Workers’ Compensation Claims, Recent Decision on Death Benefits

In Kelly v. Consol. Edison Co. of New York, 205 A.D.3d 1267, 166 N.Y.S.3d 921 (2022), the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York recently upheld a Workers’ Compensation Board decision that the Special Fund is not liable for the death benefits filed after January 1, 2014. This is true even where liability for the original disability benefits claim had been transferred to Special Fund prior to the statutory filing deadline.

In finding that the Special Fund is not liable for the death benefits filed after January 1, 2014, the Workers’ Compensation Board based its decision on the fact that the Special Fund had been closed to new applications effective January 1, 2014.

The employer argued that the Special Fund is liable for the death benefits claim because liability for the lifetime claim had been transferred to it. The Workers’ Compensation Law Judge found that the claim for death benefits was a new claim filed upon decedent’s death in 2016.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court reasoned that a death benefits claim accrues at the time of death and is a separate and distinct legal proceeding from the original claim. Under that ruling, Workers Compensation Law §25-a (1-a) forecloses transfer of liability for a death benefits claim submitted after January 1, 2014.

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About Jelena Petrovic

Jelena Petrovic is an Associate in the firm's New York office in Personal Injury Law Litigation. Jelena has been helping injured individuals regarding their rights.

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