Can you get workers’ compensation death benefits for a loved one who died on the job?
Each year, insurance companies pay an average of $70 billion in expenses for workplace injury claims. In some cases, a workplace accident may cause an injured employee’s death. Slips, trips and falls are among the most common workplace fatalities. Other injuries occur when employees lift heavy items or while operating vehicles and other heavy machinery.
If an injury occurs while a worker is on the job, Arizona workers’ compensation insurance pays benefits to cover medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages that arise as a result.
Here are some of the common causes of work-related fatalities in Arizona. If you’re hurt on the job, reach out to our team at the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski today.
Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace
A worker may slip or fall in the workplace due to a variety of circumstances. While falls are typically not fatal, there are instances in which a fall may result in a worker’s death. Construction workers, for instance, are frequently required to perform work on buildings, which can be even more dangerous if there is an issue with the safety protocols.
In less dangerous professions, workers may fall downstairs and on slick surfaces. Workers who are older are especially susceptible to falls as well as to complications from a fall.
Heavy equipment accidents
Heavy equipment always poses an elevated risk in the workplace. Forklifts, automobiles, trucks and factory machines are sometimes involved in fatal workplace injuries. A worker may lack proper training, or they may experience fatigue while operating a vehicle or a potentially dangerous heavy machine.
In other cases, heavy equipment may malfunction and cause injury. If your family member sustained a fatal injury while working with heavy equipment, our Arizona attorneys can help you take the necessary steps to receive a workers’ comp settlement after death.
Arizona is an at-fault state when it comes to car accidents, meaning that liability for a collision is usually determined by the police officer—at least at first, before insurance adjusters and lawyers get involved. However, Arizona’s workers’ compensation law is a no-fault system, meaning you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits even if you caused the car accident (so long as you didn’t intentionally cause the accident).
In 2013 alone, work-related crashes cost employers $25 billion. In 2017, 47% of pedestrian worker fatalities occurred in just a few occupations: heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, construction (trades workers, laborers and highway maintenance), and grounds maintenance workers.
From 2003-2017, more than 27,000 workers in the U.S. died in a work-related motor vehicle crash.
If your loved one died due to a car accident while working, you may be entitled to benefits.
Who can receive workers’ comp death benefits?
In the event that a workplace accident causes a worker’s death, certain family members may be eligible to receive benefits to supplement the household’s loss of income. Relatives who are typically eligible to collect workers’ compensation death benefits include:
- Other family members who were financially dependent on the deceased
Every family and workers’ compensation case is different. Relatives who believe they automatically qualify for benefits sometimes don’t. On the other hand, family members who assume they are not eligible to receive benefits sometimes do.
If someone in your family has been killed in a workplace accident, you should speak with one of our experienced Arizona workers’ compensation lawyers.
How much does workers’ compensation pay for a work-related death?
Workers’ comp benefits typically pay up to 66 percent of the deceased’s salary at the time of the accident. Arizona allows the victim’s family to receive certain types of benefits, including compensation for medical expenses related to the accident, a maximum burial allowance of $5,000 and wage replacement benefits or payments related to temporary total disability.
Arizona workers’ comp laws are complex, which is why families need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help them file a workers’ comp death claim.
How much can each family member receive in benefits?
Eligible family members don’t all receive the same amount of benefits. Arizona workers’ comp laws specify percentages family members may receive, depending on their relation to the workplace accident victim.
Spouses typically receive benefits at a rate of 66.67 percent of the late spouse’s income, if the accident victim had no dependent children.
If the deceased worker had dependent children, the spouse may receive compensation at a rate of 35 percent. Children and stepchildren may receive benefits until age 22 if enrolled in school full-time. Children and stepchildren who are not full-time students may only receive benefits until age 18.
Parents who are wholly dependent on the deceased worker are also typically eligible to receive benefits. Both parents may receive benefits at a rate of 40 percent together. If only 1 parent is financially dependent on the workplace accident victim, the dependent parent may receive 40 percent.
In some cases, dependent siblings may receive benefits. If 1 dependent sibling is dependent, they may receive 25 percent. If 2 or more siblings are dependent on the deceased worker, the siblings may receive 35 percent collectively.
When to consult an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney
At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, we understand the complexities of Arizona’s workers’ comp laws. No matter what your family dynamic is, we will gather all the facts of your loved one’s case and fight for your rights to the compensation you deserve.