Workers’ compensation is not reserved just for workplace accidents that cause minor to severe injuries. The program and its insurance benefits are also used when there is a fatal workplace accident that ends a worker’s life.
Death benefits are a specific type of workers’ compensation benefit that can be provided to the surviving family members of a worker who dies due to the injuries or illnesses suffered in a workplace accident. Each state uses a different system to determine the amount of death benefits that can be granted and why.
In Illinois, death benefits through workers’ comp can provide:
- Average weekly wages: Two-thirds of the average weekly wages that had been earned by the deceased in the weeks prior to their fatal accident can be given to their surviving family members. As of the first quarter of 2021, average weekly wages paid as death benefits must be at least $605.23 but cannot be more than $1,613.93. Wages will be paid regularly until 25 years pass or until $500,000 are paid to the claimants, whichever is greater.
- Burial expenses: Claimants can also be provided up to $8,000 in burial expenses through workers’ compensation death benefits. Burial expenses will only be paid if the burial’s costs are considered “reasonable,” as in not overly extravagant.
Who Benefits from Death Benefits?
In Illinois, only certain family members can get death benefits through workers’ compensation. Namely, spouses, children, and other named dependents are eligible to receive the weekly wage benefits and burial expenses. Parents, siblings, and others close to the deceased will not benefit, which could be a problem if the deceased was not married and was not a parent.
Furthermore, death benefits can end early if the deceased’s spouse remarries. Death benefits won’t continue unless she remarries into a family without any children eligible to receive the benefits, too.
Let Us Help You Better Understand Death Benefits
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for death benefits after losing a loved one in a workplace accident can be a harrowing and frustrating experience. You might not even know if you are eligible to receive death benefits, and the responding insurance company probably won’t be very helpful. To make sense of the situation and spare yourself some of the stress, it is highly advised that you hire a local workers’ compensation attorney to assist you.
Leonard Law Group in Chicago has been standing up for the families of injured and killed workers for decades. If you lost a loved one in an on-the-job accident, we would like to hear from you to see if we would be the right fit for your claim. Initial consultations are always free and confidential, so don’t hesitate to schedule one with our attorneys as soon as it is most convenient for you.