Accidents that occur while an employee is engaged in work-related activities can result in death.
When someone dies in an accident at work, that individual's employer has a financial responsibility to the deceased employee's dependents. Any wages accrued by the employee but not yet paid out must be provided to the dependents. Workers' compensation death benefit payments and reasonable burial expenses must also be remitted to any dependents left behind by a deceased employee.
If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, you need to understand the legal definition of a dependent. Only a legally recognized dependent can successfully file for workers' compensation death benefits and you may need the help of an experienced attorney to access the financial resources you are entitled to receive from your deceased loved one's employer.
According to the regulations that govern the distribution of workers' compensation death benefits, minor children can qualify as dependents. Most children under the age of 18 will meet the dependency requirements, but some may not.
A child that is not living with the deceased employee at the time of death may not be considered a dependent. If the deceased employee's spouse is deemed to be entirely dependent on the deceased, any minor children in the home will not be entitled to workers' compensation death benefits. The law assumes that the surviving parent will utilize the benefits he or she receives to assist in the care of the minor children.
A minor child's work circumstances may also be evaluated. If a minor is generating income, then the amount of death benefits he or she is eligible for may be adjusted accordingly.
Employees who are married at the time of a work-related death leave behind a spouse who may be considered a dependent. A surviving spouse can be found totally dependent or partially dependent based on his or her income.
A stay-at-home parent who loses a spouse in a work-related accident is considered totally dependent. He or she will be entitled to weekly workers' compensation death benefits for the duration of his or her natural life or until he or she remarries. A spouse that works outside the home will be entitled to receive death benefits that are adjusted based on his or her income. These types of spouses are considered partially dependent.
Proof of a legal marriage must be provided before spousal benefits will be awarded in a workers' compensation case.
Girlfriend or Boyfriend
Workers' compensation death benefits are designed to provide financial help to those individuals who depended on the wages generated by a deceased employee to survive.
Although a couple living together might not be legally married, a case for dependency can be proven if the surviving girlfriend or boyfriend will suffer financial harm. An experienced attorney will be able to provide sufficient evidence to prove that the deceased employee paid a considerable portion of the household expenses.
A girlfriend or boyfriend left behind can be deemed a good faith dependent and workers' compensation death benefits can be awarded based on financial need.
Issues of dependency in workers' compensation cases can be complex. Multiple dependents might exist, and each of these dependents has a right to lay claim to death benefits. A number of factors are taken into consideration when determining dependency and distributing financial benefits after a work-related death occurs.
Contact The McDaniel Law Firm if you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident. We can help you establish dependency and gain access to the death benefits you are entitled to according to workers' compensation regulations.