When a worker is killed on the job, their loved ones lose not only a companion, but also, someone that contributed income to the household. Statistically speaking, men are far more likely to die on the job than women. Further, the types of workers who most commonly die on the job are the head of the household in a traditional nuclear family. Consequently, when a worker is killed on the job, this means that the family's breadwinner is no longer able to contribute to the family's income.
While Texas workers' compensation law is anything but generous, it does provide a form of benefits called "Death Benefits" that are paid out to the workers spouse, children, and parents (occasionally). In this article, our attorneys explain the compensation that is available under Texas law if your loved one is killed on the job.
Questions answered in this article:
- How much do workers' compensation Death Benefits pay under Texas law?
- Are children eligible for benefits?
- What if there are no surviving beneficiaries?
- Why would I need an attorney for a workers' compensation case?
How much can I receive from Workers' Compensation Death Benefits?
Death Benefits are monthly payments that equal 75 percent of the deceased employee's Average Weekly Wage and are subject to maximum and minimum benefit amount restrictions. For example, if the deceased employee's Average Weekly Wages were $500, Death Benefits would equal $375 per week:
According to the the Texas Department of Insurance a surviving spouse may receive Death Benefits for the remainder of his or her life unless the spouse remarries.
Further, a surviving spouse who remarries will receive a lump sum payment of death benefits equal to two years (104 weeks) of the benefits. If there are dependent children who still qualify for the death benefit after the expiration of the 104 weeks, the entire benefit will be divided equally among the children if there is more than one child.
When do children receive benefits?
A child is eligible to receive Death Benefits until he or she reaches 18; or until age 25 if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution. If there is more than one eligible child, as one child loses eligibility the benefits are re-distributed equally among the remaining eligible children. For example, if the accident victim has 3 children, ages 25, 17, and 15. Once the eldest child turns 26, then he or she is no longer able to receive benefits, and the two younger children will still receive benefits, divided amongst them.
- When the beneficiaries are disabled children:
A child with physical or mental disability who is a dependent on the date the victim died may receive death benefits until the date the child dies or no longer has the disability. An eligible child with a physical or mental disability will need to provide the insurance carrier documentation of the disability for the remainder of his or her life..
- When the beneficiaries are grandchildren:
Grandchildren may be eligible to receive death benefits if the grandchild was at least 20% dependent on the deceased employee at the time of the employee's death, unless that the grandchild's own parent is eligible for the benefit. An eligible grandchild can receive death benefits until the grandchild reaches age 18. A grandchild who is eligible to receive death benefits and who is not a minor at the time of the employee's death may be eligible to receive no more than 364 weeks of death benefits.
Other dependent family members, such as a dependent parent, stepparent, sibling, or grandparent of the deceased employee may also qualify for death benefits, but only if there is no eligible surviving spouse, child or grandchild. The duration of these benefits is limited to 364 weeks.
When there are no surviving beneficiaries:
If at any time, there are no eligible beneficiaries, or the eligible beneficiaries are no longer eligible and at least 364 weeks has not been paid by the insurance carrier, the remaining benefits are paid to the Subsequent Injury Fund administered by TDI (Texas Department of Insurance).
An experience attorney will help you to negotiate the Texas Workers' Compensation process:
If your loved one has died while working on the job and you believe you are entitled to receive death benefits, it is important that you are fully informed about your rights and adequately represented. To learn more about workers' compensation death benefits and whether you may qualify, call our wrongful death law firm at (855) 326-0000.
Related Articles For Further Reading: