Workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault system that makes sure workers who are injured or who contract an illness while on the job can receive compensation.
If you are injured while on the job, you can receive benefits to compensate for medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident or illness. What you may not realize is that workers’ compensation will also cover death benefits in the state of Florida.
When a worker passes away while performing their job, their dependents can apply to receive death benefits. These are also referred to as “dependency” benefits. If you believe you qualify for these benefits or have questions about them, our legal team at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A. is ready to help. Hiring our legal team to help with workers’ comp death benefits will help ensure you get the compensation deserved.
Applying for Death Benefits in Florida
When workers are fatally injured because of a work-related accident, their dependents can receive death benefits. While this is true, the death of the worker must have taken place within one year of the workplace accident.
If work-related accidents cause a disability that leads to the person’s death, then the person’s dependents can still receive death benefits. In this situation, the death had to have occurred within a period of five years of the corresponding accident.
According to Florida Statues 440.19, any claim for dependents or others to claim death benefits has to be filed within a period of two years of a death that results from a work-related illness or injury. If you fail to file the claim within this time period, then you will lose the right to do so and to receive benefits as a dependent.
Who Is Legally Allowed to Apply for Death Benefits?
Generally, death benefits can be given to dependents who are related to the deceased worker by marriage or blood. What this means is that the person’s spouse, siblings, parents, children, grandchildren, and grandparents are all qualified to apply for these death benefits in Florida.
Even though this is the case, it must be shown that the applicant was a dependent of the worker who passed away. In some situations, you may also have to prove that you were living with the worker when they passed, as their dependent.
The number of benefits that can be received depends on who is qualified to receive them. Here you can see how much is considered payable to the various dependents of a worker who has passed away because of a workplace injury or illness:
- Spouse: For the surviving spouse of a deceased worker, they can receive up to 50% of the average weekly wage of the individual before they pass.
- Children and spouse: Workers who have a spouse and one or more children can all receive the death benefits. As mentioned above, the spouse receives 50% of the total average weekly wage and may be eligible to receive an additional 16 2/3% of the person’s average weekly wage for the children.
- Children only: For a deceased worker who was not married, or if their spouse has also died, their dependent children can receive 33 1.3% of their former average weekly age. While this is true, the total benefits that children receive cannot legally surpass 66 1/3% of the original weekly wage earned by the deceased worker.
- No children or spouse: Sometimes, a worker passes away with no children or spouse. In these cases, death benefits can be given to the grandparents or parents of the person. When parents get the death benefits, they will receive 25% of the total average weekly wage, while grandparents get 15% of the average weekly wage.
In each of these situations, it is necessary to show that the person who is receiving the benefits was a dependent of the deceased worker. In fact, dependency is the decisive factor when it comes to someone being able to qualify to receive death benefits.
Additional Death Benefits Offered to Dependents
The death benefits above can be received by dependents of a worker who passes away due to an accident or illness that occurs at work. However, there are other benefits that may be recouped, as well.
It is required by law that an employer pay the actual funeral costs. However, there is a maximum for this benefit, which is $7,500. It’s required that these expenses are paid within just 14 days of the bill being received.
Additional Spousal Benefits
Surviving spouses can receive tuition payments too. Death benefits cover payments for up to 1800 hours at an approved career center or up to 80 semester hours at a local community college. In some cases, they may even receive a complete waiver of all associated fees.
Benefits of Hiring a Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have lost a loved one because of a work-related injury or illness and you are their dependent, then you may qualify for death benefits in the state of Florida. The process you must follow to apply for these benefits is somewhat complex, which is why you should hire our team of attorneys to help you get the workers’ comp death benefits you deserve.
Our attorneys are ready to help you and will ensure you get the maximum amount of benefits possible for your loss. We will also help you start receiving these benefits as soon as possible.
Do You Need Help Recovering Death Benefits from Your Loved One’s Workers’ Compensation Case?
At Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., our legal team has the experience and ability to help you get the death benefits you deserve. The first step is to reach out to our legal team to discuss your case. We are here to help and will provide you with the quality representation you need. Get in touch today to learn more.