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Fatal Injuries and Workers’ Comp Death Benefits

Family life insurance

The sudden death of a loved one is always difficult, emotional, and confusing. When the deceased person was the primary breadwinner of the family, the associated financial insecurity adds insult to injury in a situation that is already fraught. Continue reading to learn about workers’ compensation death benefits after a fatal workplace injury, and discuss your claim with a skilled Southern California workers’ compensation attorney if you need help with a workers’ compensation matter on behalf of yourself or a deceased family member.

What are death benefits?

Death benefits are one of six basic types of workers’ compensation benefits that exist under California law. Death benefits are paid out to a deceased worker’s dependents after a fatal workplace accident. The accident can involve defective scaffolding, a slip and fall, a traffic accident, exposure to toxic chemicals, or any other fatal incident that is connected to an employee’s job.

Who can claim death benefits?

Death benefits are owed to the familial survivors of a deceased employee. Typically, the benefits are owed to the surviving spouse and the employee’s children. Other dependents of the employee may qualify if they can show that they depended on the deceased employee for food, clothing, and other basic living expenses.

What do death benefits cover?

California law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to compensate employees in the event of an injury or fatal accident. Death benefits are intended to compensate the survivors of a deceased employee and ensure that they are cared for following the employee’s death.

Death benefits typically include:

Funeral expenses. In California, death benefits cover reasonable funeral expenses up to $5,000.

Lost wages. California workers’ compensation policies will compensate the employee’s survivors for the income the employee is no longer earning as a result of the accident. The family will be entitled to weekly financial support.

The amount and duration of the weekly payments will depend upon the classification of the worker’s occupation, the number of dependents, and the extent of their dependency. For example, dependents who have other sources of income may receive less than individuals who were completely dependent on the deceased employee. California has specific rules about how much each type of dependent can collect, based on who else is entitled to collect and the extent of their dependency. A knowledgeable California workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your claims and walk you through the benefits to which you are entitled and help ensure that you receive the maximum coverage to which you are entitled.


If your loved one was killed in a workplace accident or if you have a claim for workers’ compensation and want to make sure you get the maximum available coverage, call Invictus Law today at 949-287-5711 to have an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney evaluate your claims.

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