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Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Settlement After a Loved One’s Death?

November 6, 2019
Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Settlement After a Loved One’s Death?

Nobody expects to get injured on the job, yet workplace injuries happen more frequently than you might expect.

Indeed, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 5,000 workers sustain fatal injuries on the job every year, while thousands more suffer nonfatal injuries.

A high percentage of those fatal injuries occur in the construction industry as a result of workplace falls and other preventable accidents. In most cases involving workplace injuries, the injured worker is eligible to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.

But what happens when a worker dies as a result of a workplace injury? Can a loved one file a workers’ compensation claim for a family member who sustained fatal on-the-job injuries?

In short, when a worker suffers fatal work-related injuries, his or her surviving dependents may be eligible to obtain compensation through workers’ compensation benefits. The following are key things to know about seeking a workers’ compensation settlement after a loved one’s death.

You Will Need to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If your loved one died as a result of a workplace injury, in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you will still need to file a claim for death benefits.

If you are in Texas, for example, the claim must be filed with the Texas Department of Insurance within one year from the date of your loved one’s death. In order to obtain benefits, you must provide the following information:

  • Workers’ compensation death benefits form;
  • Copy of the death certificate; and
  • Documents proving that each person requesting benefits is related to the deceased (such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or adoption decree).

Family Members Who May Be Eligible to Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits After a Loved One’s Death

After a loved one’s death, only certain parties may be able to seek compensation through workers’ compensation death benefits. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the following people may be able to seek compensation when a family member dies as a result of a work-related illness or injury:

  • Spouse of the deceased;
  • Children or stepchildren of the deceased (children under the age of 18 or children under the age of 25 who are enrolled in school);
  • Adult children with disabilities; and/or
  • Non-dependent parents and/or step-parents if the deceased does not have a spouse or any children.

Amount You May Be Able to Obtain in a Workers’ Compensation Settlement

If you seek death benefits through workers’ compensation, there will be a maximum benefit that you are eligible to receive. In Texas, you cannot obtain more than 75 percent of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage. In addition, there is a maximum benefit amount.

Accordingly, if your deceased loved one earned a high salary, 75 percent of the average weekly wage could total more than the maximum payout. In such a case, you would only be entitled to the maximum weekly benefit. In 2019, the maximum average weekly benefit is $937.70.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If your loved one sustained fatal injuries on the job or died after suffering a work-related illness, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation death benefits.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney serving clients in Texas and New Mexico can discuss your options with you. Contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. to learn more about how we can assist with your case.