When a workplace injury causes a worker’s death, the spouse, children and other dependents may be entitled to benefits through Maryland’s workers’ compensation system. If you lost a loved one because of a workplace accident, there are several things you should know about death benefits, including who is eligible, the amount of compensation and the duration of benefits.
Goldberg Finnegan’s Silver Spring workers’ compensation lawyers can answer your questions about death benefits and assist you in pursuing what you are entitled. Request a free, no obligation consultation today to learn more about your legal options.
Who Can Recover Death Benefits?
In most cases, a surviving spouse is owed workers’ compensation death benefits. Some exceptions include:
- If the spouse deserted the decedent for 12 months from the date of the on-the-job ailment
- If the spouse deserted the decedent at any time after the work-related injury or disablement occurred
- If the spouse and decedent were married after the accident or disablement date, or they do not have dependent children
Surviving dependents are not entitled to death benefits if they became dependent on the decedent after the first compensable disability occurred. This does not apply to children born to the decedent after the first occurrence or children from a marriage that was in place when the disability began.
How Much Are Death Benefits Worth?
Death benefits are paid for reasonable funeral expenses up to $7,000.
Surviving spouses or children solely dependent on the decedent at the time of death will receive weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage – dependents cannot receive more than 100 percent of the limit set by the state. This benefit must be paid for the full period people are totally dependent or they have received $45,000 in benefits.
If a surviving spouse or children continue to be wholly dependent after receiving $45,000 in benefits, payments will continue at the same weekly rate for the length of time the spouse is completely dependent. If the spouse becomes able to partially support his or herself, payments will continue under partial dependent provisions.
If surviving children can support themselves fully or partially, death benefit payments will be made until the children have received $45,000. At age 18, death benefits cease unless the child is wholly dependent and incapable of supporting his or herself due to a mental or physical disability or other reason deemed sufficient by the Workers’ Compensation Commission, or if the child is under age 23 and a full-time student of an accredited school.
How Long do Death Benefits Last?
If a spouse who is wholly dependent remarries and does not have dependent children at the time of the marriage, payments cease two years after the date of remarriage. If a partially-dependent spouse without dependent children remarries, death benefit payments will continue for two years from the date of remarriage. However, the total amount of payments cannot be more than $75,000.
Contact Our Trusted Attorneys for Help
If your loved one was killed in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to death benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. Our workers’ compensation lawyers will assist you in pursuing the benefits your family deserves. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today. Our attorneys will review your case and inform you of your legal options. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.