April 27, 2018 was the 30th observance of Workers’ Memorial Day to remember the workers who were killed, make ill and injured on the job. Seventy-four workers lost their lives in 2017 in work-related accidents in Massachusetts. This was the highest rate in over a decade. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 75 work-related fatalities in metro Boston in 2016. This is approximately a 56% increase in work-related fatalities since 2015.
Do you know what you may be entitled to if your spouse or parent is fatally injured in an accident on the job in Massachusetts? Of course, it’s not something we ever want to think about, but with fatal work injuries increasing in Massachusetts, families should at least be aware that workers’ compensation insurance offers certain benefits to the family of a fatally injured worker.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation & Benefits for a Fatally Injured Worker’s Family
In Massachusetts the Workers’ Compensation Act (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152) requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides benefits for employees who are injured on the job and incur medical bills and lost wages due to their work-related injuries. For information on the available benefits for an injured worker to cover the cost of medical treatment and replace a portion of the wages lost due to the work injuries, see Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to Injured Workers. Below, is a summary of the benefits that may be available to surviving family members who lost their loved one to a fatal work-related accident.
If an employee in Massachusetts is fatally injured in a work-related accident, his or her surviving spouse and dependents may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These type of workers’ compensation benefits are commonly referred to as death benefits or financial benefits and cost of living benefits.
The death benefits a surviving spouse may receive from workers’ compensation are weekly payments equal to two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage. Massachusetts does set a cap on the weekly death benefits, which is no more than the state's average weekly wage (SAWW) set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in effect at the time of the injury or death. Children of the deceased worker who are under the age of eighteen are entitled to an additional payment of $6.00 per week per child. Additionally, the workers’ compensation death benefits include reimbursement of up to a certain dollar amount (currently $4,000) for burial expenses.
In order for the surviving spouse and/or dependents to be entitled to these benefits, it must be established that the worker’s death resulted from an injury that originated in some aspect from their employment. Also, dependents must show that they were reliant upon the deceased worker’s pay for their support.
An Experienced Massachusetts Injury Attorney Can Help
The workers’ compensation laws and process in Massachusetts are complex. When a family is dealing with the loss of a loved one, the last thing they want to deal with is the difficulty in obtaining death benefits. The insurance companies know that navigating the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts can be difficult and they use this to their advantage. They often dispute and deny claims for compensation which is extremely frustrating to a grieving family. They also don’t offer benefits that are available to surviving family members unless they specifically ask for them. Unless you know about what benefits you are entitled to, how will you know what to ask for?
For these reasons, it is very important that the surviving family members of a deceased worker consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Massachusetts. The insurance company will have a lawyer on their side, so why shouldn’t you. An accident lawyer can help protect your legal rights and secure the workers’ compensation death benefits you and your family deserve. While there are no benefits that could ever replace what you’ve lost, the accidental death benefits can help provide financial security to you and your family.
Speak With A Work Accident Attorney in Massachusetts?
If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident in Massachusetts, you and your family may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The lawyers at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specialize specifically on accident and injury cases and are here to help. Whether you need an attorney to represent you and your family or just have a specific question, feel free to contact us.
We offer a no-obligation complimentary case evaluation. Please call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to set up a time to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.