D'Arcy Johnson Day Partner Recovers Benefits For Police Widow
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 46 years after her husband was killed in the line of duty and 27 years after her workers' compensation benefits were cancelled, Mrs. DuRoss has been awarded a lump sum payment for past due benefits and continued lifetime support.
"Mrs. DuRoss made the ultimate sacrifice when she lost her husband, and she was entitled to receive financial support for that loss," said Christopher Day. "It's incredibly unfortunate that she needed to wait so long for the benefits she should have received all along, but thanks to a concerted effort by a number of dedicated people, she has finally received the compensation she deserves."
Mrs. DuRoss' husband, Atlantic City police officer Daniel DuRoss, was killed in the line of duty in 1963. At the time of her husband's death, Mrs. DuRoss had two young daughters and was pregnant with a third daughter. Once her third daughter reached the age of 18, her workers' compensation benefits were terminated in accordance with the law. In 1995, an amendment to the workers' compensation law would have allowed Mrs. DuRoss to receive benefits once again, but Mrs. DuRoss was never made aware of the change and did not realize that she was entitled to receive benefits.
In spring of 2008, Mrs. DuRoss' predicament came to the attention of Madeline Neumann, Co-Founder and Immediate Past President of Garden State Concerns of Police Survivors, the New Jersey Chapter of a national organization that assists surviving families and co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. "Unfortunately, what happened to Mrs. DuRoss is all too common," Neumann explained. "Benefits are terminated, and survivors have no idea why they are cancelled, whether that cancellation is lawful, or what they can do about it. Like Mrs. DuRoss, most survivors are too busy trying to raise their children and run their households alone to do the research and legal work required to protect their rights."
Neumann discussed the situation with Peggy Mallen, one of the founders of the 200 Club of Atlantic and Cape May County, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial support for the families of police, fire and rescue personnel killed in the line of duty. "Madeline and I agreed that Mrs. DuRoss needed an attorney, and that Chris Day was the obvious choice," she said. "Not only is he an experienced workers' compensation attorney, but as a longtime member and supporter of the 200 Club, he understands the issues faced by families who lose a loved one in the line of duty."
Although the insurance company responsible for Mrs. DuRoss' workers' compensation benefits argued that Mrs. DuRoss was not entitled to benefits because the statute of limitations had passed, Day was successful in obtaining a lump sum payment for past due benefits, as well as an Order requiring the insurance company to provide lifetime benefits. He obtained this result without charging Mrs. DuRoss for his services.
After learning about the issues surrounding Mrs. DuRoss' workers' compensation benefits, New Jersey State Senator James Whelan introduced a bill that would remove the statue of limitations for surviving spouses to bring action when workers' compensation benefits are unrightfully terminated. The bill is presently pending in the New Jersey State Legislature.
Mrs. DuRoss recently visited Washington, DC and saw her husband's name on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for the first time. "I was just so happy that when Joan visited the Memorial and thought of her husband, this case was behind her, and with such a positive result," said Mallen. "Thanks to Chris, she was able to concentrate on honoring her husband, not making ends meet."
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