Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Delaware
The Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault insurance system, designed to protect the American worker and his or her family. In Delaware, the legislature enacted Workers’ Compensation laws to protect employees who are injured or killed on the job. The system also protects workers who contract an occupational illness such as mesothelioma or other occupational disease. Surviving family members may be entitled to lost wages, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and more.
Every state has its own strict deadline for petitioning for Workers’ Compensation death benefits. For example, in Delaware, a family member must file the petition within one to two years of their loved one’s passing, depending on the circumstances. It is critical to contact an experienced Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyer to discuss your situation as soon as possible.
Am I an Eligible Family Member?
Upon a workers’ death, eligible dependents receive weekly benefit payments. Each state has different rules that determine who is eligible to receive benefits. In Delaware, children remain dependents under this provision (and eligible to collect benefits) until they either turn 18, or if they are a full-time student, up to the age of 25. Disabled children may be eligible for additional benefits, even into adulthood.
In Pennsylvania, children may continue to receive benefits until they are 23, if they are enrolled in certain types of schools.
What Kind of Death Benefits Are Available?
Workers’ Compensation covers all costs related to a job-related accident or illness. When an employee is killed in a job-related accident, or dies from an occupational illness, their employer or its insurance carrier is legally required to pay up to $3,500 in funeral expenses in Delaware.
In Pennsylvania, a family may receive up to $3,000 to cover the cost of funeral expenses.
All medical benefits expenses and hospital bills incurred before the employee passed away should be paid by the employer or their insurance carrier immediately, including co-pays, so long as the injury or illness complained of occurred on-the-job.
Family members may also be entitled to lost wages, paid in regular installments. In both Delaware and Pennsylvania, the amount of these payments depends on the number of dependents a person has. For example, the more dependent children one leaves behind, the greater the total payout will be. In Delaware, the total benefit amount is divided among the surviving dependents.
Pennsylvania has different rules, paying out a certain amount to the spouse, and another specified amount to dependent children (51 to 67 percent of the workers average salary). In some cases, surviving family members may be able to negotiate a lump-sum settlement of an employee’s death benefits.
The amount of time that death benefits are paid out varies from state to state. In many states, surviving spouses are entitled to benefits until they either die, or remarry. Children are eligible to receive benefits until they turn 18 or complete school (up to the age of 25).
Claiming Death Benefits
If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, we understand the grief and feelings of loss that you are experiencing. It is important to grieve and process what has happened, but you should not waive your legal rights by neglecting to file a claim for death benefits. One of the compassionate Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC can take care of your legal claim so that you can focus on being with your family and moving forward.
Our lawyers can start the process by filing a petition on your behalf. Once a petition is filed, the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation will schedule a pretrial hearing, where the decedent’s representative (or his or her attorney) identifies all their intended witnesses, and all the relief and benefits being sought. Subpoenas can be sent, and experts retained if necessary.
An experienced Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyer can fill out the requisite documents on behalf of the decedent-employee, and represent them in the hearing before the Industrial Accident Board or Hearing Officer, as circumstances require. Hearings are held in either Wilmington or Dover, Delaware.
Delaware Workplace Injury Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Obtain Maximum Compensation for Injured Workers
The rules governing Workers’ Compensation death benefits are extremely complicated and vary from state to state. At McCann & Wall, LLC our lawyers routinely handle these claims, and understand what you are experiencing. We strive to protect our clients’ rights to the fullest, and take pride in our personal attention to each and every case. To discuss your case, contact one of our experienced Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers today by calling us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. We proudly serve clients in Delaware, as well as Pennsylvania, including Chester County, Delaware County and Philadelphia and in the state of New Jersey.