Virginia has several different types of compensation, or money, that you may receive after you have been injured at work and have filed a worker’s compensation claim. The names of several of them sound similar, and it can be difficult to understand what each one means. This part of the series explains Death Benefits.
If a person has been killed at work or died due to an accident at work within nine (9) years of the accident happening, their dependent family members may be entitled to benefits. Death benefits are available to the person’s:
• Husband or wife
• Children under age 18
• Children under 23 who are full-time students in an accredited school
• Children over 18 who are physically or mentally disabled and are unable to work
• Parents “in destitute circumstances” with no other children to help
Separated or estranged spouses may not be eligible. Stepchildren, adopted children, and unborn children qualify, but children who have married do not qualify. Similarly, stepparents and adoptive parents count as parents. A copy of the death certificate, as well as relevant marriage and birth certificates, will be required.
The death benefits that the dependents are entitled to are funeral expenses up to $10,000 and transportation expenses for the victim up to $1,000.
The dependents are also entitled to a portion of the victim’s wages. The amount given is equal to 66-2/3% of the victim’s average weekly wage, as long as that amount is between 25% and 100% of the average weekly wage for the Commonwealth of Virginia overall. The number of weeks that the dependents receive this wage benefit depends on if the dependent family members are qualify as total, wholly, or partial dependents, and are either 500 weeks from the date of injury (about 9.5 years) or 400 weeks from the date of injury (about 7.5 years). If no other dependents such as a spouse or children are around, then dependent parents qualify for up to 400 weeks of benefits from the date of injury.
If the victim has been receiving disability benefits before their death, the number of weeks their dependents receive benefits will be reduced by the number of weeks they have already received. As an example, a single mom has been severely injured at work, and receives Permanent and Total Disability Benefits. After receiving the benefits for 98 weeks, she passes away due to her condition stemming from the accident at work. Her three minor children are entitled to just 402 weeks of benefits, because the number of weeks she received the benefit is subtracted from the amount of weeks of benefit. 500 weeks total of benefit – 98 weeks she used = 402 weeks left for her children.
The benefits will be divided equally among the dependents. If a man is killed at work and has a wife and two young children, for example, the wife will receive one-third (1/3) of the total benefit and the children will each receive one-third (1/3) of the total benefit. In this case the dependents would be deemed as totally dependent, and would receive the wage benefit for 500 weeks, or about 9.5 years.
HammondTownsend can help you get the compensation you deserve after you’ve been hurt at work. Call 888-580-9048 for a free consultation.