Death Benefits in the Airline Industry

Lawyers for Work Injury Claims in Chicago

Airline workers can be injured or become sick on the job for many different reasons. Unfortunately, sometimes these injuries or occupational illnesses are fatal. They can be the result of turbulence during a flight or an airplane crash. While most people are aware that it’s possible to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for job-related injuries, not every family member is aware that death benefits may be available in the airline industry to family members whose loved ones died on the job. If you are concerned about obtaining death benefits following the death of an airline worker, a seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can answer your questions.

Who Qualifies for Death Benefits in the Airline Industry?

Only certain family members are considered dependents are entitled to death benefits in Illinois. Family members who are considered dependents include a husband, a wife, a child under age 18, a child under age 25 when enrolled full time in an accredited educational institution, and a child of any age who is mentally or physically disabled. For example, if you were in college when your dad, an airline pilot, died in a plane crash, you may be able to obtain death benefits. For another example, if your husband was a flight attendant who contracted an infectious disease while working on the plane and died from it, you may be able to obtain benefits. If there is no spouse or child, there is a possibility that other family members, including the parents or adult children of the decedent, can qualify for benefits.

Weekly death benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system are paid in a particular order of priority. The first in line to get benefits are a worker’s spouse and children. A spouse and any kids that are under age 18 or under 25 if enrolled in school full time or any age and physically or mentally disabled are first in line to get benefits. These benefits can continue to be paid until the later of the following occurs: the youngest child gets to age 18 or gets to age 25 if the youngest child is in school full time. When a child is physically or mentally incapacitated, he or she can keep receiving benefits so long as there is disability. For example, if your father was a baggage handler who was hit by a vehicle on the tarmac and died, and you have quadriplegia and are unable to work, you can continue to receive benefits so long as you have this condition.

As a spouse of an airline worker who has died, if you have no kids eligible for benefits, and you remarry, you can get a lump sum payment of benefits to cover two years. After that the benefits will stop coming.

Sometimes, a worker’s parents are completely dependent on him or her. When there are no kids or spouse that survive the deceased airline worker and there is complete dependency for their parents, they benefits for the parents’ lifetime. Similarly, there are benefits for others that are dependent on a deceased airline worker. For example, if there’s no eligible spouse, kids or parents, a worker’s dependent adult children can get benefits for up to 8 years. Similarly, the worker’s grandparents or grandkids or those who are considered heirs via sibling relationships may be able to collect benefits if they were dependent. They have to have been a minimum of 50% dependent on a deceased airline worker’s earnings to get death benefits for five years. If you have questions about whether you may qualify for death benefits, a dedicated work injury lawyer can assess your situation.

Calculating Death Benefits

Dependents of airline workers who are eligible for death benefits may wonder how these benefits are calculated. If you’re eligible, you can obtain 2/3 of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage. This is capped on both ends by minimums and maximums. You can’t get more than a certain amount per week, as set forth by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. These benefits can continue for 25 years or until $500,000 has been paid.

Consult a Knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

It is painful to lose someone you love. There can be adverse financial consequences as well if you were financially dependent on the decedent. It may be possible to get death benefits in the airline industry in Chicago. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, our lawyers represent the families of airline workers who have died on the job or for job-related reasons in Quincy, Rockford, Springfield, Aurora, and Champaign, as well as Kane County, Sangamon County, Winnebago County, Cook County, and Adams County. We can also examine the situation to determine whether other relief, such as damages in a wrongful death lawsuit should be sought. Call us toll-free at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330, or contact us via our online form.