by John Ned Lipsitz

Mike Ponterio and I have spent most of the past 15 years representing men and women suffering from diseases caused by exposure to toxic substances in the workplace, including asbestos, silica dust, and numerous other cancer causing substances. As part of the legacy of heavy industry in Western New York, there will be many more cases of occupational disease and death in the years to come.

If your spouse or parent dies of a disease caused by occupational exposure, including lung disease and cancer, you are entitled to file a claim for death benefits under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law, provided that your claim is filed within two years of the date of death. 

The filing of the death claim should be accompanied by a copy of the death certificate; the autopsy report, if one was performed; the funeral bill; proof of family relationship, for example, a marriage certificate; and the birth certificate of the decedent; as well as the birth certificate of the surviving spouse or children. If the claim is established, an award will be made providing for weekly benefits, in the case of a surviving spouse, or for a lump sum of $50,000 plus payment of the funeral bill, under circumstances where the survivors were not dependent upon the decedent at the time of his death.

Our office has handled many death claims and gives each case prompt and thorough attention. Often it is necessary to retain a medical expert to review the facts of the case and provide an opinion. We have the resources to prove your case so that you will receive valuable benefits to which you are entitled under the law. Please feel free to call and discuss your claim with the attorneys in our office.

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In our experience, there are numerous sites throughout the Western New York area where industrial conditions were so contaminated with toxic substances that many retirees subsequently have died of occupational disease. It is important to keep in mind also that an individual may die of multiple causes. If occupational disease cuts short the life of a family member even one day sooner than he otherwise would have died, the surviving spouse may be entitled to lifetime benefits under the law. We have represented families whose loved ones worked at the following industrial sites in Western New York:

  • Abex Friction Products (Medina, NY)
  • Armstrong World Industries (Fulton, NY)
  • Ashland Oil Refinery (Tonawanda, NY)
  • Batavia School for the Blind
  • Bethlehem Steel Corporation (Basic Oxygen Furnace; Open Hearth Furnace; Coke Ovens)
  • Carbide Graphite
  • Clarence Senior High School
  • Colonel Ward Pumping Station (Buffalo, NY)
  • Donner Hanna Coke
  • Dunlop Tire and Rubber
  • DuPont Chemical (Niagara Falls and Tonawanda, NY)
  • Durez (f/k/a Reichhold) Division of Occidental Chemical Corporation (North Tonawanda, NY)
  • Federal Reserve Bank (Buffalo, NY)
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Fredonia State College
  • Garlock (Palmyra, NY)
  • General Motors Forge and Foundry (Tonawanda, NY)
  • Hooker Chemical (Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY)
  • Kimberly Clarke (Niagara Falls, NY)
  • Kodak (Rochester, NY)
  • Leisureland Bowling Alley (Hamburg, NY)
  • Alfred University
  • Allied Chemical Corporation (Buffalo, NY)
  • Linde Division of Union Carbide Corporation
  • New York State Electric & Gas Facilities
  • Niagara Mohawk Power Facilities (Huntley or Dunkirk)
  • M&T Plaza (Buffalo, NY)
  • Main Place Mall and Tower (Buffalo, NY)
  • Marine Midland Center
  • Mobil Oil Refinery
  • Niagara Falls Air Force Base
  • Rochester Gas & Electric Facilities
  • Republic Steel
  • Robert Moses Power Project (Lewiston, NY)
  • SKF USA (Hornell, NY)
  • Spaulding Fibre (Tonawanda, NY)
  • University at Buffalo Law School
  • Xerox Building (Rochester, NY)
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