Workers’ comp covers many different situations. Some work-related injuries and illnesses are minor and the injured person is able to return to work after a few days or weeks. Others are so serious that the individual, unfortunately, loses their life. If your loved one was killed in a workplace accident or succumbed to an occupational disease, you may be struggling to come to terms with a number of things.
Not only will you be mourning the loss of the individual but you may be left with a financial burden, especially if they were the sole breadwinner. You may also have to deal with funeral and burial expenses, outstanding medical bills, estate taxes, unpaid debt, probate fees, and more.
Facing up to all this will be difficult but you shouldn’t despair. As long as your loved one’s death was linked to their job, you should be able to claim death benefits under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Contrary to what many people believe, workers’ comp doesn’t only cover people who suffer non-fatal injuries. However, getting the benefits you deserve can be difficult. To improve your chances of getting benefits, you should talk to a Florida workers’ comp lawyer.
Who Can Apply for Workers’ Comp Death Benefits?
Only certain people can access death benefits in Florida. Generally, these are spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. If you fall into one of these categories and you depended on the deceased person for financial support, you may be able to claim benefits. In some cases, you may have to prove you also resided with the individual. You’ll need to file your application for benefits with the Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims.
The total amount that can be paid to dependents in Florida is $150,000. This includes funeral expenses of up to $7,500 plus weekly benefits. However, the amount of benefits you can receive will depend on your relationship with the worker. A surviving spouse can receive 50 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage. If they remarry, they may receive a lump-sum payment equal to 50 percent of the deceased’s weekly wages for a projected period of 26 months.
If the couple had dependent children, the spouse can also get 16 2/3 percent of the individual’s average weekly wage on the children’s behalf as well as educational benefits. However, the law gives the judge discretion to act in the best interests of all the parties involved so there may be some variation. If you want to ensure you’re treated fairly, you should seek advice from a Florida workers’ comp lawyer. If the deceased has dependent children but no surviving spouse, the children are eligible to receive 33 1/3 of their average weekly wage.
Dependent children are children who are:
- Under the age of 18
- Under the age of 22 and enrolled in full-time education
- Unable to support themselves because of physical or mental challenges
In a case where the deceased worker has no spouse or child, their parents or grandchildren can claim benefits. Parents get 25 percent of the average weekly wage while eligible siblings or grandchildren can receive 15 percent.
When Can I Apply For Workers’ Comp Death Benefits?
In order for an employee’s death to be covered by workers’ compensation, it must occur within a year of an accident or within five years of an occupational disease or an accident that caused continuous disability leading to death. Typically, you will need to file your claim for death benefits within two years of learning that your loved one’s death was related to their job. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to get compensation.
Schedule a Consultation With Work Injury Rights Today!
If your loved one died because of a work-related injury or illness and you are a dependent, you may qualify for death benefits under Florida’s workers’ compensation scheme. No amount of money will bring your loved one back but adequate compensation can make it easier to manage the household following the individual’s passing.
However, the process of getting these benefits can be complex and drawn out. If you want to improve your chances of getting full compensation, the Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Work Injury rights can help you. We’ll ensure you gather all the required documentation, file your claim correctly, and receive fair treatment. We have several years of experience in handling cases like this so contact us today to book a consultation.