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Can My Family Get Compensation If I Die in a Work-Related Accident?

Maryland’s workers’ compensation system protects workers who suffer a work-related accident or illness. In most cases, workers get the treatment they need and they can return to work. If they can’t return to the same job, they may benefit from vocational rehabilitation so they can perform duties in keeping with their abilities. Those workers who can’t do any type of work because of disability are compensated accordingly. Unfortunately, some workers succumb to their injuries from a work-related accident or illness. If your condition is serious, you may be worried about how your family will manage if you pass away. No one wants to think about this but it’s a genuine concern especially if you were the main breadwinner in your household. Losing a loved one is always tough, but the sudden loss of financial support can make the loss even harder to bear. Fortunately, family members may be entitled to death benefits under the state’s workers’ comp system.

Who is Eligible to Claim Death Benefits in Maryland?

A family member who wants to get compensation will need to prove that they were dependent on your income. The dependency of a relative is determined based on the situation at the time of the work-related accident. If the worker succumbed to an occupational illness, dependency is determined by the date on which the condition caused the disability that led to death. A family member would not be eligible for benefits if they became dependent after the worker became eligible for workers’ comp. The only exception is the worker’s child if they are born after that date. The parents must have been married when the disability caused by the disease started. Meanwhile, a surviving spouse may not be able to get death benefits if they deserted the deceased worker. They may also be ineligible if:
  • the couple got married after the injury or after the onset of disability due to the illness; and
  • the couple doesn’t have dependent offspring
This may seem complicated. However, a Maryland workers’ comp lawyer can help families to understand how the system works.

How Much Money Can Dependents Get?

Several factors influence the amount a family member will get. The primary considerations are the worker’s average weekly wages and their contribution to the family’s income. If you were the sole breadwinner in your family, your dependents may receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages. However, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission puts a cap on the amount they can get. The benefits can’t exceed 100 percent of the state average weekly wage. As of January 1, 2020, this was $1,080. The amount changes at the start of each year. If you were not the sole breadwinner, benefits can’t exceed two-thirds of the state average weekly wage. It is important to keep in mind that this amount is the total that is payable to all dependents. Meanwhile, there is a limit on the amount dependents can get if they are not a surviving spouse or child of the worker. For 2020, the limit is $72,747 for all these dependents. This amount is also adjusted annually. You need to know that death benefits won’t be paid indefinitely, even to spouses and children. Usually, death benefits are paid for up to 144 months. However, they can end sooner. If a spouse remarries while receiving benefits, the payments end two years after the marriage. Benefits may also stop on what would have been the 70th birthday of the deceased worker. This applies if the dependents have been receiving payments for at least five years by this time. Meanwhile, children usually receive benefits until they are 18 years old. If they are full-time students in an accredited school, they can receive benefits up until age 23. If a dependent is unable to support themselves because of a disability that occurred before the worker’s death, they may get extended support.

Talk to the Team at Pinder Plotkin LLC About Your Work-Related Accident

Whether you’ve been in a work-related accident, or are a dependent of a deceased worker, we can help you. While a lawyer isn’t mandatory when dealing with a workers’ comp claim, it’s certainly recommended that you consult one. When you hire a Maryland workers’ comp law firm, they will ensure that you claim all the benefits to which you’re entitled. They’ll help you to file your claim on time with all the necessary supporting evidence. This increases the likelihood that your claim will be accepted. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.