Death benefits are generally available to “dependents” of the workers who die due to a work-related injury or illness.
Each day, about 13 workers die from work-related injuries or illnesses. We understand no amount of money can heal the pain of losing a loved one. However, if a worker dies due to their employment, their family may receive death benefits from workers’ compensation.
Below are the types of death benefits available and who is generally eligible to receive them. We’ve also discussed how long death benefits last in Missouri and the process of obtaining death benefits after the work-related death of a family member.
Who’s Eligible for Death Benefits?
Death benefits are generally available to “dependents” of the workers who die due to a work-related injury or illness. This typically includes a surviving spouse and children under the age of 18. However, each situation is unique and should be discussed with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
To be eligible for death benefits, you generally must meet specific criteria:
-The worker must have been employed by a company covered by Workers’ Comp insurance.
-The death must have occurred due to a work-related accident or illness.
-You must file a claim for benefits within two years of the worker’s death.
What Types of Payments Are Available to Surviving Family Members?
There are two types of payments available to the family members of deceased employees:
1. Lump-Sum Payments
The lump-sum payment is a one-time payment made to the deceased worker’s surviving spouse. This payment is intended to help the spouse cover funeral costs and other expenses.
2. Weekly Payments
Weekly payments are ongoing weekly payments that go to the surviving spouse of a deceased worker and their children. The amount is based on the number of children and how much the deceased worker was earning at their death.
How to Obtain Death Benefits After a Work-Related Death
If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, there are several steps that you need to take to obtain death benefits. The process is detailed below:
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
A Missouri Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you with your claim, allowing you to focus on healing and grieving during this difficult time.
Your attorney can work with you to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is filed and help you navigate the complex process of obtaining death benefits. They fight to prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you during this difficult time.
File a Claim for Benefits
You must file a claim with the insurance company to receive death benefits. Your attorney can help you with this process.
The Insurance Company Will Investigate the Death
The insurance company will likely investigate the death to determine whether it was work-related. If they find that the death was indeed work-related, they will begin to process your benefits payments.
Receive Death Benefits Payments
After the insurance company has finished its investigation, you should start receiving death benefits payments. These payments will depend on the type of death benefit you are eligible to receive. Missouri workers’ compensation death benefits will generally continue until:
- You remarry
- The children reach age 18
Speak With a Workers Compensation Attorney
At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we have a strong history of helping injured workers get medical attention and the financial compensation they need. If you lose a loved one while they are at work, you may be entitled to death benefits. Give us a call 24/7 to learn more about your legal rights.
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