Workers Compensation Death Benefits
Some workers pay the last full measure of devotion to their work: They give their lives. If you had a family member who died while working, laws exist in Massachusetts and in most states to help the spouse and children cope financially with the loss. In addition to any civil lawsuit for wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering and negligence that can be brought against a liable third-party, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents also provides for certain benefits.
Remember, in most circumstances, workers compensation laws prohibit an injured worker from suing his employer. Also, workers compensation laws do not allow compensation for pain and suffering. Under section 28 of M.G.L. ch. 152; however, when injury occurs through the willful misconduct of the employer, compensation is doubled and the employer is financially responsible for the higher amount. This higher amount is paid to the injured party through the insurer, who is reimbursed by the employer.
When a worker is killed or found dead at his place of employment, it is presumed legally that he was performing his regular duties on the day of death. This prima facie presumption is important because it deprives the employer or insurer from claiming it was a pre-existing condition and that it was just coincidence that it happened at work.Suicide at Work
When an employee does die from suicide, dependents of the deceased worker may be entitled to financial recovery where, as a result of the work injury, the employee became so unsound of mind as to be irresponsible for his action(s) that caused the suicide. Further, the serious and willful misconduct of an employee shall not bar compensation to his dependents if the employee dies as a result.What Kind of Benefits are Available?
Upon death from injury at work, the insurer pays the dependents and the widowed spouse weekly benefits equal to two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the deceased worker. It gets a little technical; however, and consultation with an attorney is crucial. For example, the widowed spouse must remain unmarried to continue to collect. Dependents are the children of the deceased employee. They may collect until age 18. Dependency can continue after age 18 if the child is physically or mentally unable to perform substantial work or determined to be a full-time student.
Weekly death benefits are divided equally among the widowed spouse and dependents, who may be the children from another relationship. Weekly benefits are different depending on whether the child is totally or only partially dependent. The insurance company will try as hard as it can to pay you as little as it can. You need an attorney who knows the law and is willing to fight.Using Our Decades of Experience to Help
At Marcotte Law Firm, our lawyers understand the severity and complexity of death cases. For example, we will investigate the workplace where necessary. We will interview witnesses. We will hire engineers and other experts needed to prove the elements of the case.
We are aware of not only an accident’s physical impacts but also the emotional and financial repercussions. We also know the nuances of how to deal with the insurance companies. We take a holistic approach to each case we handle. Combining our 150 years of experience, we work together for you.
If your loved one was killed on the job, call the Workers Compensation and Wrongful Death Attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.