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Workers’ Compensation Benefits from a Work Injury Death

February 18, 2017

Has a family member passed away due to a previous work-injury? It’s possible you may be entitled to benefits through workers’ compensation. Keep in mind that in order to receive benefits, the death must have been caused by a workplace injury or occupational disease. You also have to file a claim within two years of the employee’s date of death. Here’s what you need to know about death benefit eligibility, potential wages, and how long it will last.

What is My Eligibility?

If you’re trying to obtain death benefits, be aware that they’re typically limited to spouses, children, and other members of the family that not only live with the deceased employee, but also rely on him/her for financial support. If there are multiple “wholly dependent” people who live with the deceased and rely on his/her income, then the death benefits are shared equally. When there is only one person, such as a spouse, that is dependent on the employer, then that person is given all benefits that are payable. Even if a spouse makes more income than the deceased worker, he/she is still considered a dependent. Legal dependents also include children under 18 years of age, and for children over 18 that have certain physical or mental disabilities.

If an employee passes away and there are no legal “wholly dependents,” then anyone who is partially dependent (self-supporting) is entitled to weekly benefits, based on the amount of support the deceased provided them. If there are no whole or partial dependents, benefits are divided into a lump sum to the “next of kin.” Finally, if a deceased worker has no dependents or “next of kin,” only the burial benefit is covered.

What’s Included in Death Benefits?

In North and South Carolina, death claims are typically paid weekly. The payment is based on two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage. Death benefits must also be legally provided for a minimum of 500 weeks. It’s common for payable benefits to exceed 500 weeks, including situations where a minor child must receive benefits until the age of 18, or if the deceased’s widow or widower is disabled at the time of death, he/she will receive death benefits until his/her own death or until remarried.

In addition to weekly payables, workers’ compensation always pays a portion of burial expenses. That pay range can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than ten thousand. Workers’ compensation also covers any medical bills for treatment and care an employee received due to a work-related injury or disease. North and South Carolina workers’ compensation agencies will review all medical bills to ensure that treatment was necessary and related to the injury.

Losing a loved one is a painful situation, especially when it’s the result of a workplace injury or disease. Having the support and expertise of a workers’ compensation lawyer, like The Workers’ Compensation Law Firm, ensures you’ll make a claim for death benefits correctly and proceed through the process smoothly. Don’t wait another day to figure your situation out – contact us so we can get started on your case.