I Lost A Loved One At Work – What Now?
Workers’ compensation covers most injuries sustained at work, and can give a family peace of mind if their breadwinner suddenly gets hurt. However, if someone loses their life at work, families may not be aware that Florida’s workers’ compensation system requires benefits be paid to them, provided that the incident meets certain criteria. If you have experienced the tragedy of losing a loved one, it is obvious that money will never close the wound – but workers’ compensation benefits can help keep a family afloat while they grapple with the shock.
Specific Benefits Required
Unlike many other states’, Florida’s workers’ compensation law is fairly straightforward regarding death at work. If death occurs within 1 year of an accident, or within 5 years if the worker became disabled before their passing, the employer is required to pay benefits. The statute requires:
- Funeral expenses, to be paid within 14 days of receiving the bill, for up to $7,500;
- Payment of “postsecondary student fees” for up to 1,800 classroom hours, or 80 credit hours of education for the surviving spouse; and
- Monetary compensation for a number of weeks, until the amount reaches $150,000 or 66 ⅔ percent of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage.
While it is important to keep in mind that the deceased person’s immigration status is irrelevant in terms of being entitled to benefits, there are criteria that must be met in order for the surviving family to qualify. The deceased worker had to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in the first place, and the injury that led to their passing had to occur on the job, though not necessarily on their employer’s premises.
Am I Eligible For Benefits?
If you have suffered through the loss of a loved one, be aware that not everyone can formally apply for death benefits, though the list is wide. Florida law allows a handful of people related to the deceased by either blood or marriage to file claims – a surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren are the most common – if they can demonstrate that they directly depended on the deceased for support.
It is also important to keep in mind that while the benefits that a bereaved family can receive are fairly straightforward under Florida law, this does not mean that they will be immediately available. The process by which one claims workers’ compensation death benefits can be time-consuming, which can be difficult for a family that needs time to adjust to a new reality. An attorney on your side can make all the difference.
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Nothing will prepare a person for losing a loved one, but workers’ compensation benefits exist to help a family stay in good financial shape while they adjust to a new reality. An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help guide you and yours through the legal process to give you a better chance at the compensation your family deserves. Call our office today for a free consultation.