Most of us are familiar with the workers’ compensation system and the benefits it provides. Specifically, the program provides compensation to those injured while on the job. What many people may not know is that it also offers survivors’ benefits to family members whose loved one died while suffering a workplace accident.
Surviving spouses and children are eligible for these death benefits. If you experience any issues receiving your benefits, be sure to contact a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away
Call us at (312) 236-2900 for a free, initial consultation.
Who is Eligible?
Essentially, family members of employees are eligible for survivors’ benefits. The key word here is employee, since not everyone who works for a company is considered an employee. For example, family members of independent contractors would not be eligible.
Keep in mind, however, that the law decides your type of employment. While a company may label you as an independent contractor, if the company controls your schedule and work equipment, then you will likely be considered an employee.
In addition, the injury must happen while you are performing work duties. While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, if you were engaging in inappropriate behavior – like drinking – when the accident occurred, then your benefits will likely be denied.
What the Benefits Entail
Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws allow for survivors – spouses and children under age 18 – to receive a certain amount of benefits. If the employee was not married and had no children, then his or her parents may be eligible if they were dependent on the victim. If there are no such parents, then anyone dependent on the victim as least 50 percent of the time may be entitled to survivors’ benefits.
Survivors can expect to receive two-thirds of the employee’s gross weekly wage. This is calculated based on the 52 weeks prior to the victim’s death. Minimum and maximum rates do apply. The current minimum is $538.19 per week, with a maximum of $1,435.17. Cost of living adjustments do apply, so these amounts are not necessarily set in stone. Although the compensation is based on weekly amounts, payment to survivors is made on a monthly basis.
Death benefits are paid for 25 years or when the survivors receive $500,000, whichever amount is greater. However, if the surviving spouse remarries, then benefits will continue only if there are children under age 18. If there are no minor children, the spouse will receive two years of compensation in a lump sum. He or she will not be entitled to any further death benefits.
On top of these benefits are burial benefits, which provides $8,000 to the person paying for the burial.
Get the Legal Help You Need
While workers’ compensation claims are typically handled by employers, the process is very specific. As a result, valid claims often get denied. If you are suffering emotionally and financially from the loss of a loved one, you want to make sure you get the highest amount possible so you can move forward.
A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you in this time of need. If your claim does not get settled by the court, it will go to arbitration. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can effectively present your arguments and support your claim.
You may also have the right to pursue a claim against a party who is not an employer. Discuss your case with a workers’ compensation attorney and see what options are available to you.
Schedule your free consultation by calling Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900.