What You Should Know About Death Benefits And Workers’ Compensation
Losing a loved one under any circumstances can be devastating, even if you know that there is nothing you or anybody could have done to save your family member. When a loved one’s death results from a workplace accident, the grief can be debilitating. Given that most workplace accidents and injuries are preventable, it can be shattering to learn that your spouse’s or parent’s death happened because of a lack of safety protocols on the job site or a failure to provide appropriate safety equipment. While it may be difficult to even consider the possibility of filing any type of claim when you are grieving the loss of a close family member, it is important to consider seeking death benefits through the Florida workers’ compensation system.
You may be able to obtain compensation that can help you to pay for your loved one’s funeral, for the medical costs your loved one incurred prior to death, and for the future losses you will experience without your family member’s income. An experienced South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can speak with you today about death benefits under Florida workers’ compensation law.
What Are Death Benefits?
Death benefits are workers’ compensation payments that are paid to a surviving spouse or dependents of an employee who is killed in a work-related accident or who dies as a result of a work-related illness. Death benefits can cover funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and lost wages.
Who Can Receive Death Benefits through the Florida Workers’ Compensation System?
Unlike wrongful death claims in Florida, which are civil lawsuits that can allow a variety of surviving family members or parties to be eligible to receive compensation, workers’ compensation death benefits can only be paid to specific individuals. Those individuals include:
- Child under the age of 18;
- Child under the age of 22 who is still a full-time student;
- Child who has a physical or mental disability, regardless of age, and cannot provide their own support;
- Parents of the deceased employee who relied on the employee for financial support only if the employee does not have a surviving spouse or children;
- Siblings of the deceased employee who relied on the employee for financial support only if the employee does not have a surviving spouse or children; or
- Grandchildren of the deceased employee who relied on the employee for financial support only if the employee does not have a surviving spouse or children.
Amount of Death Benefits Paid Under Florida Law
Death benefits can be paid on a weekly basis up to a maximum amount. The current maximum weekly benefit is $1,099 for workplace fatalities that occurred in or after 2022. The following are the amount of benefits that the parties listed above may be eligible to receive:
- Surviving spouse (with no surviving children dependents) can receive 50 percent of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage prior to the injury;
- Surviving spouse (with surviving children who are dependents) can receive 50 percent of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage prior to the injury plus an additional 16.7 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wage for the children; and
- Surviving child or children (but no surviving spouse) can receive 33.33 percent of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage per child, but the total amount paid out cannot equal more than 66.7 percent of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Do you need assistance seeking workers’ compensation benefits in South Florida and/or a lump sum settlement? Our workers’ compensation attorneys in West Palm Beach can help. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. today.