trust for surviving family members.

The damages that may be recovered include all pecuniary losses, such as medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and the decedent's conscious pain and suffering. The pecuniary losses include a loss of support for close family members as a result of losing the decedent's earnings. A decedent's spouse may also recover for loss of services, while the decedent's kids may recover for loss of parental care and guidance. In some cases, it is necessary to retain economic experts to determine what the decedent would have earned had they lived, based on their lifespan and unique abilities.

Consult a Skilled Wrongful Death Lawyer in New York City

There are many different situations on construction sites that could result in fatal injuries. While you may be limited to death benefits, it may also be possible to recover compensation for your losses from the party responsible for them, depending on the specific situation. The attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman provide effective legal representation in New York City construction wrongful death lawsuits after fatal crane accidents, forklift accidents, scaffolding accidents, and other workplace mishaps. We represent families in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or complete our online form.