Most people know that if you are injured on the job, workers' comp is available to pay for your medical expenses and to provide you with a portion of your wages while you recuperate. Sometimes, however, that injury results in death. When that happens, you should know that workers' comp benefits are still available, and in this circumstance, the family of the deceased may be eligible for those benefits. Whether or not family members can receive benefits depends greatly upon how they are related to the deceased worker, so read on to learn who can receive benefits and what type of compensation eligible family members can expect.
Eligible Family Members
If you are financially dependent on the deceased worker, you are likely eligible for benefits. Commonly, eligible relationships of the worker include:
- Spouse—note that in some states, the income of the surviving spouse may be considered when determining the amount of the benefit.
- Child under the age of 18.
- Child enrolled in college aged 18–25.
- Child over the age of 18 that is mentally or physically disabled.
Circumstances of the Death
The death must be directly related to work, but it's not necessary for the death to actually occur at work. The death should either be because of a work-related injury or illness or because an injury or illness was made worse by work and resulted in death. For example, if your loved one died from a heart attack after a relatively minor work-related accident, you may be qualified for benefits even if the minor accident did not cause the death.
Benefits Available to Family Members
In most cases, eligible family members can receive a certain portion of the loved one's prior salary, such as one-third, in payment. The actual amount available varies depending on the circumstances and the state. The method of payout can vary from weekly, monthly to lump sum amounts.
- Burial benefits.
- Medical expenses.
It should be noted that, in most cases, the total amount of compensation available must be divided between all eligible family members and that some states set limits on the total amount of compensation available and/or the total number of years that compensation can be paid.
- Spouses are usually eligible to receive benefits for life, unless they remarry.
- Children are usually eligible to receive benefits until they reach the age of 18.
- Children who are disabled are usually eligible to receive benefits for life.
If you are experiencing problems getting the death benefits that you deserve, be sure to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Click here for info.