Death Benefits Can Ease Suffering of Those Killed on the Job
In Ohio, just like everywhere else, every job carries certain safety risks. Unfortunately, sometimes no matter what safety measures are in place, a worker can be killed while on the job. For this to happen, the worker need not work in a particularly dangerous occupation. In fact, the leading cause of worker deaths in Ohio is car and truck accidents while on company business. Following motor vehicle accidents are falls from ladders, roofs, trees and other surfaces. In other cases, workers can die as a result of an occupational disease that was developed over time, such as asbestosis.
If you have lost a loved one due to a work-related accident or illness, you may have the right to collect death benefits under Ohio workers’ compensation law. This law pays benefits to the decedent’s children, spouse, siblings and lineal descendants that are partially or wholly dependent on the decedent’s wages for support. Unlike wholly dependent individuals, who receive benefits regardless of need until a time provided by law, partially dependent individuals receive benefits for a limited time that is determined by the workers’ compensation administrator.
Under the law, the following individuals are presumed to be wholly dependent on the decedent’s support:
- The spouse, if he or she was living with or was separated from the decedent at the time of his or her death.
- Children over 18 years of age, if they have a physical or mental disability.
- Children under 18 years of age.
- Children under 25 years of age, if enrolled in a full-time educational program.
- The biological parents, if the decedent was living with them at the time of the death. However, the amount of benefits is limited to $3,000.
Individuals that are wholly dependent on the decedent’s support are entitled to collect death benefits equal to sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wage of the decedent. If the decedent’s wage was higher than the state’s average weekly wage, however, the dependents may only collect sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the state’s average wage. In cases where there are multiple parties eligible to collect benefits, the workers’ compensation administrator divides the benefits between the parties.
Spouses receive benefits until he or she remarries or dies. If the spouse remarries, he or she may collect two years’ worth of benefits in a single lump-sum payment. Under the law, the children and other individuals that are wholly dependent on the decedent’s support receive benefits until they are 18 years of age (or 25 if attending college or another educational institution). If the individual has a mental of physical disability, he or she continues collecting benefits as long as the disability prevents the individual from obtaining employment.
In some limited cases, the decedent’s siblings, descendants and other relatives may also receive death benefits, if circumstances indicate that they were dependent on the decedent’s support at the time of his or her death. However, in such cases, the amount of available benefits is limited by law to a maximum of $3,000, regardless of the number of people claiming benefits.
An attorney can help
If a loved one has been killed as a result of his or her job duties, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can fully advise you on your right to collect death benefits and work to ensure that you receive the financial support that you are entitled to.