Each workplace accident that ends in death is tragic as it cuts a life short far too soon. It is also traumatic for the loved ones left behind. In addition to emotional damage, workers who die as a result of industrial accidents can potentially cause major financial crises for their immediate loved ones, as they may be significant (or even sole) income earners for their families. In Massachusetts, the families of workers killed on the job have certain legal avenues available to them. One of these is seeking workers’ compensation death benefits. To make sure that you obtain the compensation your family needs to survive financially, talk to an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.
July 2018 was an unfortunately bad month for fatal industrial accidents in Massachusetts. In one instance, a 26-year-old died after entering a large industrial cutting machine that was under maintenance at a facility in Sharon. At some point, the man became stuck inside the machine’s workings. EMTs took roughly 90 minutes to free the man and rush him to the hospital. Although the worker was conscious and talking to the EMTs when they arrived, he died at the hospital from his injuries. Roughly a week later, a worker at a Concord hospital diedfrom injuries sustained at his workplace. The 46-year-old man was working on the hospital’s boiler system when he entered its crawl space. He left behind a wife and two children.
Surviving spouses, children and other dependents of workers killed in a workplace accident (or who die as a result of complications from that accident) can obtain workers’ compensation survivor benefits. (Children are only eligible for benefits if they are under 18, are full-time students or cannot work due to their disabilities.)
These benefits are paid weekly and assessed based upon the earnings that the deceased worker made. Specifically, survivor benefits are determined as a percentage of the average earnings that the fatally injured worker received. A surviving spouse can obtain benefits equaling 66% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage. At a later date, surviving spouses may also be entitled to yearly cost-of-living adjustments. A surviving spouse is entitled to keep receiving these survivor benefits as long as he/she continues to be dependent and does not remarry. If the spouse remarries, the deceased worker’s eligible children receive $60 per week, with the limitation that the total paid to the children cannot be more than the spouse was receiving.
In addition to these benefits, survivors may be entitled to another type of important benefit. This benefit pays burial costs for the deceased, up to a maximum of eight times the state average weekly wage in place when the worker died.
After you’ve lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, you bear the heavy burden of keeping your family going emotionally. Let the professionals handle the task of getting you the benefits and compensation you need to keep your family going financially. Plymouth County workers’ compensation lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann has spent many years effectively representing people from across Plymouth County, including Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury in their workers’ compensation and survivor benefits cases. To find out more about how we can help you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.