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Workers' compensation benefits will go to dead worker's family

There are many dangers that workers in New York City face every day. Some are common and expected, and others may be totally unforeseen. An accident of the latter kind took place recently on the upper East Side when a doorman at an apartment building fell and died while on the job, thus qualifying his next of kin for death benefits under the workers' compensation laws.

While shoveling snow from the steps at his building, he fell down the stairs and crashed head-first into a glass window, which resulted in his throat being cut. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, at about 10:30 a.m. The tragically freaky accident is about as clear an example of a work-related injury or death that may be observed. The fact that the worker may have been careless in allowing himself to fall down the stairs does not override the right of his family to collect benefits.

That is because negligence is irrelevant in a workers' compensation claim. The statute in New York and all states provides that it doesn't matter if the employer's or the employee's negligence contributes to or causes the accident. The worker is nonetheless entitled to collect benefits under the law. In a death case, that generally includes compensation of any medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and partial payments of lost wages to the family for an extended time set forth in the workers' comp statute.

The man's co-workers, tenants and business people in the neighborhood praised him as the best person that one could ever want at his job. They also made the point that he was a good man, always helpful, always smiling. He was a member of the Service Employees Union, whose representative stated that it would support the family in whatever ways it could during the crisis. Whenever the collection of workers' compensation benefits is unclear or in doubt, it is best to get a professional opinion from an experienced workers' compensation attorney, especially one who has experience with New York City work-related accidents.

Source: nypost.com, "Doorman dies after freak accident while shoveling snow", Jamie Schram, Kevin Fasick and Natalie Musumeci, Feb. 9, 2017

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