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Does Workers’ Comp Cover Accidental Death?

Mar 5, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

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When employees arrive to clock in for a shift, the goal is always to clock out in the same shape as when you arrived. We all want more in life than just work, which is why staying safe and protected on a job is priority number one.

Sadly, unexpected work injuries and accidental death on job sites do occur. Fortunately, workers’ compensation insurance is generally available to assist the victim and loved ones with finances. But what about work accidents that lead to wrongful death?

Does workers’ comp cover accidental death?

Workers’ compensation death benefits may cover related expenses such as funds for the funeral and burial. Additionally, workers’ compensation death benefits may provide financial support for the deceased’s family in certain situations.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance—Covering Accidental Death 

Most employers do their best to avoid work accidents, yet injuries are inevitable in workplace situations. In the worst-case scenarios, work injuries can lead to accidental death.

Workers’ compensation insurance policies are designed to cover medical bills if an employee gets sick or hurt on the job. On the other hand, if the employee dies because of the injury or illness, the workers’ compensation can extend to cover certain expenses, referred to as death benefits.

Every state (including Indiana) has its own workers’ compensation guidelines. Moreover, every insurer and policy have certain stipulations and rules around distributing workers’ compensation. Regardless, most workers’ compensation policies help cover the following in accidental death claims:

  • Covers expenses for the funeral and burial.
  • Provides financial support for the family of the deceased.

In order to receive death benefits from a workers’ compensation claim, the employee must have died from a work-related injury or illness. Nonetheless, the claim may not cover an on-the-job death that occurred outside of normal work activity.

Survivor Benefits in Workers’ Compensation Claims

It is a requirement for most states to feature workers’ comp policies that offer cash benefits to the survivors of a dead family member. However, who can receive this money and how much they receive depends on state law.

In general, dependents like a spouse, children, and elderly live-in relatives get priority to survivor benefits. If there are no eligible dependents, the death benefits generally go to the estate of the deceased.

The state usually determines the minimum payout for death benefits. Additionally, some states have specific eligibility requirements for dependents to receive benefits.

Indiana Workers’ Comp Accidental Death Benefits 

Indiana requires every business that operates in the state to offer workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. There are a few exceptions, but this is the general rule for the entire state. Nonetheless, unlike other states, the number of employees at a business has no bearing on the workers’ compensation right in Indiana.

The requirement of workers’ comp in Indiana applies to company executives, full-time staff members, part-time employees, as well as employees working outside of the state (yet still have a working relationship with Indiana).

When an employee for an Indiana company dies after sustaining a work-related injury or illness, the family is entitled to death benefits. According to state law, dependents are eligible for 500 weeks of lost wages at two-thirds of the deceased’s average weekly rate. Furthermore, Indiana workers’ comp will cover any medical benefits and up to $7,500 for funeral and burial expenses.

Presumptive Dependents vs. Dependents-in-Fact 

Indiana classifies dependents in two distinct categories. Presumptive dependents get priority to death benefits. However, if there are no presumptive dependents, the dependents-in-fact may receive the workers’ compensation death benefits.

Presumptive Dependents:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children (under 21) that are living with the employee
  • Unmarried children (under 21) that are not living with the employee but for whom the employee has a legal support obligation
  • Children over 21 that have never been married, and are physically or mentally disabled
  • Children over 21 that have never been married and are keeping house for the employee or not otherwise gainfully employed

Meanwhile, dependents-in-fact include individuals that are related by blood or marriage and are either totally or partially dependent upon the deceased employee. Dependents-in-fact are usually entitled to death benefits when no presumptive dependents are available.

Do not hesitate to get representation for work accidents that involve accidental death claims. A workers’ compensation lawyer can meet with you and fight on your behalf. Stewart & Stewart has represented dependents of accidental death workers’ comp claims along with wrongful death lawsuits. Contact us today at 1-866-926-2419.

Stewart & Stewart: Protection for Work Injuries and Wrongful Death 

Do you have a loved one that was seriously injured or killed on a job site? Dependents in Indiana are eligible for death benefits from workers’ compensation insurance claims. Furthermore, you may want to consider pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit if negligence played a role in your loved one’s death.

Contact Stewart & Stewart today for a free consultation. We do not charge clients a single dollar until the case is settled. Meet with us today to find out how we can represent your case and get you the compensation you and your family deserve!

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