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Understanding workers’ compensation and worker death

| Feb 22, 2018 | Workers' Compensation |

When workers in Ohio suffer a workplace accident and are injured, they have the right to get workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, the injuries are so severe that the worker dies. If the worker is injured and subsequently dies while they are receiving workers’ compensation, the family could be entitled to certain benefits.

Accrued compensation is possible if a worker was receiving temporary total disability or permanent partial disability. The spouse or another dependent could be eligible to receive unpaid compensation that was due to the worker until the time at which the worker died. The spouse, dependent children or anyone who provided services or paid a bill that was linked to the worker’s death can get accrued compensation. A form must be submitted to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to receive accrued compensation. Proof of the relationship between the deceased worker and the applicant must also be provided. If there is confusion as to the relationship, the BWC might ask for additional information.

Ongoing death benefits are possible if the worker died because of a workplace accident or an illness that came about because of the work they did – an occupational disease. A spouse, dependent children under 18, dependent children between 18 and 25 who are attending an accredited school on a full-time basis, dependent children 18 or older who are mentally or physically incapacitated, and possibly other family members can get death benefits. Like accrued compensation, there is a form to fill out for death benefits. The BWC will calculate the benefits and divide them among whomever is eligible. Death benefits are distributed every two weeks and continue until eligibility ends. Up to $5,500 can be distributed for medical costs and funeral expenses.

An accident that leads to injuries or an illness that comes about because of the work a person does can be a traumatic experience for the person and their family. If the worker dies, that can make matters worse in an emotional way, but it can also be a significant financial issue. Workers’ compensation benefits can help the family left behind. A legal professional who understands all matters related to workers’ compensation can be of assistance to a family seeking accrued compensation or death benefits.

Source: bwc.ohio.gov, “What Happens When an Injured Worker Dies?,” accessed on Feb. 20, 2018