Work-related deaths are devastating to the family of the deceased as well as the company for which the employee worked. The loss of life certainly puts the dependents of the deceased worker in a precarious financial position. Additional expenses such as burial or cremation costs become a burden to the family of the departed employee. Such situation necessitates determining whether they will get the compensation and what parameters are involved in filing a claim.

Who is Eligible for Death Compensation?

Legal Spouse

In most States, the wife or husband of the deceased worker is designated as the beneficiary of all death benefits. For the claim to be officially filed, the surviving spouse must provide proof of identification and the certificate of marriage. The current income of the surviving husband or wife is not in any way a factor in determining his/her eligibility for the benefits.

Children (Legitimate and Illegitimate) 

Children of the deceased worker, especially those below the age of 18 are considered dependents. In some States, surviving kids below the age of 25 but over 18 who are enrolled in vocational or educational programs or institutions are also considered qualified dependents. Children with mental or physical disabilities, regardless of their age, are also eligible for the death benefits.

Other Family Members
In the absence of a spouse and qualified children, other members of the family may be able to claim death benefits. You can click here to find out more about the types of compensations and the eligibility requirements for each of them.

How Much Can You Expect to Get?
The exact amount of the death compensation varies depending on some factors, among which are the following:

Compensation Insurance Cap

There is a maximum allowable amount that can be disbursed to the family of the worker. However, this doesn’t mean that you will get such amount. If you wish to know more about compensation insurance and its limits, you should consider speaking to a lawyer. In most cases, the amount can be a few thousand dollars, but not exceeding ten thousand dollars.

Medical Expenditures
Some workers do not die instantly from work-related accidents/injuries. If they spent any number of days in the hospital, part of the compensation would cover the outstanding medical bills in addition to the burial expenditures.

Worker’s Wages 

Children between the ages of 14 months and 16 years are entitled to about 5% of the employee’s weekly (pre-tax) earnings before he/she was injured and subsequently killed.

How Do You Know You are Getting the Right Amount?
Each case is different, so there is a need to seek professional legal advice if you wish to be certain of the correct compensation amount.

What if You Do not Receive Any Compensation?

If survivors’ benefits are not provided, there is always the option of filing a Wrongful Death case against the company. Lawyer assistance becomes necessary if you choose this option but the fees are deferred at least after the settlement has been awarded. Consulting with an attorney who specializes in Wrongful Death cases does not involve a lot of legal fees upfront, and you won’t even have to pay if the case was not won or if there is no settlement from the company.