Will Workers’ Comp Provide Death Benefits if My Family Member Was Killed Due to a Work-Related Injury?
February 14th, 2023
If you have lost a loved one due to injuries sustained in a work-related accident, the grief and emotional pain you are feeling can be unbearable. Although no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back, it is important to understand that you may be entitled to certain financial benefits by filing a claim with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. These benefits can be crucial to the survivors of a work-accident victim to help ensure they are able to pay for their loved one’s funeral expenses and provide a stream of income.
What are L&I Death Benefits?
Losing a loved one to a work-related accident or illness can result in substantial economic loss for their survivors. Not only might they incur significant funeral and burial expenses, but they also suffer from loss of income that the family may have relied upon. If a workplace injury or occupational disease causes a worker to pass away, their surviving dependents should be entitled to receive monetary benefits from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
What L&I Benefits Are Available After a Work-Related Fatality?
If your loved one’s death was caused or accelerated by their job activity or exposure to harmful substances in the workplace, you should file an L&I claim. In doing so, you may be entitled to receive the following benefits:
- One-time immediate cash payment — A one-time cash payment will be made to the victim’s spouse or another dependent in the amount of 100% of their average monthly wage.
- Burial benefits and funeral expenses — Burial benefits and funeral expenses are available after a death in connection with a job-related accident or illness.
- Monthly survivor benefits — A surviving spouse or registered domestic partner can receive a portion of the victim’s wages at the time the injury occurred, up to the maximum amount
Not all fatalities that happen on the job result in a viable L&I claim. It is essential to understand whether you qualify for these benefits, based on the facts and circumstances of your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one passed away during work hours from a heart attack or another cause unrelated to their job function, L&I benefits may not be applicable. However, if the heart attack was caused by the performance of an unusual physical exertion, a valid L&I claim may exist.
Additionally, if the death was caused by a car accident during their commute to or from the workplace, L&I benefits might not be available, but you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. In some cases, it may be possible to file both an L&I death benefit claim and a wrongful death claim against a third party who should be held accountable. It is best to discuss your specific case with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney who can best advise you regarding your options and eligibility for survivor benefits.
Filing for L&I Death Benefits in Washington
There is a strict statute of limitations in place when it comes to filing an L&I death claim — failure to do so before the deadline can result in loss of the benefits. Typically, a dependent has one year to file from the date of the worker’s death if it arose due to an accident-related injury. Dependents have two years or more to file a death claim for an occupational illness.
It is crucial to ensure you complete the application thoroughly and submit it before the statute of limitations expires. In addition to the worker’s death certificate, you will also need a copy of your marriage certificate and the birth certificates of any children under the age of 23 who may be eligible for benefits.
Contact an Experienced Washington Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you lost a loved one to a work-related accident or occupational disease, it is crucial to have an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney by your side who can guide you through the L&I claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve. The Bellingham Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Robinson & Kole provide dedicated representation to injured workers and their families throughout Washington State and work to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved in each case. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.
Categories: Workers' Compensation