When a loved one dies in a workplace accident, the loss is devastating. The added anxiety of “What will we do now?” only adds pressure to an already terrible situation. The last thing you need is to have to fight for the workers’ compensation death benefits you’re entitled to.
At Gerald Brody and Associates, we can help. We’d like to start by helping you navigate the information and understand the basics about workers’ compensation death benefits.
How Workers' Compensation Death Benefits Work
When a worker dies from work-related injuries, the surviving dependents (people who relied on him/her for financial support) are eligible to receive benefits. Those benefits are distributed based on the number of dependents and their levels of dependency.
Automatic Dependents for Death Benefit Claims
Total dependents are individuals who completely relied on the worker for financial support. For example:
- Children under 18
- Children of any age who are physically incapacitated and unable to earn a living
- A spouse who earned $30,000 or less in the 12 months before the worker’s death
Other examples of total dependents for Death Benefit Claims
- An elderly parent who lived with the worker and relied on him/her for food, clothing, and other living expenses
- A nephew under the age of 18 who lived with and was being raised by the now-deceased worker
Partial Dependents for Death Benefit Claims
Partial dependents are individuals who partly relied on the worker for financial support. For example:
- A spouse who earned more than $30,000 in the 12 months before the worker’s death
- An elderly parent who lived separately from the deceased worker but relied on him/her for living expenses.
Types of Benefits offered for wrongful death workplace cases
The death benefits provided to eligible dependents include:
Burial expenses for the family of the recently deceased
- Maximum amount for injuries that took place before January 1, 2013: $5,000
- Maximum amount for injuries that took place on or after January 1, 2013: $10,000
Death benefits for workers' compensation death benefits
For injuries that took place on or after January 1, 2006:
- $250,000 for one total dependent
- $290,000 for two total dependents
- $320,000 for three or more total dependents
Paid out in installments of not less than $224 per week
If there are no total dependents or only one total dependent,
Partial dependents can receive 4 times the annual amount received from the worker (subject to a maximum by law).
After the above payments have been made, minors will continue to receive weekly benefits based on 2/3 of the worker’s weekly income (not less than $224 per week) until they turn 18.
Children of any age who are physically or mentally incapacitated will continue to receive these benefits until recovery or death.
Why you want our Workers’ Compensation attorneys on your team in San Diego
After you’ve had a chance to look over the above information a couple of times, the concepts may begin to sound simple enough. Unfortunately, just understanding how it’s supposed to work does not guarantee that you will get what you’re entitled to.
Not all insurance companies are going to be forthright with you or voluntarily pay you what you’re owed. In addition to deliberately withholding information, they may also try to claim:
- The death of your loved one was not caused by an industrial accident
- You are not eligible for benefits because you haven’t proven your dependency
- Your child is not eligible for weekly benefit payments
At The Law Office of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we know the tricks that insurance companies and employers use to get out of paying benefits. We have decades of experience exposing and fighting aggressively against those same tricks.
Suffering the loss of a loved one is painful enough. Let us help you get through it by taking on the fight for what you’re owed. It’s what we do, and we’re committed to seeing it through to the end. Contact Gerald Brody & Associates Workers' Compensation Attorneys today by giving us a call at (619) 528-9800.