What happens when a loved one dies while working

| Jun 2, 2017 | Blog |

It’s the kind of worst-case scenario no one wants to consider. After months or years of leaving for work every morning, one day your loved one doesn’t come back home. Many times, when someone dies at work, it’s because they worked in a high risk industry, like professional driving, construction or one of many positions on an oil rig. Other times, an accident with machinery or an equipment failure could result in fatalities at even the safest of manufacturing or even retail jobs. Whatever the cause of death, it is still traumatic to lose someone you love due to a workplace incident.

Not only do you and your family have to adjust to life without someone you love, your finances are almost certainly going to be impacted. If the person who died at work was your household’s primary wage earner, it could change your quality of life and ability to provide for your family. Losing a spouse or parent to a work accident is difficult. You shouldn’t have to compound that with additional losses, such as losing your home or your vehicle because you are unable to pay for your monthly expenses. Thankfully, workers’ compensation offers benefits to families who have suffered a work-related loss.

Workers’ compensation will pay benefits after a death

Texas has specific rules and protections in place in the event of a workplace fatality. There are special benefits inside the workers’ compensation program, called death benefits, that your family can access after a loss. Those who may qualify for these benefits include a surviving spouse, minor children, children under the age of 25 enrolled in school, dependent grandchildren and other family members and non-dependent parents if there are no other beneficiaries in need of the benefit. You are eligible for the benefit the day after the death, but you must file within one year to receive them.

The duration of benefits depends on the situation. A dependent spouse will receive benefits for the rest of his or her life, unless the surviving spouse remarries. At the time of remarrying, the spouse will receive a lump sum benefit equivalent to two years of benefits. If there are dependent children, the benefit may get split among the spouse and all dependent children. Children will receive benefits until the age of 18 or 25 if they are enrolled in an accredited school. Children with physical or mental disabilities can receive benefits for the rest of their lives, or until the disability ends.

An attorney can help you obtain the benefits you deserve

It can be difficult to handle applications and paperwork when you’re grieving. Working with an experienced Texas attorney who understands workers’ compensation, personal injury and wrongful death cases can make the whole process simpler. From applying for benefits to reviewing if employer negligence contributed to the death, an attorney can help your family in a number of ways after a workplace fatality.