If you've lost a loved one while they were on the job and their employer subscribes to workers' comp coverage, Texas law provides a type of benefit called Burial Benefits. Regardless of how the accident occurred, if the employee was working at the time of the accident, these benefits are available to reimburse the individual who paid for the funeral costs.
In this article, we'll discuss Burial Benefits and how it affects people who have lost a loved one in a work accident.
Questions answered on this page:
- What are Burial Benefits?
- What does the say about Burial Benefits under workers' comp coverage?
- What happens if an employee dies off-site or while traveling?
- How can a lawyer help if I lost a loved one in a workplace accident?
What Texas Law Says About Workers' Compensation Burial Benefits
When an employee dies in a workplace accident, those who are left behind have to lay their loved one to rest. While burying a loved one can be extremely difficult, it can be costly as well. Burial Benefits are available under Texas workers' comp coverage in order to help families in a time of great need. The law related to Burial Benefits comes from Section 408.186 of the Texas Labor Code:
Sec. 408.186 BURIAL BENEFITS:
- (a) If the death of an employee results from a compensable injury, the insurance carrier shall pay to the person who incurred liability for the costs of burial the lesser of:
- (1) the actual costs incurred for reasonable burial expenses; or
- (2) $6,000.
This section states that if your family member died while in the course and scope of employment, then the employer's insurance carrier is required to pay for at least a portion of their funeral expenses. The workers' compensation insurance carrier can pay for either the actual costs of the funeral and burial, or $6,000 - whichever amount is less.
- As an example, if the costs of the funeral, after costs of the burial plot, mortuary fees, etc, total $10,000, then the insurance carrier would reimburse you for $6,000. However, if it only costs you $5,000 total to properly bury your family member and hold a funeral, then the insurance company would pay you $5,000 since that is less than the $6,000 alternative.
What happens if a death occurs while the worker was offsite or traveling?
A frequent issue that many families encounter is that their loved one died while on a special assignment or business trip in another city or state, and consequently, the family faces challenges in transporting them home for burial. The statute also addresses this common problem. If your loved one died away from their usual place of work, then the insurance carrier will pay for transportation of your family member back to where they typically work and live. This cost is separate from the cost of the funeral itself (the $6,000 previously mentioned).
Additional Important Information
In our 25 years of practice, we've helped hundreds of families who've lost loved ones, and we've lost loved ones ourselves. So, we understand a little about your priorities. We appreciate the fact that laying your loved one to rest is your primary concern. However, even though the timing may not feel right, there are very important legal steps that must be taken. All that to say, we understand why you have concerns about funeral expenses, but funeral expenses are just a small part of the big picture.
To understand your rights, the responsibilities of your loved one's employer, and to address practical concerns, such as how will I pay my bills? we strongly encourage you to read the following:
- Texas Workers' Compensation Overview - This article walks you through Texas workers' comp laws in plain English. The main takeaway from this article is that Texas work injury law probably works much differently than you imagine, and it has actually been engineered by our state's lawmakers to make it difficult to hold your loved one's employer responsible.
- Workers' Compensation Gross Negligence Lawsuits - The whole idea behind the workers' compensation system in Texas is that it takes away an employee's right to sue the employer and replaces it with a benefit plan. However, when a worker is killed due to an employer's abnormally dangerous conduct, the victim's family can sue under a theory of gross negligence as well as receive the traditional workers' comp benefits.
- Workers' Comp Death Benefits - In addition to Burial Benefits, workers' comp law also entitles a victim's family to Death Benefits.
- Non-Subscriber Work Injury Cases - Sometimes, employers will elect not to provide workers' compensation coverage. When they opt out of a comp plan, you are able to file a normal wrongful death lawsuit against them under a non-subscriber cause of action.
Call us with questions about Burial Benefits or anything else.
The fact of the matter is, you'll need an experienced work injury attorney to help you with your workers' compensation case. We're always here to help and are ready whenever you are. Call us today at (855) 326-0000.
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