Lawyers

Benefits for Dependents and Heirs

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Serving Orange County and Surrounding Areas

A death caused by a workplace injury or illness can have devastating financial consequences for the dependents of the deceased worker. If your spouse or relative lost his or her life while in the course of his or her job duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. While the death of a family member often causes hardships in every aspect of daily life, workers’ compensation benefits can help provide a deceased worker’s dependents with financial security. You should confer with an experienced Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether you are entitled to benefits for dependents and heirs. At the Law Office of Joseph Richards, our attorneys aggressively pursue the workers’ compensation benefits owed following a family member’s death. We have an office in Orange County and a second office in the Inland Empire, and we assist people seeking workers’ compensation benefits throughout Southern California.

Eligibility for Recovering Death Benefits

For an injury or illness to be considered work-related, it must arise out of and occur during the course and scope of employment. Injuries and illnesses can be caused by accidents or repeated exposure to certain conditions. Under California workers’ compensation law, if an employee suffers a workplace injury or illness and subsequently dies due to the injury or illness, certain individuals who were either partially or totally dependent on the deceased employee may be entitled to benefits. Any child of the deceased worker who is under the age of 18 and a spouse who earned $30,000 or less in the 12 months preceding the death may be deemed total dependents, while partial dependents may be determined based on whether the facts indicate that they relied on the deceased worker for financial support at the time of the injury. Close relatives of the employee, such as parents, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, siblings and in-laws, and members of the employee’s household, may be able to recover benefits as well.

Timeline for Applying for Benefits for Dependents and Heirs

Claims for workers’ compensation death benefits must be filed in a timely manner. In most cases, a claim for death benefits must be filed within one year from the date of the death. While dealing with a workers’ compensation claim may not be in the forefront of your mind following the death of your spouse or relative, it is important not to delay in pursuing benefits, since a failure to file a proper claim in a timely manner can result in the waiver of the right to benefits.

Recoverable Benefits

Eligible dependents are entitled to death benefits, which are calculated based on the number of total dependents who relied on the deceased employee for financial support. At the time of this writing, benefits are paid in the amount of $250,000 if there is one total dependent and no partial dependents, and $290,000 if there are one total dependent and one partial dependent, or two total dependents and any number of partial dependents. If there are three or more total dependents, the benefits paid are $320,000. In cases in which there are no total dependents but one or more partial dependents, the benefits owed are calculated based on the amount of financial support that the worker contributed each year to the partial dependents, but they cannot exceed $250,000.

Death benefits are paid in installments, in a manner similar to disability benefits. Dependents are also entitled to burial expenses up to $10,000. Any outstanding accrued workers’ compensation benefits owed to the deceased worker at the time of his or her death must be paid to the dependents as well. If the deceased worker left behind minor children, they may be entitled to benefits that continue until they reach the age of 18 or, if the child is incapacitated, until he or she dies, regardless of whether the maximum amount of benefits allowed under the statute has been paid. Determining who is entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits and how much each individual is entitled to receive is a complicated process. If you believe that you are owed workers’ compensation benefits due to the work-related death of your family member, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to assist you in pursuing your claim.

Set Up a Consultation With a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Orange County

The seasoned attorneys at the Law Office of Joseph Richards have the knowledge of California workers’ compensation law and the experience needed to assist with recovery of the benefits for dependents and heirs following the work-related death of a loved one. Our primary office is located in Orange County, and we have a second office in the Inland Empire. We represent people seeking workers’ compensation benefits following the workplace death of their spouse or relative in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Irvine, Moreno Valley, Corona, Temecula, El Centro, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, and San Diego. We assist people in other cities in Orange, Riverside, Imperial, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties as well. Contact us at (844) 562-2667 or via our online form to schedule a consultation.

Client Reviews
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Taletha H. I'm glad i choose the Law Office of Joseph E Richards, because they were informative about my case, very professional,and i won my case, i will do business again.
★★★★★
Susan Mr. Richards was one of three attorneys referred to me. He was the only attorney that took time to really listen to my situation to determine if he could help me. Mr. Richards is highly experienced, personable, and reassuring. The Law Office of Joseph E. Richards is tech savvy. He fights diligently for the best possible outcome for his clients. He handled my case easily. I would, without hesitation, refer my family, friends, and acquaintances to his law office.