Fatal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

Employers make efforts to keep their business running as smoothly as possible.  This includes making sure that employees are safe at work and will not sustain work related injuries.  Despite these efforts it sometimes happens that an employee sustains an injury.  In the most tragic and unfortunate of cases, a worker may not only be injured but may sustain a fatal injury.  Workers’ compensation will provide benefits not only when the worker is injured and needs medical treatment to recover, but also when the industrial accident results in the employee’s death.

California law provides that the family members dependent on the deceased worker may apply for and receive workers’ compensation benefits.  These benefits will include reasonable burial expenses up to ten thousand dollars as well as regular payments.  The dependents that are eligible to receive benefits will fall into one of two categories – either total dependents or partial dependents.  Total dependents are those family members who were complete dependent on the deceased worker for care and support.  Conversely, partial dependents are those who only partially dependent on the deceased worker.  In addition, the amount of benefits will depend on how many dependents the deceased employee at the time of his or her death.  If the employee had just one total dependent, the benefits would be two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which goes up to two hundred and ninety thousand for two total dependents, and three hundred twenty thousand for three total dependents.  If there are one or more totally dependent minors at the time of the employee’s death, the family will continue to receive death benefits until the youngest child turns eighteen.  If the minor is disabled, he or she is eligible to receive benefits for life.  The death benefits are paid that the rate of temporary total disability, but not less than two hundred twenty-four dollars a week.  Dependents who seek death benefits under workers’ compensation will need to commence proceedings seeking these benefits within a year of the employee’s death.  The absolute deadline for commencing an action for death benefits is two hundred and forty weeks from the date the injury leading to death occurred.

We have extensive experience in workers’ compensation cases ranging from minor injuries to death of an employee. Contact us today for a consultation to talk about your business.

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