Losing a loved one to a work-related injury or illness is traumatic and emotionally draining. Sadly, in many cases, the loss of the loved one’s income also results in financial instability for those left behind. Surviving family members depend on workers’ compensation death benefits to see them through. Because it is often difficult to navigate government bureaucracy, especially in times of grief and confusion, having a seasoned workers’ comp attorney can prove invaluable.
If you live in Chicago or surrounding counties and have lost a loved one due to a work-related accident or a work-related illness, the talented workers’ comp attorneys of Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil (FMCO) are here for you. We have years of successful experience behind us and a well-earned reputation for excellent client service. Contact us now so we can help you obtain the resources you need to move forward into a secure future.
Fatal Work-Related Accidents & Illnesses Entitle You to Workers’ Comp Death Benefits
At FMCO, we know that whatever type of work-related accident or illness caused your loved one’s death, no amount of compensation is sufficient. Still, our workers’ comp lawyers know precisely how to get you the maximum death benefits you need and deserve to help you and your family adjust, financially as well as emotionally, to a loss that may have resulted from any of the following:
- Slip and fall
- Transportation accident
- Fall from a height
- Caught between accident
- Struck by accident
- Severe burns
- Lung disease (e.g. mesothelioma, Legionnaires’ disease)
- Exposure to toxic substances or chemicals
- Contaminated food or water
- Avoidable contagious disease
- Cancer due to an environmental cause
What Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover
In Illinois, death benefits are paid for 25 years or up to $500,000, whichever comes first. They cover all medical bills for the deceased as well as funeral and burial expenses capped at $8,000. Additionally, beneficiaries will receive two-thirds, about 66 percent of the employee’s gross average weekly wage during the 52 weeks preceding the fatality. These funds can be paid out weekly or as a lump sum. Most recipients choose the latter.
Workers are covered whether they were actively employed at the time of their death or retired, as long as the cause of their death is a work accident or a work-related illness (e.g. asbestosis). It should be noted that even though some jobs are much riskier than others, the death benefits payments vary only according to the worker’s salary and are not based on the reason for the death. So, a construction worker’s fall from a scaffold is compensated at the same rate as an executive’s slip on a wet floor.
If an active employee dies in Illinois, the beneficiary on file with the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) can receive a lump sum consisting of the member’s contributions plus interest and one month’s salary for each year of service, up to a maximum of 6 months. On the other hand, if a retired SERS member dies, the beneficiary receives any contributions and interest remaining in the member’s account or $500, whichever amount is greater.
Who is eligible to receive workers’ comp death benefits?
First of all, claims for workers’ comp death benefits must be filed within 3 years of the incident that resulted in the employee’s death. Contacting a strong workers’ comp attorney promptly to get the ball rolling is a good idea.
If an employee is killed on the job or of a job-related illness or injury, their primary beneficiary is entitled to receive survivor’s benefits, even if the employee was partially responsible for the fatal accident. In most cases, the primary beneficiary is the worker’s spouse or any child under the age of 18 (or 25 if the child is still completing their education on a full-time basis). Children who are physically or mentally incapacitated are entitled to benefits for as long as their incapacitating condition persists.
If the employee was unmarried and had no minor children, their parents can receive death benefits, but only if the parents were dependent on the worker for at least half of their income. If the worker’s parents are no longer alive, anyone dependent on the deceased worker for at least half of their income may be entitled to death benefits.
If the spouse of the decedent remarries, they receive a lump sum payment of two years of benefits only. However, benefits to minor children of the worker’s marriage continue for as long as they remain eligible.
Contact FMCO’s Capable Workers’ Comp Attorneys Today
Whatever the work-related cause of your loved one’s death, our knowledgeable attorneys are well-prepared to assist you in the process of filing a successful claim for workers’ comp death benefits. Contact us now you can so you can experience the peace of mind that comes from having your case handled with the professionalism and concern it deserves.