Health care workers face even more greater risks of illness and injury on the job since the start of the pandemic than before. Many medical practices and hospitals are understaffed. Workers’ compensation benefits may be available to certain family members if a health care worker’s life is cut short by a fatal workplace accident or illness. Each state has its own workers’ compensation system. In Illinois, workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault death benefits that include funeral and burial costs, along with a portion of lost wages. You may be able to obtain benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act or the Illinois Occupational Disease Act for a work-related death of a loved one. If your loved one died on the job, you should consult the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We have pursued benefits for the families of workers who died on the job for more than 60 years.Death Benefits for Chicago Nurses, Doctors, and Staff
Only specific family members will be able to obtain death benefits through the workers’ compensation system in Illinois. You may be eligible for these benefits if you are the spouse, child or other named dependent on a health care worker who died on the job. For example, if your spouse died as the result of being exposed to COVID-19 while working as a nurse in a hospital, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. For another example, if you are a minor whose parent was a staff member in an emergency room, and she died due to an attack by a patient, you may be eligible for death benefits.
The nature of benefits that may be recovered varies based on a health care worker’s average weekly wage and other factors. As a family member of a deceased health care worker, you may be able to obtain payment of all of his or her medical bills, funeral and burial expenses up to $8000, and a portion of his or her lost wages, which typically equal around 66% of his or her gross weekly wage in the 52 weeks before dying. Generally, your loved one’s burial expenses must be considered reasonable in order to recover these expenses.
Furthermore, death benefits can end early if you are the spouse of a deceased health care worker, if and when you remarry. Death benefits won’t continue unless you remarry into a family without any children eligible to receive the benefits, too.Process for Obtaining Death Benefits
The Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission (IWCC) is the government agency that administers workers’ compensation claims, including claims for death benefits. If you are denied benefits by the medical practice or other company that employed your spouse or parent, you may be able to obtain a hearing before the IWCC. An arbitrator will hear the case and determine whether you are entitled to benefits for the work-related death.Maximum and Minimum Limits
In Illinois, death benefits have certain maximum or minimum limits. They can be paid for 25 years or up to a maximum of $500,000, whichever is greater. Our lawyers may be able to guide you through the complex and sometimes challenging process of obtaining the no-fault death benefits available to you if you are the spouse or child of a health care worker who died on the job or because of the job.Third Party Lawsuits in or Around Chicago
Workers’ compensation benefits are an exclusive remedy against a Chicago-based or other Illinois employer. As the spouse or child of a deceased health care workers, you will not be able to recover damages from your loved one’s employer through civil litigation. However, there may be certain situations in which you can pursue wrongful death damages from a third party that is at fault for an accident. Unlike death benefits obtained through the workers’ compensation system, damages require the decedent’s family to prove a third party was negligent or otherwise at fault for the decedent’s death. For example, it might be appropriate to sue a manufacturer for wrongful death damages if defective equipment caused your loved one’s death while he was working at the hospital.Consult an Experienced Attorney for Death Benefits
If you lost a loved one due to work-related injuries or illness, you should consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer. It is crucial to retain legal representation as soon as you realize your loved one’s death was work-related. Our lawyers represent health care workers in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.