Section 31 - Death Benefits
Section 31 of the Workers Compensation Statute describes the benefits that are available to the family and dependents of someone who dies on the job. No amount of money will ever be able to bring your loved one back, but the Workers Compensation system is meant to ease the financial blow to a certain extent.Who is Eligible for Section 31 Death Benefits?
Not every family member of a worker killed on the job is entitled to benefit. However, there are certain people who are, assuming that they are dependent on the worker for support:
- Spouse: A spouse is eligible for benefits as long as he or she remains unmarried. The spouse is entitled to ⅓ of the deceased worker’s Average Weekly Wage, subject to a minimum and maximum amount of compensation. This will increase by $6 per week for every child under the age of 18. If the Spouse ends up remarrying, the children will be paid directly by the insurance company.
- Children: Children who are wholly dependent on the worker are entitled to compensation as well, up to the same maximum of ⅓ of the deceased worker’s Average Weekly wage. Each child is entitled to a certain amount, depending on the circumstances.
Often, a worker succumbs to a work injury days, weeks, or even months after the date of the accident. Depending on how long the employee survived, he or she is likely entitled to benefits pursuant to Section 34, as well as payment for medical expenses. However, death payments do not begin until the date of death, as opposed to the date of the injury.Don’t Fight the Insurance Company Alone
As you grieve the loss of your loved one, it can be salt on the wound for an insurance company to deny your claim for Section 31 Death benefits. Unfortunately, that happens more often than you think. The insurance company will leave no stone unturned in its quest to deny your case. That’s because there is a lot on the line. Death benefits can last for much longer than other types of Workers Compensation benefits, and the insurance company doesn’t want to have to pay you or your children for that long.
There are many ways to do this. The most common insurance company excuse is that an injury was due to a pre-existing condition, and not the work accident. For example, someone who had a heart attack or stroke on the job might be eligible for Workers Compensation benefits because of the stress of the job. To counter that, the insurance company will try to say that the job had nothing to do with it.Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers
If your loved one lost his or her life on the job, it’s important to hire a lawyer who has experience in dealing with these cases. The insurance will fight you tooth and nail, and you need someone who can match that every step of the way.
At Marcotte Law Firm, we have decades of experience navigating the Workers Compensation system for our clients. We know how to get you the benefits you deserve.