What Benefits Exist for Families of Work-Related Death Victims?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Sarah E. Stottlemyer with Stottlemyer & Associates, LLC.
Losing a loved one in a work-related accident is always a tragedy, but can be particularly damaging when the deceased was a primary earner for the family. When a loved one dies in a work-related accident, depending on the circumstances of the death the family may be eligible to receive a variety of benefits. If your loved one’s death occurred as the result of negligence or intentional conduct on the part of the employer or a third-party such as a driver or rental agency, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim for additional compensation. To learn more about your options after the work-related death of a loved one, reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers’ compensation programs may offer benefits to help families through the loss of the deceased’s income.
Workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp” is a form of insurance intended to provide compensation for injured employees while protecting employers from liability. However, in the event that someone dies in a work-related accident or from injuries sustained at work, workers’ comp may offer a way to help pay the bills after the loss of a primary earner. Spouses, children, and other dependents are generally considered eligible to receive death benefits in a workers’ comp claim. However, the laws vary from state to state regarding who is eligible to receive benefits, so it’s important to research the legislation in your area.
Death benefits via workers’ comp are often paid out in installments representative of a certain percentage of the deceased’s income.
The amount of compensation offered to a family after the work-related death of their loved one may vary depending on a variety of factors; the average income of the worker, number of dependents, and state in which the accident occurred can all affect the value of the compensation offered to families through workers’ comp. Additional expenses such as funeral and burial costs may also be included in the workers’ comp benefits. In some cases, these benefits may end after a certain period of time, or when the surviving spouse remarries.
If the death occurred due to the negligent or intentional conduct of the employer or another party, the family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
In situations where the work-related death could have been avoided with proper attention to safety by the employer or another party, surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in addition to receiving workers’ comp death benefits.
Wrongful death lawsuits generally cover many of the same damages that would have been covered in a personal injury lawsuit had the injured party survived; these damages generally include medical bills, wages lost while receiving medical treatment, and a loved one’s pain and suffering before death. However, wrongful death lawsuits may also seek compensation for expenses such as loss of income, loss of companionship, and funeral/burial expenses.
Wrongful death attorneys understand the pain families go through after losing a loved one to a work-related accident or illness.
This is why wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations to grieving family members and work on a contingency fee basis. Clients do not pay for their services unless the attorney wins their case, at which point the attorney takes a previously agreed upon percentage of the winnings. This payment system is designed to prevent additional stress from falling on the shoulders of surviving family members, allowing them to focus on healing and recovery after the tragedy rather than worrying about how to pay yet another bill. To learn more about your family’s options for financial recovery after the work-related death of a loved one, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney.