What happens if I pass away due to a work-related injury?
Two of the most difficult questions facing a worker and their loved ones are: “What happens if I pass away on the job, or because of declining health from an already existing workers’ compensation (“WC”) injury?” and “Are there any remedies for those that depend on me for support?” The answer to both questions is “yes.”
California’s workers’ compensation system provides for the recovery of WC death benefits to the decedent’s financial dependents. A financial dependent is someone that is monetarily supported by me at the time of my work injury or death on the job. Common examples of financial dependents are loved ones such as a spouse, significant other, children, relatives, and close friends. The financial dependent need not be an immediate family member or directly related to the injured worker by birth.
Time is of the Essence.
In the event of death, time is of the essence for your financial dependents to file their WC claim for death benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”). The WC insurance carrier will not notify the dependents of their right to file for death benefits. The insurance carrier will not file a claim on behalf of your financial dependents. There are strict timelines within which to file a WC death benefits claim. Failure to timely file the death benefits claim will forever bar the claim. Because of the strict timelines, financial dependents of the deceased should immediately contact Ford & Wallach to discuss filing a potential WC death benefits claim.
The workers’ compensation law provides for monetary recovery where there is at least one financial dependent and it is established that the death is due to an industrial cause. The industrial cause need not be limited to a tragic accident/event on the job or heart attack on the job that resulted in death. An industrial cause of death may also include the deterioration over time of the worker’s health from a WC injury while the injured worker was alive.
A financial dependent that timely files a WC death benefits claim and establishes death due to an industrial cause may recover up to $250,000. If there are three or more financial dependents, then the dependents may recover up to $320,000. The WC death benefits law also provides for up to $10,000 for burial expenses.
I have questions about workers’ comp and may need legal help…
There is no amount of money that can replace the loss of a loved one. Ford & Wallach offers a free consultation and is here to help those that have suffered the loss of their loved one. We will navigate a course through the WC system to obtain the maximum recovery possible under the WC laws. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will fight for all of the benefits you are entitled to. Contact us by email or call 213.380.3140.