In addition to paying benefits to eligible workers, Florida workers’ compensation insurance pays death benefits to the eligible survivors of workers who have died because of a work-related injury or illness.
In many cases, a deceased worker has multiple survivors eligible for benefits. Florida law extends workers’ comp death benefits to a spouse, children and, in some cases, parents and siblings. Unfortunately, complicated family relationships combined with complex laws and regulations can lead to disputes about these benefits. Also, employers and/or their workers’ compensation insurers may challenge the payment of death benefits.
The Frank M. Eidson, P.A., law firm can help you to seek death benefits through Florida’s workers’ compensation system. For more than two decades, attorney Frank M. Eidson has been helping injured and ill workers and their families throughout Orlando, Winter Park and surrounding areas in Central Florida. He wants to help you, too. Simply contact us today to receive a free consultation.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits for Family Members
Florida’s workers’ compensation system pays a death benefit if a work-related death occurs within one year of the date of a work-related accident or within five years of continuous disability related to an occupational illness or injury. As much as $150,000 in total may be paid, covering:
- Funeral expenses up to $7,500
- Weekly payments to eligible dependents
- Educational benefits to the surviving spouse.
Weekly payments to dependents are based on a percentage of the deceased worker’s wages prior to the injury or illness. Dependents are paid in an “order of preference” as follows:
- The spouse if there are no children. Payment is 50 percent of the deceased’s weekly wage.
- The spouse if there is a dependent child or children. Payment is 50 percent of the deceased’s weekly wage plus 16 2/3 percent due to the child(ren).
- To the child or children if there is no spouse. The benefit is 33.3 percent of the deceased’s weekly wages for each child until they are 18 years old (or 22 if in school full-time.) A child who cannot earn a living because of physical or mental disability would continue to receive payments until the $150,000 maximum is met.
- To the parents if they were dependents of the deceased. They each receive 25 percent of weekly wages as long as the dependency continues or until the maximum is met.
- To any brothers, sisters and grandchildren who were dependent on the deceased. They would receive 15 percent each as long as they remain dependent or the maximum benefit is depleted.
Just as there are many variables in what constitutes a family or a family relationship, there are different ways the law may be applied.
For example, the Florida death benefits statute provides that if the deceased worker is survived by a spouse and a child or children, a judge may “provide for the payment of compensation in such manner as may appear to the judge … [to be] … just and proper and for the best interests of the respective parties.” This may include awarding the entire death benefit exclusively to the child or children, and not a surviving spouse.
Contact an Orlando / Winter Park Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits Attorney
At Frank M. Eidson, P.A., we understand how challenging it can be to deal with the death of a loved one. We believe it is important to work with an experienced and compassionate attorney when seeking the death benefits that you and your family are entitled to under Florida law.
To learn how we can assist you, contact us today. Our initial consultations are always free.
Sources / More Information