What happens if a Loved One dies due to a Work Accident?
Just a few weeks ago, the news reported that a construction worker died in an unusual work-related accident in Jersey City. A tape measure fell from a height of over fifty feet and landed on the decedent’s head. The impact was severe enough to kill him. The deceased worker left behind a wife and children. His family is likely wondering what happens when a loved one dies due to a work accident.
When a close relative dies under any circumstances, it is difficult. However, an individual’s death due to a work accident has special considerations. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workplace Development provides important information concerning work-related accidents that are result in a fatality.
If a person dies as a result of a work-related accident, the employer or its insurance company will contribute to funeral expenses. The maximum amount paid is $3500 and is presented to whomever is responsible for the burial fees. This means that it can be made payable to the decedent’s estate or someone else that is liable for the bill.
Dependency Claim Benefits
When a loved one dies because of a work accident, it is important to seek legal representation. If others were dependent upon the decedent’s wages, they may be eligible to receive a portion of lost income. The amount of reimbursement is determined by the average of the workers’ wages in the 26 weeks prior to his death. Generally speaking, 70% of the average is divided among the surviving dependents. However, there is a maximum amount of money afforded under this section of workers compensation laws.
Certain family members who lived with the decedent at the time of his death are considered dependents. This would definitely include a surviving spouse and natural children (including those who are adopted) under the age 18. It would also extend to age 23 for the decedent’s children who were attending school full time and still part of the household.
The law prolongs the term “dependents” to include additional relatives, such as stepchildren, parents, and other family members. In order for these individuals to make a claim for dependency benefits, they must be able to demonstrate to the court that they were dependent upon the decedent for support.
Surviving spouses of state police or members of fire or police departments who die in the line of duty receive different compensation.
Know Your Rights
If your loved one died due to a work accident, it is crucial that you find experienced legal representation. Beninato & Matrafajlo has handled dependency claims for over three decades. Call us to discuss your rights for this type of case.