When a loved one dies as the result of an accident or injury at work, the employer is responsible for providing compensation.
Where an accident causes death, dependents of the decedent may be entitled to accrued wages and benefits along with burial expenses, a statutory death benefit, and survivor benefits for minor children.
Generally speaking, a claim for benefits surrounding compensation for death at work must be filed within one (1) year of the date of death. After a claim has been timely and properly filed, there are primarily two thresholds that must be met for a compensable death benefits claim. First, it must be proved that the employment caused death. This is typically met when an incident with faulty machinery or a fall from height occurs. Proving causation can be trickier when there is an allegation of exposure to chemicals over the course of employment for example.
Second, it must be proved the individuals applying for death benefits are dependents of the decedent. In most cases, husbands, wives and minor children are conclusively presumed to be dependents. The situation can become more complex where a person does not have a specified marital, blood or otherwise legally recognized relationship to the decedent.
Claims for death benefits can be heavily litigated because the monetary recovery is high. Issues such as dependency can be broken down into whether someone is a total or partial dependent. Also, extensive discovery often has to be conducted to prove the employment was the cause of death.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with filing a claim for death benefits, please contact our office. We have successfully represented numerous individuals obtain the benefits they need when a family member sustains a fatal injury.