Every year, loved ones experience the pain and unspeakable anguish of losing a loved one in a work accident. According to California’s Department of Industrial relations, 376 California workers passed away because of a fatality that took place at work.
If you or a loved one is suffering from the reality of a lost family member due to an Orange County workplace accident, you do not have to go through this period alone. The Ledger Law Firm will protect your legal rights and make sure you make the correct legal decisions during this stressful period.
To that end, here is a brief overview of whether you can receive financial assistance because of a loved one’s work-related death.
How to Determine If You Are Entitled to Survivorship Benefits
With the help of an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney, you can determine whether a family member’s passing entitles you to financial benefits and assistance. California law determines who can be classified as surviving dependents that are eligible for survivorship benefits.
California law says that dependents can be either totally dependent or partially dependent on the deceased loved one for financial support. Some dependents are automatically treated as “total” dependents under California law, such as:
- Minor children under 18 years of age
- Children, regardless of age, who are physically or mentally limited in a way that renders them incapable of earning a living
- A spouse who earned $30,000 or less in income over the 12 months prior to the worker’s passing
For others wishing to claim dependent status, additional facts and information are needed to make a determination on dependent status. Generally, California law requires other dependents to be:
- A relative through marriage, adoption or blood
- A member of the worker’s household
- Reliant on the deceased worker for either partial or full financial support
As such, non-automatic total dependents who are still capable of receiving total or partial dependent status can include:
- Elderly family members, such as siblings or parents
- Disabled family members
- Similar family members in need of full or partial support financially
Once you qualify as a total or partial dependent, this will inform how death benefits are paid.
Understanding Workers’ Comp Death Benefits for Dependents
California law pays death benefits based on the number of dependents who are eligible to receive compensation. Generally, if the injuries that led to death occurred after January 1, 2006, then compensation is based on the following allocations:
- $250,000 for a single total dependent
- $290,000 for two total dependents
- $320,000 if there are three or more total dependents
These payments are typically made over time, and will not be less than $224 per week.
For partial dependents, money is awarded only if:
- There are no total dependents of the deceased worker
- There is only one total dependent
If there is a single total dependent, then partial dependents generally receive compensation that is four times greater than what they received from the worker over a one-year period.
These are just a few of the many complex issues that are involved in an Orange County work-related death claim. Loved ones have a limited time to file a claim to receive these benefits, so contact The Ledger Law Firm to take decisive action that will get you the compensation you need.