Death is always an uncomfortable subject to discuss. When a loved one passes away due an accident or injury, it is essential for the deceased’s loved ones to be accounted for. Workers’ Compensation Law in Florida covers all dependents that lose a loved one in connection with a Workers’ Compensation accident. The statutory maximum for death benefits is $150,000 with an additional cap of $7,500 for funeral expenses. Dependents are defined as brothers, sisters, spouses, grandchildren, or parents. A dependent child or grandchild must be under the age of 18 unless he/she is enrolled in college. A dependent enrolled in college is eligible for benefits up until he/she reaches the age of 22.
Once dependency is established, the dependents must prove that their loved one sustained a death in “connection” with a Workers Compensation accident, a doctor’s negligence or some other type of occurrence. The sole determination after dependency is whether/not the injured worker sustained a Workers’ Compensation injury that caused death, accelerated death, and that it was the major contributing cause of the untimely passing.
Compensable Death Benefits
A textbook example of a compensable Death Benefit case is one in which an injured worker suffers a severe accident on the job that results in death. His dependents, whether it be his children, his spouse or the like will be compensated based on his average weekly wage (66 2/3 of his gross pay at his place of employment). Another example of a Death Benefit case would be one in which an injured worker sustains an accident, and on the way to the hospital passes away, or because of the negligence of a doctor, is unable to be resuscitated. Once again, the untimely death will afford his/her dependents Death Benefits under the Workers’ Compensation law.
Most of these cases are initially denied. In most situations, denials will occur because the medical records have yet to be dictated or the insurance company does not have enough information to establish if there are dependents. Discovery will afford your attorney the opportunity to take Depositions, and gather the necessary documents in order to prove dependency, and major contributing cause. It is essential to contact an experienced attorney regarding these important matters
by Barry Aronin, Esq.
Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A.
1645 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 550
West Palm Beach, FL 33401