California Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

California workers' compensation law provides death benefits to individuals who are dependent and/or partially dependent on an individual who suffers a death on the job. A knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney will be able to assist you in establishing your status to receive death benefits by evaluating whether you qualify as a dependent or partial dependent of an individual who sustains a work related death. The Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz represents peace officers, including with respect to death claims, and has therefore used police officers for certain examples. However, the content of this Blog is a general overview for all employees and not limited to police officers who sustain a work related death.

Workers' compensation death benefits may be available where an injured worker sustains a work related death because of a direct incident at work (e.g., police officer is shot and killed in line of duty). 

Alternatively, a work related injury that ultimately results in the death of the injured worker (e.g., orthopedic injury to a police officer suffered in the line of duty that requires surgery, resulting in death after a period of time due to an infection contracted during the surgery).

In addition, the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board has found that when the aggravation of a preexisting condition hastens an employee's death (e.g., police officer with preexisting hypertension sustains a fatal heart attack [in the line of duty or off the clock due to stress on the job]), certain individuals may be entitled to death benefits per California workers' compensation law.

California workers' compensation death claims are subject to specific statutory filing guidelines and it is therefore prudent to consult an attorney immediately upon the death of an injured worker. A knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney can file a death claim on your behalf without creating a major hindrance to the dependent and/or partial dependent as they mourn.

Death benefits provided under California workers' compensation law vary based on the number of individuals who are deemed to be dependent or partially dependent (as defined by the legislature and advocated by a workers' compensation attorney) on the individual who suffers a work related death. My office obtains all necessary information to ensure that the proper beneficiaries receive the maximum death benefits available pursuant to California workers' compensation law. We always seek reimbursement for burial costs subject to the statutory limit for the costly posthumous affairs necessary to afford a loved one who has sustained a work related death a proper memorial or burial rite.

Beneficiaries who may for qualify for death benefits when an individual suffers a work related death include a husband, wife, child, stepchild, grandchild, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew and niece. An additional beneficiary who may qualify for death benefits under California workers' compensation law when an individual sustains a work related death is a "good faith" member of the deceased's worker family or household. Contact a knowledgeable California workers' compensation attorney to find out whether you qualify as a "good faith" member of the individual or household of the individual who sustained a work related death.

Different jobs and industries provide unique benefits to survivors of an individual who sustain a work related death. Under California workers' compensation law, a police officer who is killed in the line of duty due may entitle the fallen police officer's family to additional death benefits, such as the health benefits that the deceased police officer had in place at the time of the accident or injury that caused police officer's death.

A knowledgeable California workers' compensation attorney may be helpful in assisting the family of a police officer who is killed in the line of duty with a onetime buyout of benefits instead of receiving the in place benefits in the form of death benefits on a monthly basis. I know that no amount of money for a work related death under California workers' compensation law will ever come close to recompensing dependents and/or partial dependents with the loss of their loved one. But, we will apprise you of and fight for each right you are entitled to under California workers' compensation law when should a work injury result in a workplace death.

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