Kane County Attorneys for Workers' Compensation Death Benefits
Death Benefit Lawyers for Family Members of Illinois Workers
If an injury or illness that occurred in an employee's workplace ultimately ends in death, family members or dependents of the employee can receive death benefits through the Illinois workers' compensation system. Knowledgeable workers' compensation attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can help advise you about the death benefits you're entitled to through workers' compensation laws.
It is important to understand the law regarding death benefits in your state. The rights and details of workers' compensation death benefits vary from state to state, so knowing the law in your particular jurisdiction is crucial in helping you collect the benefits. The following sections will help to explain the features found throughout most states.
In most states, there are two main relationships which workers' compensation death benefits concerns itself with:
- Members of the family or household of the deceased
The idea behind death benefits is to help provide monetary support for those who are affected the most by the employee's death. The two beneficiaries mentioned above are presumably the people to whom the death will have a significantly negative impact. However, in some cases, state law differentiates between people who are wholly dependent on the deceased versus those who are partially dependent. Some states prefer to name the completely dependent people as recipients of the death benefits, leaving the partially dependent to receive reduced awards.
If you are a spouse or child of the deceased employee, there are some instances where you are considered a dependent without having to provide proof. In the case of a voluntary marital separation, however, if the spouse has financial independence, they may not be considered a dependent.
Family relationships or household makeup are important in many states in determining who is eligible to receive death benefits. In certain states, they may have a list of familial relationships that can be considered for being a beneficiary. In such cases, household members such as in-laws, stepchildren or stepparents, or unmarried but co-habitating partners and even sometimes unrelated persons may be able to qualify for death benefits. As long as the people can prove they were living with the deceased, they can qualify, especially if they were financially dependent on the employee at the time of death.
Given that the death benefits have somewhat of a benevolent nature, states are usually very liberal in naming beneficiaries.
Types of Death Benefits and Award Amounts
Usually, the beneficiaries will receive monetary support that helps with the expenses associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased. The amount offered for these expenses varies greatly between the states, and there is usually a cap on how much money can be received. Beneficiaries will also receive a percentage of the deceased's weekly wages.
There is no set rule as to how long a recipient will receive death benefits. Some states will give a surviving spouse benefits until the spouse's own death. Other states will only give benefits for a certain number of weeks, or until the spouse remarries or enters another intimate relationship. If the beneficiary of the benefits is a child, they will usually receive compensation until they become of age. If there are other dependents receiving benefits, they will either continue throughout the dependent's life, or until they are considered to be financially independent.
Certain states require the death of the employee to occur in a set length of time after the work injury or after the last treatment of the injury in order for the death benefits to be received. In some instances, there must be a continuous disability in the employee from the time of their injury to the time of their death.
The death itself does not have to stem directly from the injury or illness. The main prerequisite is solely that the injury or illness contributed significantly to the death.
Separation of Benefits
Death benefits awarded to beneficiaries of the deceased are a separate entity than the workers' compensation benefits for a living employee. If an employee is owed his or her regular workers' compensation benefits at the time of their death, these accrued benefits are normally directed to either pass through the deceased's estate or to his or her dependents. Death benefits are separate claims.
If you are a dependent or a member of a deceased's household, contact the skilled workers' compensation lawyers at our firm. Many states have time limits for applying for death benefits. Our lawyers can assist you with legal advice regarding workers' compensation death benefits and filing an application to help you receive the death benefits to which you may be entitled. We offer convenient evening and weekend appointments and 3 locations including Naperville, Lombard, and Bloomingdale.