Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Death in Massachusetts?
Workers’ compensation provides support for injured workers after work-related accidents. Unfortunately, some accidents are so severe that the injured worker does not survive. These kinds of accidents tend to be more frequent in dangerous lines of work, like construction or jobs involving heavy machinery. However, a slip and fall on the stairs could cause the death of a worker too. When this happens, the deceased employee’s family may take advantage of death benefits.
Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system supports workers who recover from their injuries and the families of workers who tragically died in the line of duty. Death benefits provide support for families who otherwise relied on the deceased worker for financial support. In some families, one person is the sole breadwinner for the entire household. If that person dies as a result of a work-related accident, the entire household may struggle.
If your spouse or parent died in a work-related accident, you might be able to claim death benefits as part of workers’ compensation. Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can help you get the compensation your family deserves. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to set up a free legal consultation.
Does Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts Cover Death Benefits?
In short, yes, death benefits may be claimed as part of workers’ compensation. Families often do not realize that even though their loved one is no longer here, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through their deceased loved one’s job. It is a good idea to speak with an attorney after the death of a loved one due to a work-related accident. Any dependents, primarily spouses and children, may take advantage of death benefits. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers can assist you.
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 152, § 31, death benefits include weekly compensation equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly salary. However, weekly benefits are capped at the average weekly wage for the state at the time of the worker’s death. This may mean that the death benefits for someone who earned a very high income will probably be a bit less than their actual weekly salary. Benefits must also be at least $110 per week, which may be very helpful for the families of workers who earned lower incomes.
More money may be included in each weekly compensation depending on how many children the surviving spouse had with the deceased worker. Children of the deceased worker from previous marriages may also take advantage of workers’ compensation death benefits. Call our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers about your case as soon as possible.
How Do I Claim Death Benefits from Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts?
To claim death benefits as part of a workers’ compensation claim, you must be the spouse or dependent of someone who died in a work-related accident. Your deceased loved one must also meet the necessary criteria to have been eligible for worker’s compensation while they were alive.
A worker must be considered an employee under the law to be eligible for workers’ compensation. The legal definition of an employee is very broad and includes most workers in Massachusetts. However, self-employed people or those who work as independent contractors are not considered employees and must buy their own workers’ compensation insurance to be eligible for benefits.
Employees who fit the definition of an employee under the law are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In Massachusetts, all employers are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. You may file a claim with your deceased loved one’s employer to begin collecting death benefits. If you believe you may qualify for a death benefits claim, contact our Somerville workers’ compensation attorneys for help.
Why Are Workers’ Compensation and Death Benefits Important in Massachusetts?
Workers’ compensation benefits are helpful because they allow workers to continue collecting paychecks and earning a wage while recovering from work-related accidents. These benefits may seem pointless if the employee is no longer around to collect them, but the employee’s family may also benefit from compensation. As strange as it is to say, death is not cheap. When a loved one dies, there are numerous expenses incurred by families. Death benefits can help ease the financial burden placed on workers’ families.
Death benefits claimed through workers’ compensation can assist families with burial expenses. Funerals and burials can be very expensive, often costing thousands of dollars. Death benefits also allow dependents, like spouses and children, to continue receiving necessary financial support. Benefits provide support for children or spouses who may have no other means of support, such as those who are mentally or physically incapable of working and earning their own income.
If you recently lost a spouse or parent in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to claim death benefits through workers’ compensation. Call our Cambridge workers’ compensation lawyers to begin your claims process.
How Long Do Death Benefits for Workers’ Compensation Last in Massachusetts?
Generally, for a surviving spouse, benefits will terminate upon remarriage. However, children may continue to receive benefits even if their surviving parent remarries but benefits typically cease once children turn 18.
Benefits may continue after 18 if a child is mentally or physically incapable of earning an income, such as a child with a disability or is a full-time student who qualifies as a dependent. This includes young college students who go to school full-time and do not work.
The total benefits payable to the spouse and dependents of the deceased worker can be no greater than the average weekly wage in the State of Massachusetts multiplied by 250 plus any increased costs of living. Once this limit is reached, payments may cease. However, payments may continue under very specific circumstances. For example, if the limit is reached before a dependent child turns 18, that child may continue to receive benefits until they are 18.
To determine how long you can collect death benefits, talk to our Malden workers’ compensation attorneys.
Call our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you lost a loved one in a job-related accident, you may claim death benefits through workers’ compensation. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys have experience with these claims and can help you get the compensation your family needs. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to schedule a free legal consultation.