Work-related injuries range from minor to severe but in some cases may result in worker death. If an individual suffers a work-related injury or illness that ultimately results in his or her death, the deceased worker’s dependents may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. A knowledgeable Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer can explain whether you may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. The attorneys at the Law Office of Joseph Richards will analyze the facts of an injured worker’s case to assess who is entitled to recover compensation and which benefits any dependents are owed. Our main office is in Orange County, and we have a second office in the Inland Empire, from which we represent claimants in cases throughout Southern California.Proving That a Death is Work-Related
Worker death can happen in any profession, but they frequently occur due to falls, car accidents, and occupational illnesses. To be eligible to recover benefits, a party must prove that the injury or illness that resulted in a loved one’s death was work-related. Under California workers’ compensation law, this means that a party must prove that it is more likely than not that the injury or illness occurred in the course and scope of a loved one’s employment. It is not necessary, however, to prove that the deceased victim’s employer’s negligence caused the death in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
In some cases, such as when the injury is caused by a workplace accident, proving the cause of death can be straightforward. At other times, a party may need to collect facts and evidence and obtain a medical expert to offer an opinion that a family member’s death was caused by a work-related injury or illness. This occurs more frequently in cases involving illnesses caused by exposure to certain conditions or chemicals in the workplace. Proving that a death was caused by a work-related injury or illness can be a complex and prolonged process. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney can gather the information needed to establish the nature of a loved one’s death and assist in recovering benefits.Who Can Recover Benefits
The California Labor Code sets forth provisions regarding who may recover workers’ compensation death benefits and which benefits eligible parties may recover. Only individuals who were totally or partially financially dependent on the deceased employee at the time of his or her death are entitled to recover benefits. Generally, these include spouses, children, and members of the deceased employee’s household, but the definition can be extended to include other relatives, such as parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. If the deceased employee had a minor dependent, a trustee or guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the child’s interests in the workers’ compensation claim. In many cases, the trustee or guardian ad litem is the child’s parent, but might be any competent adult.
At the time of this writing, workers’ compensation death benefits are paid in intervals, at a rate not less than $224 per week. The amount of benefits paid to each dependent is calculated based on the number of total and partial dependents. If there are any total dependents, statutory provisions set forth the amount to be distributed to each total dependent, as well as which benefits, if any, are paid to partial dependents. If there are only partial dependents, the death benefits will be divided among them in an amount that corresponds with the extent of their dependency. However, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board may deviate from the statutory provisions regarding payment of death benefits and distribute benefits to the dependents in a manner that it finds to be fair and just, reflecting the dependents’ individual needs. Benefits may be paid directly to the beneficiaries or to a guardian or trustee appointed to manage the benefits for the beneficiaries.Consult a Knowledgeable Orange County Attorney Following a Fatal Accident
At the Law Office of Joseph Richards, our attorneys are well versed in California workers’ compensation laws and may assist with navigating the complicated process of pursuing workers’ compensation death benefits. We represent people seeking to recover worker death benefits in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Irvine, Moreno Valley, Corona, Temecula, El Centro, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, and San Diego, as well as other cities in Orange, Riverside, Imperial, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, the Inland Empire, and San Diego Counties. We can guide injured workers and their families through each step of the process and work tirelessly to help recover the maximum benefits entitled. Set up a consultation by contacting us at (844) 562-2667 or via our online form.