Florida requires employers conducting business within the state to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
Specific coverage requirements depend on the type of industry, number of employees, and entity organization.
Workers’ compensation insurance offers wages and medical benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.
Accidents at the workplace can result in severe injuries and even death.
Many clients ask us, does workers’ comp cover death? The answer is yes. In the event a workplace accident results in an employee’s death, workers’ comp death benefits can help surviving family members deal with the financial ramifications.
If you lost a loved one as a result of a workplace accident or injury, our Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can help guide you through the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Offer?
First, the injured worker must prove that they suffered their injury in the course and scope of their employment and, as a result, need medical treatment for their injury.
Then, their employer chooses an authorized treating physician to evaluate the injury. The authorized physician will testify that the worker suffered the injury in a workplace accident, that they need medical treatment for the injury, and that the workplace accident was a major contributing cause for the need for treatment.
Once the injured worker has established this, workers’ compensation provides the following benefits:
- Costs of medical care, including treatment, equipment, supplies, and transportation to and from appointments;
- Lost wages; and
- Vocational rehabilitation, including training, education, and support if the worker needs to transition to a new occupation.
If a worker is killed in a workplace accident, workers’ compensation provides death benefits to their family.
Considerations for Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in Florida
Like with injuries and illnesses, workers’ compensation benefits provide compensation for a death at work. To recover workers’ comp death benefits, the worker’s death must occur within a year of the workplace accident.
Alternatively, a work-related accident that caused a continuous disability which ultimately led to the worker’s death could entitle the surviving family members to qualify for death benefits in Florida, as long as the workplace accident occurred within five years before the death.
Statute of Limitations on Workers’ Comp Death Benefits
If your loved one died as a result of a work-related accident, you have only a limited amount of time to bring a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits. Florida requires death benefit claims to be filed within two years of the worker’s death.
Who Can Receive Florida Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits?
Dependents related to the deceased worker by blood or marriage can typically seek death benefits. However, the family member seeking the benefits is required to demonstrate that he or she directly depended on the deceased worker.
The amount payable to some of the deceased worker’s dependents is listed below:
- Spouse: The surviving spouse can receive up to 50% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage.
- Spouse and children: If the deceased worker left behind a spouse and children, the spouse can still receive up to 50% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, plus another 16 ⅔% of the deceased worker’s weekly wage on behalf of the children.
- Parents: If the deceased worker left behind no spouse or children, the death benefits pass to his or her parents. The parents can seek 25% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage.
Remember, the family members seeking the death benefits must establish that they actually depended on the deceased worker. Otherwise, recovery becomes extremely unlikely.
Have Questions About Workers’ Comp Death Benefits? Contact a Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can bring about many challenges, especially for family members processing the death of a loved one.
The workers’ compensation system presents many complexities understood by only the most experienced attorneys. Your loved one’s former employer will likely hire a team of experienced lawyers in an attempt to defeat your claim, so you want a skilled Florida workers’ compensation lawyer on your side that is up to the challenge.
At Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, Galen M. Novotny possesses over 20 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims for employers, injured workers, and their families. His experience representing employers in these claims gives him unique insight into handling these kinds of cases.
If your loved one died as a result of a workplace injury or illness, do not hesitate to contact our team of workers’ compensation attorneys. When you work with us, you don’t have to pay a dime unless we recover on your behalf.