What are the rights of a family after their loved one passes from a workplace injury or illness?
The most tragic of all workplace injuries or exposures are the ones that result in the death of the worker. In addition to the tremendous personal loss, these deaths leave surviving family members in financial turmoil.
Recently there were two work related deaths at an Amazon warehouse in Avenel, New Jersey. OSHA is investigating these deaths to determine the cause. However, for purposes of New Jersey workers compensation law, the cause of the deaths is not relevant. New Jersey is a No Fault state as relates to workers' comp. As long as the work effort caused the workers’ deaths, their dependents will be entitled to dependency benefits.
Certain family members are presumed to be dependents of the deceased worker. This includes spouses and children (either under eighteen years of age or under twenty-three years of age and a full-time student). All other individuals have to prove actual financial dependence.
The total amount due to all dependents is 70% of the deceased worker’s wages. The initial payment period for a surviving spouse is 450 weeks. If she never remarries, she will receive payments for the rest of her life. If she does remarry, she will receive any benefits remaining in the first 450 week period or an amount equal to 100 weeks of payments, whichever is less. The insurance carrier must also pay all medical bills related to the deceased worker’s accident or exposure. Finally, insurance is responsible for funeral expenses up to a maximum of $3,500.
If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation dependency benefits. Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr., has over twenty years of experience fighting for the rights of workers and their families. Let us take care of the legalities so you can focus on recovering from your loss. Please don’t hesitate to contact us; call us at (973) 285-1100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.