A work injury can happen unexpectedly and change the course of your life. Although work injuries occur most often in dangerous occupations such as construction, transportation, and warehouse positions, it’s important to be prepared for accidents to happen no matter where you work. Thankfully, most employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance.
It’s devastating when a work accident or injury turns fatal, but workers compensation also provides benefits to families in these difficult situations. A family in Iowa was grieving the loss of their loved one when he fell off a crane on the job. They immediately got in contact with an Iowa workers comp lawyer and began the claims process. Although no one wants to suffer such a traumatic loss, the loss is only made harder when financial distress follows.
Death Benefits Through Workers Comp
When an employee dies from a work injury, their family is entitled to death benefits. Although death benefits may vary depending on the state, the benefits usually equal a portion of the deceased employee’s pay for a specific period of time. In Iowa, for example, the death benefit is not to exceed 80 percent of the employee’s weekly spendable earnings. The maximum weekly death benefit a family can receive is $1543.
Dependents of the deceased are eligible to receive death benefits, with the surviving spouse being first on the list. The surviving spouse can receive the death benefit for life or until he/she is remarried. A dependent child can receive death benefits in lieu of a surviving spouse until they reach the age of 18 or the age of 25 if they’re truly dependent.
Other relatives may qualify for the death benefit if they can prove dependency. In addition to weekly death benefits, the family can receive compensation for burial expenses as well, but this benefit can’t exceed twelve times the average weekly wage in the state.
How to Get Approved for Workers Comp
To get approved for a workers comp claim, you must show that your deceased family member’s accident occurred while at work. You need not prove fault; however, you may have to show that the accident wasn’t the result of your spouse being under the influence.
When You Can Sue for Wrongful Death
There are circumstances when you can sue for wrongful death in a fatal workplace accident. If your deceased family member’s workplace accident was caused by a defective product, you can sue the product manufacturer for wrongful death. You can also sue your family member’s employer for wrongful death if you believe gross negligence caused the death.