Does Workers’ Comp Cover Death?
If your family member dies due to an accident at work, you’ll have a lot of emotions. Once the initial shock is over, you may be wondering if workers’ compensation in Virginia will pay for your family member’s death.
Workers’ Comp Death Benefits
Yes, Virginia workers’ comp will pay death benefits to dependent family members of someone who dies because of an accident at work.
What types of deathcount for death benefits?
Two types of death are covered by these benefits: a death actually at work due to the job, or a death due to an accident at work within nine (9) years of the accident happening.
If someone has a medical emergency unrelated to their job and dies, but happens to be at work, it does not count for workers’ comp death benefits. For example, a person has a desk job that is low-stress, both mentally and physically. If that person has a heart attack (or stroke, or aneurysm, or chokes, or has another medical emergency) and happens to be sitting at their desk at work, death benefits will not apply. The medical emergency did not happen because they were at work –they just as easily could have been at home when the emergency occurred.
If, however, someone dies because material was not properly secured and falls on their head at work, it does count for workers’ comp death benefits. The person could die immediately or could get a head injury and passaway up to nine (9) years later and their dependents would be eligible for death benefits in both cases.
Who counts as a dependent family member for death benefits?
Dependent family members are a short list, which includes spouses; all children under 18 (including stepchildren and adopted children); children under 23 who are full-time students; children over 18 who are disabled and can’t work; and parents (including stepparents and adoptive parents) with no other children to help and no other resources.
How much money are workers’ compensation death benefits?
Death benefits include up to $10,000 for funeral expenses and up to $1,000 for transporting the victim.
Dependent family members can also get part of the wage of the person who died. The family members are not entitled to the entire wage, and how many weeks they receive it depends on several different factors: who the family members are, how much of a dependent they qualify as, how long it has been since the accident, and other factors. How much money the family members get varies in each situation, and the total amount will be divided upbetween the dependents.
HammondTownsend is a Virginia workers' compensation law firm with offices located in Manassas, Richmond, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Fishersville and Charlottesville.
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