If an injured worker dies as a result of his or her work accident, then benefits will go to the worker’s dependents.
There are two categories of dependents:
The first category of dependents, called presumptive dependents, are defined by the worker’s compensation law as any of the following:
The other category of dependents, called dependents-in-fact, includes individuals related by blood or marriage who are dependent, either totally or partially, upon the deceased employee. This might include, for example, a 19-year old niece being raised and supported by an aunt that was killed on the job, or a father-in-law who was being cared for by his son-in-law who is now deceased after an on-the-job accident.
Total dependents-in-fact will be entitled to death benefits only if there are no presumptive dependents at the time of the worker’s death.
Those that fit the definition of dependents are eligible for a total of 500 weeks of lost wages at 66 2/3% of the deceased’s average weekly wage. The employer and/or worker’s compensation insurance carrier is also obligated to pay any medical benefits and up to $7,500 for burial expenses.