Death Benefits in Workers’ Compensation

Workers Compensation concept

Coping up with the death of a loved one is never easy. The gravity of the loss increases when death results from an injury or illness suffered at work. As a dependent spouse, child, or parent your life needs to move on. Although no amount of monetary compensation can compensate for the emotional loss you have suffered, Worker’s Compensation does offer you the much-needed financial relief in this hour of need. As a family member of the deceased, you are entitled to receive death benefits under the workers’ compensation system. The process of obtaining death benefits can be complicated and overwhelming, but a workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through the process and help you obtain maximum compensation for the work fatalities.

The fact is most workers or their families don’t really care to know about their rights and entitlements under worker’s compensation death benefits due to obvious reasons. To claim all the benefits that are rightfully yours, you must get in touch with a worker’s compensation lawyer Oakland. They will help you in filing your claim and receiving the benefits. 

This article will give you a general idea of who is eligible to receive benefits, how much you might receive, and for how long. However, because workers’ compensation laws are different in each state, the exact rules will be determined by the state where you file for benefits.

Who is eligible for Death Benefits in Oakland?

In California fully or partially dependent relations of the deceased qualify for financial support. In general, a worker’s dependents fall into two separate categories – total dependents and partial dependents. Total dependents are those family members who totally depended on the worker for care and financial support. Partial dependents are those family members who partially depended on the worker for care and financial support. One needs to establish that they were members of the deceased employee’s household or were financially dependent on them. These include spouse, children (adopted and step-children included), grandchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents, nephews/nieces/, uncles/aunts. Surviving spouses earning less than $30,000 a year, children below 18 years of age, or those mentally or physically incapacitated are considered total dependants. Apart from this parents who lived with the deceased person earning less than $30,000 a year also qualify as total dependants. 

How much are you entitled to receive?

This is perhaps the most important thing for you to know when you are planning to file for death benefits with the help of your worker’s compensation lawyer in Oakland. The amount you receive as compensation would depend on the number of dependants. 

Types of death benefits: 

Typically, those who qualify as dependents are entitled to two types of benefits – burial expenses and death benefits.

Burial Expenses: The deceased worker’s employer paid into a worker’s compensation insurance policy or they were self-insured. This insurance company is required to pay all reasonable expenses related to the deceased worker’s burial.

Death Benefits: The amount of money that the dependents of a deceased worker receive is determined by the number of total dependents that are entitled to benefits. Usually, death benefits are paid out over time on a periodic basis until the maximum award amount has been reached.

Under the present rules in the State of California, the compensation amount is as follows – 

  • 1 total dependant – $250,000
  • 2 total dependants – $290,000 in total 
  • 3 or more total dependants –  $320,000 in total 

The death benefit would be split equally between the total dependants into cases there are two or more claimants for these benefits. In the case of partial dependents, they are entitled to receive benefits if there is no more than one total dependant. There is no fixed amount for the partial dependant and they are paid 8x of the total support they received from the decrease annually subject to a maximum amount of $250,000. In case there is a total dependant the partial dependent would receive 4x of their annual support with the total support from the insurer not exceeding $290,000 including the amount paid to the total dependant. In the case of multiple partial dependents, the benefit is split between them based on the proportion that was paid to them annually by the deceased. 

These death benefits are paid in installments typically ending when the benefits have reached the total sum of $250,000. However, these benefits can continue until the youngest of the children turns 18 or as long as the incapacitated child lives. Death benefits also include burial expenses and the insurance company needs to pay the claimants burial expenses at a reasonable rate subject to a maximum amount of $10,000. 

What is the deadline for filing the claim?

The surviving dependant (total or partial) must file the death benefit claim within 12 months of the death of the deceased person. This claim cannot be filed more than 240 weeks after the injury occurred in the first place. 

If you are eligible for these death benefits you need to immediately get in touch with a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer in Oakland. This will help you bypass the usual red tape associated with worker’s compensation insurance and save you from mental trauma. 

What Other Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Comp?

In all states, workers’ comp pays at least a portion of funeral expenses for employees who’ve died as a result of their work injuries. There’s usually a maximum amount, which could be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than ten thousand dollars.

Workers’ comp also covers the medical treatment that the employee received before dying. In general, you shouldn’t be stuck paying the remaining medical bills. However, the employee’s insurance company (or the state workers’ compensation agency) may review those bills to ensure that the treatment was necessary and related to the work injury or illness.


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