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What Are Death and Dependency Benefits?

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Posted By KSK Law | November 30 2022 | Workers Rights, Wrongful Death

Workplace accidents happen every year in Minnesota. Some of these incidents result in serious injuries. Others lead to unexpected fatalities, leaving employees’ families in serious pain, distress, and, oftentimes, financial hardship.

When these devastating events occur, many families do not realize that they may be eligible for financial compensation. Under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system, eligible dependents of deceased workers may qualify for death and dependency benefits. If you believe that you qualify for these benefits, it is important to contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your next steps.

An Overview of Minnesota’s Death and Dependency Benefits

In Minnesota, the majority of businesses with at least one employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage pays for any work-related injuries or occupational illnesses that an employee sustains as a result of his or her employment. 

Workers’ compensation will also provide death and dependency benefits if a worker dies as a result of his or her employment-related injury or illness. The surviving spouse, minor children, or parents of the deceased may claim these benefits, which may include:

  • Up to $15,000 for funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses for the deceased worker
  • Between 50–66% of the worker’s average weekly wage at the time of the injury or illness that resulted in death, depending on the number of dependents
  • A minimum benefit of $60,000 paid monthly or as a lump sum to the worker’s dependents or estate, based on the worker’s weekly wage

Death and dependency payments will depend on who is receiving those benefits. For example, if a spouse with no dependent children is receiving payments, he or she will get up to 50% of the worker’s weekly wage for 10 years. If dependent children are involved, the spouse will receive a higher percentage until the children become adults; afterward, the spouse will receive reduced payments for 10 years.

Can Families of Deceased Workers Pursue Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Minnesota?

Wrongful death lawsuits allow families of people who are killed as a result of negligence to recover financial compensation to pay for losses like pain and suffering. Due to Minnesota’s workers’ compensation laws, dependents of deceased workers are not generally allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit over the loss of their loved one. 

However, there are some exceptions:

  • If the worker’s death happened as a result of a third party’s negligence, the family can file a wrongful death claim. For example, if a construction worker died as a result of defective machinery, the family could file a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer.
  • If the employer was required to hold workers’ compensation insurance but failed to purchase this coverage, the family could seek a settlement from the employer by filing a lawsuit. 

Speak to an Attorney About Your Options After a Loved One’s Death

The death of a loved one is one of life’s most painful experiences. If your loved one died in a workplace accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you navigate this situation and advocate for the benefits that your family deserves.

Your Minneapolis death and dependency benefits attorney can assess your options for compensation and represent you during the claims process. As soon as possible following your loved one’s passing, contact a lawyer to discuss your case and identify your best path to recovery.

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