How Do Death Benefits Work in Lancaster Workers’ Compensation?

How Do Death Benefits Work in Lancaster Workers’ Compensation?Unfortunately, it is all too common for workers in Lancaster, PA, or other parts of the state to be killed while performing their job duties. Even though safety measures and regulations have been put in place at many jobsites across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, these deaths can still happen.

While nothing can be as traumatic and devastating as losing a family member or loved one due to their profession, you may be qualified to receive death benefits through Lancaster workers’ compensation to help you cope and get back on your feet again.

How common is it for employees to be killed at work?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 5,500 workers killed on the job in the United States in 2022, about six percent higher than in 2021. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that this means “a worker died every 96 minutes from a work-related injury in 2022.” The industries with the most work-related fatalities include:

  • Transportation and material moving: Transportation workers include truck drivers, train operators, forklift operators, material handlers, and package handlers. In 2022, there were 1,620 people killed in the transportation and material moving industries.
  • Farming, fishing, and forestry: Farmers, fishers, and other agricultural jobs had the highest fatality rate of all industries: 23 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
  • Construction and extraction: Those employed in the construction and extraction industries include crane operators, mining workers, carpenters, inspectors, and electricians. This industry experienced over 1,000 work-place fatalities in 2022, and almost half of these fatalities were the result of slips, trips, and falls.
  • Protective service: Protective service workers include police officers, fire fighters, security officers, and emergency medical technicians. There were around 335 fatalities among these types of workers in 2022, with homicides and suicides making up over half of those fatalities.

How do death benefits work in workers’ compensation?

If your loved one’s death was directly caused by a specific work-related task or activity, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. This does not necessarily mean that your loved one had to be actively working at the time of their death, but, instead, they could have had a heart attack, stroke, or brain aneurysm due to the intense labor or work duties. Regardless of how your family member or loved one passed away, you may be feeling lost and confused about what to do and how to get the financial support that you need during this time.

It is important for you to act quickly. Although you are still grieving your loved one’s death, you need to let their employer know that you are filing a death benefits claim. The employer likely already informed their insurance company about your loved one’s death to make them aware that you might be filing a claim.

Although you do have some time to file for death benefits in Lancaster, PA, don’t put it off, since death benefits can help you cover your loved one’s funeral and burial costs. To qualify for death benefits, you must be one of the following:

  • The deceased individual’s spouse
  • The deceased individual’s child (under the age of 18, under 23 if in college, and any age if mentally or physically disabled)
  • The deceased individual’s parent (if they relied on the worker for any type of financial support)
  • The deceased individual’s sibling (under the age of 18, under 23 if in college, and any age if mentally or physically disabled)

If you fit into one of these categories, you have the right to file for death benefits through workers’ compensation; however, that does not mean you will automatically receive benefits. The employer’s insurance company may make the process challenging by refusing to approve you for benefits because they believe that you are ineligible to file for death benefits. However, if you and your Lancaster workers’ compensation lawyer can prove the following, you could be eligible:

  • Your loved one died because of a work-related injury or illness.
  • They must have passed away within a certain timeframe (300 weeks) after suffering the work-related injury or illness.
  • They were not intoxicated when they were injured. If your loved one committed suicide, it must have been due to their job or work-related duties.

How much money can I receive in death benefits?

The amount of death benefits you receive depends on your relationship with the deceased worker. For example:

  • If you are their spouse, you will receive 51 percent of their weekly paycheck.
  • If you share a child with them, you will receive approximately 60 percent of their weekly pay (66 2/3 percent for two children).
  • If you are a dependent sibling, you may receive around 22 percent of their weekly paycheck.

To learn more about the amount of money that you should expect to receive in death benefits, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney who can answer your questions and concerns and fully explain the process. If your family member or loved one died because of work-related duties, the Lancaster workers’ compensation attorneys can assist you. Although no amount of money could ever replace or bring back your loved one, you need and deserve monetary benefits to help you get your life back on track. For more information and guidance on the process, please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation today. For your convenience, we have offices in York, Lancaster, Hanover, Gettysburg, and Harrisburg.