Fatal Work Injuries

Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

When a worker goes to work, he or she expects to come home that night. Tragically, some work related injuries and accidents are fatal. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 163 fatal work injuries in Illinois in 2017. An Assistant Commissioner stated that this figure was less than the prior year. In 1996, there was a high of 262 fatal work injuries. If your loved one suffered fatal work injuries and you are wondering what your next steps should be, an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can help you evaluate your options.

Fatal Work Injuries

Fatal work injuries are those injuries that result in the death of someone on the job. They can be suffered through fires and explosions, toxic substance exposure, violence and injuries inflicted by another person or animal, falls, collisions with equipment, and transportation accidents. When these fatal injuries occur on the job or are work-related, the family members of the deceased worker may be able to obtain death benefits. Death benefits can include a portion of what the worker would have earned had he not passed away. They also include funeral benefits. Funeral benefits can be paid up to a particular maximum. The amount will be paid to a surviving spouse, the decedent’s dependents or next of kin, or whoever paid the funeral expenses.

Family Members Eligible for Death Benefits

Only certain family members in order of priority can obtain death benefits. The first in line to get death benefits in case of fatal work injuries is a deceased worker’s spouse. If, for example, your husband was crushed in a work accident involving a truck that was backing up in a warehouse, and then passed away, you may be entitled to obtain death benefits that would not only cover his funeral, but also provide some wage replacement. Children under age 18, children under 25 who are enrolled full time in an accredited education institution, and children who are mentally or physically incapacitated may also be eligible for death benefits. Often spouses remarry after a worker’s death. When a spouse remarries, and there aren’t kids eligible for benefits, he or she can get a lump sum payment involving two years of benefits and then benefits are cut off.

If the worker does not have a spouse or child as defined above, other family members might qualify for benefits including parents, adult children, grandparents, and grandchildren. Benefits are paid to a worker’s parents if they were completely dependent on the deceased worker. The benefits are paid for the parents’ lifetimes. Similarly, next in line are adult children of a deceased worker who are dependent even partially on the decedent’s income. These benefits are shorter in duration, and are paid for a maximum of 8 years. A knowledgeable work injury lawyer can help you determine the amount of benefits you may be eligible for.

Amount of Death Benefits

You can get 2/3 of the employee’s gross weekly wage as a survivor entitled to death benefits. The calculation occurs according to what the victim was making in gross weekly wages for the 52 weeks before dying. There are maximum and minimum rates. There are also cost of living adjustments. The payments are based on weekly sums, but they are paid on a monthly basis for 25 years or when survivors have received $500,000, whichever amount is more.

Consult a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

Fatal work injuries cause substantial harm to the families of the deceased. It may be possible to get death benefits if your family member lost their life due to a work injury or illness in Chicago. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, our lawyers represent family members of workers who have died on the job in Aurora, Rockford, Quincy, Springfield, and Champaign, as well as Cook County, Sangamon County, Kane County, Winnebago County, and Adams County. We can also assess whether it’s appropriate to pursue damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Call us toll-free at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or contact us via our online form.