It is a sad fact that workplace accidents not only can lead to serious injuries, they can and do result in the tragic deaths of workers on a regular basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,628 workers were killed on the job in 2012 – on average, 89 a week or more than 12 deaths every single day.
Who Can Receive Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits?
When a New Mexico worker dies from a work-related injury or accident, our workers’ compensation program can provide benefits to the family of the deceased. The beneficiaries of these benefits may include the worker’s spouse, dependent children, or other immediate family members such as parents or grandchildren if they were financially dependent on the worker. The family is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits only if the worker has died as a result of a work-related accident, either immediately or within two years after the accident, or if the death resulted from an occupational disease.
Types of Available Death Benefits
Workers’ compensation death benefits available to eligible family members after a qualifying accident and death include:
- All of the worker’s medical expenses related to the accident or occupational disease up to the time of death;
- Actual funeral expenses up to $7,500;
- If the worker lives for a period of time following the accident, temporary total disability benefits are due to the worker. If any of these are unpaid when the worker dies, these unpaid benefits become part of the death benefit to eligible family members. The maximum amount of benefits to be paid is the “indemnity benefit maximum,” and if indemnity benefits are paid prior to death, the amount paid prior to death is subtracted from the maximum.
Any indemnity benefits that were due to the worker at the time of death will continue for the spouse or children of the worker, for as long as the worker would have been entitled to the benefits, or for as long as the beneficiaries remain qualified. For example, when children reach age 18, or age 23 if full-time students, they are no longer entitled to benefits. Additionally, if the worker died as a result of an employer’s failure to provide a safety device, a compensation benefit of $5,000 may be paid to the worker’s surviving father and/or mother if the parents did not qualify as eligible dependents, there were no other eligible dependents, timely notice of the accident was given, and the parents claim the $5,000 benefit within one year of the death. If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident and have questions about New Mexico workers’ compensation death benefits, reach out to an experienced New Mexico workers’ compensation lawyer who can provide you with answers, guidance, and assistance during this difficult time.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Brown: Fighting for New Mexico Workers
We know how hard you work, and we’ll work just as hard for you. Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Brown & Derek Thompson today at (505) 275-6600 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free initial consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation matter. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet, and back to work.
This website has been prepared by the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Brown for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.