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Workers’ Comp Death Benefits

Concept of insurance

Every employee in California is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp covers medical costs associated with a workplace injury, a portion of the worker’s missed wages, and other benefits such as job displacement training. If a worker is killed in an accident on the job, however, what happens? Are the worker’s family and estate left without recourse?

Below, our seasoned California workers’ comp attorney explains how workers’ compensation death benefits work under California law. Continue reading to learn about workers’ comp death benefits and how they operate in California, and if your loved one was killed in an on-the-job accident, call our knowledgeable Orange County workers’ comp legal team for advice and assistance.

What are Death Benefits?

Death benefits are workers’ comp benefits paid to the dependents of a worker who was killed on the job.

Who is Entitled to Workers’ Comp Death Benefits?

Workers’ comp benefits do not go to just any relative of the deceased worker. Benefits are due to the employee’s “total dependents” and their “partial dependents.” Total and partial dependents of a worker are entitled to workers’ comp benefits if the worker is killed in an accident on the job.

Dependents typically include the worker’s spouse and children. The spouse of a deceased employee who earned $30,000 or less in the year leading up to the death is considered a total dependent. Any children of the deceased who are under the age of 18 are also total dependents, as well as adult children who are unable to earn a living due to mental or physical incapacitation.

Other relatives may be considered for death benefits if they were totally or partially dependent on the deceased employee for financial support and were a part of the deceased worker’s household. Relatives that may qualify include:

  • Spouses
  • Children (biological, adopted children, and stepchildren)
  • Parents and siblings
  • Nieces and nephews
  • Grandchildren
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles

How Much is Available in Workers’ Comp Death Benefits?

The amount of the death benefit available to beneficiaries depends on the number of people who claim to be supported by the deceased worker. Death benefits are calculated as a flat sum to beneficiaries, typically paid in monthly installments over several years. The breakdown of benefits is as follows:

  • One total dependent can receive $250,000.
  • If there’s a total dependent and partial dependents, the total dependent will receive $250,000 and the partial dependents will receive up to $25,000.
  • If there’s a partial dependent and no total dependents, the partial dependent can receive up to $250,000, depending on their level of dependence.
  • Two total dependents will split $290,000. If there are two or more total dependents, then no partial dependents will receive any benefits.
  • Three or more total dependents will split $320,000.

Regardless of the number of dependents, the parties can collect up to $10,000 for funeral and burial expenses.

Need Help Collecting Your Workers’ Death Benefits? Contact Invictus Law Today!

Understanding and acquiring the workers’ compensation that you rightfully deserve can be difficult, particularly if you are trying to collect benefits as the family member of a deceased accident victim. If you are located in or around the Orange County, California area and need to understand your rights better, please consider contacting our legal experts at Invictus Law. We’re dedicated to helping you understand and obtain all of the compensation you may be entitled to under California’s workers’ comp rules. Also, please consider exploring our wide selection of other educational resources to access critical legal information.

Are you searching for an accomplished worker’s comp attorney in the Orange County area to take on your unique case? Please consider contacting our team of experts at Invictus Law today to learn about our tried-and-true services and how we can help get everything settled quickly.

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