Death Benefit Claim vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In the tragic event that an individual dies on the job, it will result in emotional and financial damages that no family is ever ready for, especially if the deceased was the main financial provider. To get compensation for your loss, you can either claim workers’ compensation death benefits or file a wrongful death lawsuit. We shall explain these options here, so you can decide on your best course of action.

Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

If a worker or employee was injured, killed or contracted a disease on the job, a workers’ compensation insurance provides financial aid to the victim and their dependents. It can cover the victims’ medical bills, and, should they die as a result of the injury or illness, it can also pay for funeral and burial expenses, lost earnings, and provide financial support for the bereaved family as part of the “death benefits.”

The claim should be made within 12 months following the worker’s death, afterwards, death benefits are paid out to family members weekly. The spouse, children, parents, and other dependents can collect it, as long as their loved one died from a work-related illness or injury, or died in a workplace accident. The amount depends on the number of dependents and the cause of death.

Depending on your state, there is a limit to the amount of money you can recover through death benefits. In California, for instance, it is capped at $320,000. Also, you cannot recover non-economic losses, like loss of consortium and partnership, the victim’s pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life following their death.

The workers’ compensation insurance shields employers from being sued for workplace injuries and deaths. Once your claim is approved, you give up your right to sue their employer for additional damages and losses. So, even if your loved one died due to the employer’s negligence or a work environment that violates safety standards, you cannot file a lawsuit against their employer.

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Wrongful death lawsuit

You can still file a lawsuit even if your family member had workers’ compensation insurance. If the death was a result of someone else’s misconduct or negligence, you can sue them for wrongful death.

To make a successful claim, wrongful death lawyers usually advise the surviving family members to prove that your loved one died because of the negligence of a third party — for example, the equipment manufacturer if they were killed by a machine malfunction. You also need to prove that your family was significantly damaged by their death, including lost income or reduced earning capacity, and intangible losses, like reduced quality of life, pain and suffering, and lost partnership.

There is no limit to how much you can claim from this lawsuit. Since it includes intangible losses, you are likely to gain more compensation for wrongful death and you will from death benefits. But unlike death benefits, you need to prove several elements, and settlement or litigation can take months or even years to complete.

You deserve compensation for your suffering. These options are here to help you through your loss, especially if your family member died due to someone’s negligence. Although no amount of money can resurrect them, your loved one would surely want a secure future for you.