Cramer and Martinez

Free Consultation408-848-1113

7459 Monterey St., Suite A, Gilroy, CA 95020

Santa Clara County Workers' Compensation Death Benefits Lawyers

Monterey death benefits workers' comp attorney

Attorneys For Families of Employees Killed in Workplace Accidents in Gilroy and Morgan Hill

When an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, it can be extremely difficult for the surviving family members. They not only have to cope with the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one but also in many cases the loss of financial support that came from the employee's income. If you have lost a family member on whom you depended for support, it is important to understand the death benefits you may be eligible for under California's workers' compensation laws.

At Cramer & Martinez, LLP, we know how difficult the time after a family member's death can be, and how hard it may be to focus on the complicated legal process of obtaining the benefits to which you are entitled. We strive to remove the stress from this process for you, and with over 20 years of combined experience, we know how to handle it as efficiently as possible to work toward the best possible outcome.

Who is Eligible for Workers' Comp Death Benefits in California?

After an employee's death due to a workplace injury, death benefits may be paid to his or her total or partial dependents, meaning the people who relied on him or her for some degree of financial support. A total dependent could be any of the following:

  • A spouse with an income at or below $30,000 during the 12 months before the employee's death
  • A child under 18 years of age
  • A child of any age who has a physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from earning an income

Partial dependents are determined based on the specific facts of each case, but in general, they must either have been a member of the employee's household or have a qualified family relationship with the employee.

What Benefits Are Available to Surviving Dependents?

An employee's dependents are entitled to any benefits due to the employee at the time of his or her death, but they will not be able to collect disability benefits for any time after the employee's death. Instead, a new calculation will be used to determine the death benefits owed to the surviving family members.

In all cases involving injuries that occurred in 2013 or later, surviving dependents are entitled to up to $10,000 in burial expenses. The additional amount of benefits varies depending on the number of total and partial dependents the employee leaves behind. For example, the benefit amount is $250,000 for cases involving one total dependent, $290,000 for cases involving two total dependents, and $320,000 for cases involving three or more total dependents. When there is more than one total dependent, the benefit is divided equally between them. In cases in which the employee had only partial dependents, benefits are available in the amount of eight times the annual support they received from the employee up to a maximum of $250,000.

Death benefits are paid weekly at a rate of two-thirds of the employee's weekly wages before the injury, the same calculation used for temporary total disability benefits. Payments continue until the full amount has been paid, and they may extend for a longer period until the youngest dependent child has turned 18, or throughout the life of a dependent child with a disability.

How to Obtain Death Benefits

While most workers' compensation claims start by going through the employer and their claims administrator, death benefit applications go directly to the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. In order to receive death benefits, you must initiate the process by a certain deadline, which is usually one year from the date of the employee's death. Your attorney will help you complete and file the required application in a timely fashion and gather the records and evidence you may need to demonstrate that your loved one's death was the result of a work-related injury. We can also help you prepare evidence demonstrating your total or partial dependency on your loved one to ensure that you receive the most benefits possible. If your application is denied, or if you believe the board's decision does not reflect the full benefits to which you are entitled, we can help you file an appeal and represent you at a hearing to present your case.

Contact a Gilroy Workers' Compensation Attorney

When you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, you do not have to handle the workers' compensation process alone. Contact us today at 408-848-1113 for a free consultation to learn how we can help. We serve injured employees and their families in Santa Clara County, San Benito County, Santa Cruz County, and Monterey County, including Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Salinas, Hollister, San Jose, Watsonville, Los Banos, and the surrounding areas.

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