Fatal Work Injuries
Work accidents are never expected, but when a worker suffers fatal work injuries, family and loved ones are typically emotionally devastated and financially stressed. This financial stress may increase if the deceased was the primary wage earner. Certain family members and other individuals may be entitled to death benefits according to Illinois workers’ compensation laws. At Therman Law Offices, we can provide compassionate and experienced legal representation to people seeking a Wheaton or Schaumburg workers’ compensation attorney. Effectively asserting your legal rights is our priority as we advocate for you following the loss of your loved one.Common Causes of Fatal Work Injuries
Transportation accidents and slip and falls, particularly in the construction industry, remain among the more common causes of worker deaths. Fatal work injuries can be caused by many things, including highway collisions, electrocution, and equipment accidents. Employers protecting employees from falls, and working to reduce crushing injuries would significantly decrease the number of work-related deaths. Generally, a work injury or illness that occurs while an employee is performing work-related tasks, or taking action on behalf of their employer, will meet the legal requirement that the fatal injury occur during the course and scope of employment.Illinois Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits Following a Fatal Work Injury
Following a fatal work injury that arises out of and in the course of job duties, the family of the deceased may file a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, after the death of a worker, surviving family members may collect death benefits as well as burial costs. Also known as survivor benefits, death benefits assist the family financially. The loss of a wage earner can dramatically affect the family, and by compensating dependents, the employer meets an aspect of their obligation under the Act.
As beneficiaries, a deceased worker’s spouse and dependent minor children become eligible for death benefits one day following the death. The rules change when a surviving spouse remarries. Under the Act, children receive benefits until they reach 18 years of age, or 25 if they are full-time students. Children suffering a mental or physical disability may continue to receive benefits for the duration of their incapacity.
In the event that there is no primary beneficiary, death benefits on behalf of the deceased will be paid to the parents of the worker. If the parents are deceased then benefits will be paid to individuals who demonstrate their financial reliance upon the deceased worker of at least 50% prior to the worker’s death.
According to the Act, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) will handle all claims for compensation filed in Illinois. Death benefits are calculated by averaging the worker’s weekly wages for the 52 weeks preceding their death. The IWCC sets thresholds for this benefit, and it is equal to two-thirds of the worker’s average gross weekly wage. The amount awarded varies, as it takes into account cost of living adjustments. Those family members that are eligible for death benefits will typically receive monthly payments.
In some cases, a personal injury claim may be appropriate, particularly when product defects or failed equipment led to the fatal work injury. As a third party claim, the worker’s survivors would be required to prove legal fault for the injury. For all legal claims, there are strict time limits that must be met. When seeking death benefits following the loss of a loved one from a fatal work injury, an experienced work injury lawyer can help.Schaumburg and Wheaton Attorneys for Workers’ Compensation Claims
After a loved one has suffered a fatal work injury in Wheaton or Schaumburg, you can rely on the experience and dedication of the workers’ compensation lawyers at Therman Law Offices. Filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits can help your family settle into a place of healing as it alleviates certain financial stress. We can help you with the practical financial considerations that must be addressed. We represent clients in Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, Lemont, Lombard, Villa Park, Downers Grove, Clarendon Hills, Oakbrook Terrace, and Lisle. To learn more about your rights, contact our dedicated team online or by calling 312-588-1900.