Workplace accidents are all too common. They can occur due to mere hazards or dangerous situations arising at the workplace or could be a result of the negligence of the employer. As per reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatalities due to workplace accidents are above 5,000 each year and most of these fatalities involve men. Losing your loved one due to a workplace accident can be devastating. If you are a surviving spouse due to the wrongful death of your loved one, it is important to have a full understanding of what your legal rights are when filing for compensation after the workplace accident.
Death Claim Eligibility
Death benefits are provided with an intention to help the surviving family members through financial assistance. The eligibility for death benefits is largely dependent on the state in which the accident occurred and is typically awarded to blood members or spouses who were dependent on the deceased for all their living expenses.
The amount of death claim amount also varies in each state and is usually awarded as a percent of the worker’s salary and is often two-thirds of the average weekly wages of the deceased. These benefits are typically provided in the form of regular installments. Depending on the type of benefits awarded, these claims may last until the spouse’s death, remarriage, or until a specific dollar amount is reached.
Which death cases qualify for benefits?
There are several factors in which your case may qualify for death claims. If your spouse’s accident occurred while on the job or while performing job-related activities then you are eligible to claim for death benefits. Claims are also available if the employee has developed a serious illness due to the working conditions and has eventually succumbed to death by this illness. If your spouse had any pre-diagnosed medical conditions, you may still be eligible to file for claims if workplace injury has aggravated the condition or contributed to the death.
Employers generally carry the worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance plan compensates the worker’s family in the case of fatalities by providing benefits of partial income replacement. You need to keep in mind that under this insurance the spouse may not be eligible to directly sue the employer if the death was a result of negligence on the part of the employer.
How can a workers’ compensation lawyer assist you?
Many states have complicated guidelines and strict deadlines to file for a death claim. This can vary ranging from one to two years from the day the employee died. Surviving spouses may recover additional amounts above the death lawsuit benefits such as medical or other expenses incurred by the deceased employee, funeral expenses, mental and emotional injuries in the
form of pain and suffering. As the statute governing the death claims is complex, it is best to seek legal help and understand the compensations that you qualify for.
If you are a surviving spouse who was completely dependent on the deceased for living expenses, you could be under great stress and difficulties. A knowledgeable and experienced workers’ compensation attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your case and help you create a strong lawsuit while safeguarding your rights.