Virginia workers’ compensation benefits are available to dependents of an employee whose death was caused by a work-related accident or occupational disease. Death benefits are only available if the injured worker’s death occurs within nine years of the accident and the dependent files a claim for benefits within two years of the worker’s death. The dependent will only receive death benefits if he shows a causal connection between the workplace accident and the worker’s death by a preponderance evidence (i.e.,the dependent must show that it is more likely than not that the workplace accident caused the death). A Virginia workers compensation lawyer can help you get the death benefits you need to move forward following the death of a loved one.
Who Can Receive Death Benefits under Virginia Workers' Compensation Law?
There are four groups of persons who are presumed as a matter of law to be dependent on the deceased worker. These person include:
- A wife upon a husband whom she had not voluntarily deserted or abandoned at the time of the accident or with whom she lived at the time of the accident, if she is then actually dependent on him;
- A husband upon a wife whom he had not voluntarily deserted or abandoned at the time of the accident or with whom he lived at the time of the accident, if he is then actually dependent on her;
- A child under the age of 18 or a child over the age of 18 if physically or mentally incapacitated from earning a living, or a child under the age of 23 if enrolled as a full-time student; and
- Parents in destitute circumstances, so long as there are no total dependents under other provisions of the law
Persons who do not fall within one of these groups may file a claim for death benefits in Virginia. They must, however, show that the deceased employee contributed to their support with regularity and that they relied on the contributions for necessities consistent with their quality of life.
Amount of Death Benefits Available Under Virginia Workers' Compensation Law
The amount of death benefits available under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act depends on the relationship between the deceased worker and the individual bringing the claim. Both total and partial dependents are entitled to death benefits under Virginia Code Section 65.2-512 Dependence is defined as relying on the deceased worker, in whole or part, for support and maintenance of quality of life.
Persons found wholly dependent on the deceased worker’s earnings are entitled to a weekly payment equal to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. This amount is equal to the rate for temporary total disability benefits.
If a person is found partially dependent, they are entitled to death benefits in proportion to how dependent they were on the deceased worker. The Commission will determine the amount of benefits to which the person is entitled.
Length of Benefits
Dependents who fall within one of the four presumptive classes are entitled to 500 weeks of death benefits. Other persons entitled to death benefits can receive a maximum of 400 weeks.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act authorizes up to an additional $10,000 in compensation for burial expenses.
We're Here to Help
Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. We are here to help make it easier on you financially. Call Virginia workers’ compensation attorney Corey Pollard, author of the Virginia Workers Compensation Guide, to get the death benefits you need and deserve. You may also be entitled to a workers compensation settlement payable in one lump sum.
Corey Pollard Law,
801 E Main St #302a,
Richmond, VA 23219,
United States (US)
Secondary phone: 757-810-5614