Death Benefit

Death Benefit

Death benefit is a payout to the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, annuity, or pension when the insured or annuitant dies. According to Investopedia

What To Do in The Unfortunate Event an Employee Dies at Work?

Our advice, as a workers compensation firm, in the unfortunate event when an employee dies at work, as a result of work, or while performing a work-related activity, the employer may be liable for benefits, as the death of an injured employee does not affect the liability of the employer.

File a Timely Death Benefit Claim

The first thing a claimant needs to do is to file a timely claim. Except for deaths from asbestos and HIV-related diseases, the statute of limitations for death benefits is a case for obtaining death benefits may be commenced one year from:

  •  The date of death is within 1 year from the date of injury.
  • the date of the last furnishing of any compensation benefits, when death occurs more than one year from the date of injury; or
  • The date of death if more than one year has passed since the accident and compensation has been paid.

But in practice, the Labor Code and applicable law governing timeliness for filling a death claim is a more complex to explain in this writing as there are many things that an experienced attorney may consider prior to filling a claim. Therefore, the best practice is to speak with one of our attorneys as soon as possible. Call Now

Some of the Available Benefits

Neither Temporary nor permanent disability payments will be made for any period of time subsequent to the death of the employee, however any accrued and unpaid compensation will be paid to the dependents, or, if there are no dependents, to the personal representative of the deceased employee or heirs or other persons entitled thereto.

Among other benefits, the employer might be liable for benefits that have accumulated and are due at the time of death, burial expenses, and other benefits to a dependent person, dependent child, family member, or to a spouse. 

Moreover, reasonable expenses of the employee’s burial of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2013. Additionally, depending on the number of total and partial dependents additional benefits should be available.

For examples, in case of two total dependents and one more partial dependent, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2013, the following is likely to apply: $250,000 plus four times annual support for partial dependents not to exceed $290,000.

Determining The Cause of Death

In uncomplex cases, usually, a medical opinion will be needed to determine the cause of death. However, in Mysterious Death Cases, where the cause of the death cannot be easily explained after a reasonable investigation, one will need to look at the evidence and see whether it warrants payment of benefits.

As for reasonable doubts as to whether an injury is compensable, this should be resolved in favor of the employee. This is so, because of the mandate that the workers’ compensation laws and according to Casetext. “shall be liberally construed by the courts with the purpose of extending their benefits for the protection of persons injured in the course of their employment.” (Lab. Code 3202.)

Dependency Will Need to be Established

Before payment is made or benefit paid to a claimant, a dependent will need to prove that he/she was either a partial dependent or full dependent of the deceased employee.

For example, no person is a dependent of any deceased employee unless in good faith a member of the family or household of the employee, or unless the person bears to the employee the relation of spouse, child, posthumous child, adopted child or stepchild, grandchild, father or mother, father-in-law or mother-in-law, grandfather or grandmother, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, or nephew or niece. According to Casetext.

Moreover, a child under the age of 18 years, or a child of any age found by any trier of fact, whether contractual, administrative, regulatory, or judicial, to be physically or mentally incapacitated from earning, shall be conclusively presumed to be wholly dependent for support upon a deceased employee-parent with whom that child is living at the time of injury resulting in death of the parent or for whose maintenance the parent was legally liable at the time of injury resulting in death of the parent.

A spouse to whom a deceased employee is married at the time of death shall be conclusively presumed to be wholly dependent for support upon the deceased employee if the surviving spouse earned thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or less in the twelve months immediately preceding the death.

Therefore, dependency must be proven by a claimant or established by the facts if payment is to be made or benefits obtained. Because dependency may be established in many ways, a claimant is strongly advised to speak with one of Los Angeles experienced attorneys to determine one’s rights and eligibility.

Legal References:

Labor Code 4700; Lab. Code 4710(a); Lab. Code 5406; Lab. Code 5406(a); SOC 6.48; LC 3503; Lab. Code 3501; SOC 5.58; .” (Clemmens v. Workers’Comp. AppealsBd.(1968) 261 Cal.App.2d 1, 7.); Lab. Code 3202; Lab. Code 4702


The content and views expressed herein is for information only and may not be accurate AND does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. If you have questions, you should contact our office immediately or should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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