Based in Columbia, the law firm Lear Werts LLP provides compassionate representation to surviving family members and other dependants of employees who have lost their lives as the result of a work accident, injury, or illness. Our attorneys understand that money cannot replace a parent or spouse; however, death benefits can provide financial support to a worker's family after he or she is gone.
Eligibility for Death Benefits
After the death of an employee who suffered a work-related injury or illness, certain surviving individuals may become entitled to benefits. Survivors or successors-usually a surviving spouse and/or surviving dependent children-can claim a benefit after the death of an employee in the following circumstances:
- If the employee dies because of the work-related injury
- If the employee is still employable after the work-related injury but then suffers a permanent partial disability while at work and subsequently dies from a cause unrelated to the work injury
- If the employee suffers permanent total disability from a work-related injury and then dies from a cause unrelated to the work injury
Generally, the deceased worker's employer or its insurer will contact the family after an employee has passed away, and will also begin paying death benefits at that time. However, if this has not occurred, and you believe that you are entitled to benefits, it may be necessary to contact the employer or the insurance company. In addition, you should file a Workers' Compensation Claim for Compensation. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling all aspects of death benefit claims, and we will work to ease your stress during this difficult time by resolving your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Extent of Death Benefits
Weekly benefits are the normal and preferred method of payment when an employee dies because of a work-related accident or illness; however, Missouri law does allow lump-sum settlements in certain limited situations. We can help you determine if you qualify for a lump-sum payment, and furthermore, which option is in the best interest of you and your family.
In typical situations, a surviving spouse is entitled to a weekly benefit for his or her lifetime, or until he or she remarries, at which time he or she will also receive a lump-sum equal to two years of benefits. A dependent child receives benefits until he or she reaches 18 years of age, unless he or she is a full-time student, in which case, benefits may continue until the child is age 22. Other factors may also affect the duration of death benefit payments, such as physical or mental incapacity. We can help you determine with certainty the benefits to which you are entitled.
Seek Experienced Representation
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, especially when the loss occurs suddenly as is often the case with work-related accidents. Let us help you through this difficult time by ensuring that you receive financial support in the form of death benefits. For more information about your rights as a survivor under Missouri's workers' compensation laws, please contact Lear Werts LLP for a complimentary consultation.