West Palm Beach Worker’s Compensation Wrongful Death Lawyer
Dedicated and Compassionate Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Helping Family Members Receive Much-Needed Benefits after a Worker’s Death
When a worker dies due to a work-related injury or illness, Florida workers’ compensation law provides for death benefits to be paid to surviving family members to help with funeral expenses and the loss of income a family must deal with. Proving a claim for death benefits is difficult, however, as employers and their workers’ comp insurers will often allege that the employee’s death was due to some other cause that was not work-related. Additionally, Florida law can be confusing regarding what benefits are available, and which family members are eligible to receive benefits.
Below is a basic explanation of how claims for death benefits are handled under Florida worker’s compensation. If you need assistance filing a claim or appealing a denial, contact Nicole Hessen, P.A. in West Palm Beach. Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys help injured workers and their families all along the treasure coast, throughout south Florida and statewide. Let us put our knowledge, skills and decades of experience to work for you and help you get some much-need financial assistance to help you through this difficult time. Contact our experienced West Palm Beach worker’s compensation wrongful death lawyers today, we can help.
Facts about Claims for Death Benefits under Florida Workers’ Compensation Law
A claim for death benefits can be filed if the death resulted from an accident and occurred within one year of the accident, or if the death followed a period of continuous disability and occurred within five years of the accident. Death benefits come in three categories: funeral expenses, weekly payments to dependents, and educational benefits to the spouse.
Funeral expenses – The employer is required to pay actual funeral expenses up to a total of $7,500. These expenses should be paid within 14 days after receiving the bill.
Weekly payments to dependents – A surviving spouse receives 50% of the deceased worker’s regular wage, and children receive 16.66% each. If there is no surviving spouse, the children can each receive 33.33% of the deceased worker’s wages. If a parent or parents were dependent on the worker, they each receive 25% of the worker’s wages. Likewise, any siblings or grandchildren that were dependent on the worker receive 15% of the worker’s wages.
Educational benefits to spouse – A surviving spouse can receive tuition payment for 1,800 hours at a career center or 80 semester hours at a community college, or a full waiver of fees.
The weekly payments to dependents are not supposed to exceed 66.66% of the deceased worker’s wages, and payments terminate once they reach a total of $150,000 if not before. For instance, payments to a child are supposed to terminate when the child reaches 18, or 22 if the child is in school full-time. Payments will not terminate to a child who cannot become self-supporting due to disability.
If the number of dependents would cause the weekly payments to exceed the allowable limit, the payments may be prorated to ensure they do not exceed the statutory maximum. It is also important to understand that the judge has flexibility in deciding who gets what award. For instance, if the limits in the law would result in no substantial benefit to any class member, the judge may order compensation to the person or persons whom the judge considers will be most benefited by such payment.
Call our West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Help Receiving Benefits
It can be particularly difficult to pursue a claim for death benefits so soon after the loss of a loved one, but it is important not to wait due to the strict timelines in the law. Let the attorneys at Nicole Hessen, P.A. take on the task of recovering benefits for you as quickly and completely as possible, so you will have the financial assistance you need for yourself and your family. For help in south Florida and statewide, call our West Palm Beach office at 561-246-6666 for a free consultation. Hablamos Español.