Workers' comp is well-known for providing those with on-the-job injuries benefits, such as a portion of lost wages and medical expenses. When the unthinkable happens and that employee dies as a result of a work-related injury, the survivors of that worker are also entitled to receive death benefits from the employer's workers' comp insurance company. If you meet the requirements, you may be able to get a lump sum or monthly payments, and more, so read on to learn more about who can receive these benefits and how they are paid.
Qualifying Family Members
The main determining factor in who is qualified to receive death benefits is whether or not you were financially dependent on the deceased worker. The rules vary from state to state, but this generally can include the following:
- Spouse: The income of the spouse may be taken into consideration in some cases.
- Children: Any biological or legally adopted children under the age of 18 can qualify. Children over the age of 18 who are enrolled in college are eligible until the age of 25.
- Disabled Children: Regardless of age, these children qualify.
Determining Death Benefits
The rules for the death benefit qualification are similar to those of regular workers' comp when determining qualifying injuries:
- The death occurred at work or at a work-related event. For example, if the worker died while participating in a required seminar held at a convention center in a neighboring town, they would be covered.
- The death occurred as a result of an injury, illness or condition caused by the work itself, even if not on-site. For example, the worker may have suffered a bump to the head while at work. This injury may have been thought to be too minor to treat at the time, but the worker later died of a brain injury.
- The death occurred as a result of a preexisting condition, which was not work-related, but that was made worse by a work-related injury or working conditions.
The Benefits Available
1. All of the medical bills that are related to the death.
2. Burial benefits.
3. Most states pay approximately two-thirds of the deceased worker's salary, but there are dollar and/or time limits applied to this sum.
4. The total amount available may have to be divided among all eligible family members.
5. These benefits may be paid either monthly or lump sum.
6. Spouses can continue to receive benefits for their lifetime, or until they remarry.
7. Children can continue to receive benefits until they reach age 18, or 25 if in college.
8. Disabled children can continue to receive benefits for their lifetime.
The financial benefits available to surviving family members may offer little comfort initially, but the financial implications of the loss of your loved one's contribution will eventually only add to your suffering. Contact a workers' comp attorney, like those at Williams Williams & Bembenek PC, for more information, support and to ensure that you get the death benefits that you and your family deserve.