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What benefits are due if someone dies due to a workers' comp injury?

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Well this question is not straightforward as there are many variables for different scenarios.  However, if someone dies due to his or her work-related injury, then any dependents may qualify for death benefits.  The available benefits to qualifying dependents include burial expenses and death benefits.  In some cases, they may also be entitled to disability payments which were accrued and unpaid to the injured worker, such as temporary disability or permanent disability owed to the applicant.  The amount of the burial expenses and death benefit are set by statutory law.

Regarding burial expenses, if the injury occurred before January 1, 2013, the maximum benefit for burial expenses was $5,000.  However, for any injury on or after January 1, 2013, the burial expense benefit has increased to $10,000.

Qualifying dependents may also be entitled to death benefits.  Death benefits are paid out to dependents in installments.  There are some variables such as whether an individual is considered a total or partial dependent.  In addition, the amount of dependents will factor in as to the total amount of the death benefit.  For example, if there is only one dependent, then that individual could receive the total available benefit of $250,000.  However, if there is more than one dependent, the available benefits can exceed this amount to be split between the dependents based upon their status of total or partial dependent.  The maximum benefit for three or more total dependents is $320,000.

The timeframe for a surviving dependent(s) to claim a death benefit is one year from the date of injury.  However, if the death occurs more than one year after the date of injury, the surviving dependent(s) has one year from the date of death or one year from payment of the last benefit, not to exceed 240 weeks.  It can be complicated, but we can go through your unique situation.

If you have questions about your workers’ compensation case and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, call (559) 408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.