Workers’ Comp Death Benefits

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Losing a loved one as a result of an injury or illness that was work related may entitle you to receive workers’ compensation death benefits. Depending on the state you live in will determine the specifics of the benefits. It is advisable to seek the help of attorneys experienced in workers’ compensation benefits claims. An experienced lawyer at can explain the details of your particular state, including who can receive the benefits, the amount you can receive, and the length of time the benefits will be awarded.

The purpose of the workers’ compensation death benefits is to assist family members with the financial needs that were lost as a result of the work-related death of their loved one. Benefits vary from state to state, but generally, just spouses, children, or other relatives who were dependent on the deceased family member for the financial needs can be the recipients of these benefits.

The Qualifications of a Dependant to Receive Workers’ Comp Death Benefits

Factors affecting who qualifies for workers’ compensation death benefits vary from state to state but generally the following rules apply for deciding who is eligible to receive the benefits. They include:

  • Any minor children (under 18) are considered dependents in almost every case
  • Children over 18 who may have mental or specific physical conditions or disabilities that would prevent them from supporting themselves financially
  • In some states, children between the ages of 18 and 25 who are attending college or vocational school may still be eligible
  • Spouses are only eligible if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased employee
  • Other family members on a case-by-case basis depending on their situation

What Circumstances Qualify for Death Benefits?

If it is determined that your loved one did, indeed, die as a result of an illness or work-related injury, you will likely be awarded workers’ compensation death benefits. There are many situations where the employee dies several years after the accident, or as a result of an illness they may have developed because of the conditions they were working in, such as exposure to asbestos or other toxic chemicals.  The laws in your state will determine the amount of time you have to file a claim after the original accident or exposure.

If your loved one suffered from a medical condition that was not related to their work, you may still be able to collect death benefits if you can prove the accident that happened at work made the other medical condition worse or attributed to an early death.

How Much Can I Expect to Receive in Death Benefits?

The workers’ compensation death benefits are calculated as a percentage of the deceased employee’s earnings prior to the injury. Depending on the state where you live will determine the amount of the benefits. Typically the benefits are about two-thirds of the average weekly wage your deceased loved one earned. These payments continue for a specified period, usually two years. You may also receive a lump sum benefit that is subject to certain minimum and maximum limits.

Minor children can usually receive benefits until they are 18, or in some states, until they finish college or vocational school.

If you feel you qualify for additional death benefits under the workers’ compensation insurance of your deceased loved one, contact one of the experienced workers compensation lawyers Milwaukee, WI has to offer.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers comp death benefits.