Virginia Workplace Fatality Lawyer – Helping Family Members and Loved Ones Obtain Death Benefits through Virginia Workers Compensation
Work-related fatalities still happen in Virginia and across the United States. And each worker death on the job is a tragedy. Family members are left behind and must deal with the emotional, mental, and financial devastation that a workplace fatality can bring. These grieving spouses, children, and loved ones deserve compassion, support, and compensation. With an experienced Virginia workplace fatality lawyer compensation in the form of death benefits and a lump sum workers comp settlement may be available.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident in Virginia, workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard is here to help you and your family. We focus on your claim for workers compensation death benefits, burial and funeral expenses, and medical benefits while you focus on healing. And if other legal action is available, such as a third-party personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim, we’ll do what is needed to help you recover.
Statewide Representation, including Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Fairfax: Wrongful Death Attorney Helping You Receive Workers Compensation Death Benefits in Virginia
There is no amount of financial compensation that will make you whole after the death of a loved one at work. But maximizing the amount of money available to you is important so that you can start the process of healing and moving forward. Under Virginia law, eligible family members and dependents may be entitled to up to 500 weeks of compensation equal to the injured worker’s temporary total disability compensation rate and a lump sum for funeral expenses.
Employers and their workers compensation insurance carriers may deny and dispute death benefit claims based on the following:
- That the deceased worker’s injury did not arise out of and in the course of the employment;
- That the family member filing the claim for workers compensation benefits is not an eligible dependent;
- That the deceased worker was an independent contractor and not an employee at the time of the accident; and,
- That the fatal accident was caused by the deceased worker’s willful misconduct, violation of a safety rule, or intoxication.
Corey Pollard is a Virginia workplace fatality attorney who can help you with every aspect of your claim for workers compensation benefits. We represent the following persons in workers comp death cases across Virginia:
- The surviving spouse (husband or wife)
- Minor children of the deceased worker
- Other dependent children of the deceased worker, including those over the age of 18
- Other persons dependent on the worker for support, including parents, girlfriends, and boyfriends
- Common law spouses (common law wife or common law husband)
- The personal representative of the deceased worker’s estate.
We recommend hiring a work fatality attorney with experience in personal injury litigation in state and federal courts. This is because you may have not only a workers compensation death benefits claim but also a third-party lawsuit against the person or company whose negligence caused your loved one’s death. For example, if the worker died in a car accident while working, the deceased worker’s heirs may be able to recover damages through Virginia workers compensation and against the negligent driver who caused the accident.
Mr. Pollard can represent you on both the workers comp claim and the wrongful death claim to help you maximize the monetary recovery. It’s important to handle the workers compensation claim correctly so that you do not prejudice your legal rights.
Keep reading for more information on Virginia laws regarding workers compensation death benefits. And don’t forget to contact Corey Pollard, author of the Virginia Workers Compensation Guide, for a free consultation.
Virginia Workers Compensation Death Benefits Statute
Virginia Code Section 65.2-512 is the law providing for death benefits through workers compensation. It is titled, “Compensation to dependents of an employee killed; burial expenses.”
Who Can Receive Death Benefits through Workers Compensation?
There are four groups of people 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.
Dependence is defined as having relied on the deceased worker, either in whole or in part, for support and maintenance of quality of life.
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. These cases are difficult to prove. We recommend hiring an attorney for your death benefits claim.
How Much Can I Receive in Death Benefits through Workers Compensation?
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
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
Limitations Periods for Obtaining and Filing Claims for Death Benefits in Virginia
A deceased worker’s dependents may be entitled to death benefits if the worker dies within nine years of the work-related accident or diagnosis of an occupational disease. The workplace fatality need not happen on the date of the accident for dependents to receive death benefits.
The claim for death benefits must be filed within two years of the worker’s death. If it is not, then the employer and its insurance company may avoid paying death benefits by arguing that the workers compensation statute of limitations has passed.
Proving Entitlement to Workers Comp Death Benefits
To receive death benefits, you must prove a causal connection between the workplace accident and the worker’s death by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you must show that it is more likely than not that the workplace accident and resulting injuries led to the deceased worker’s death or shortened his or her life expectancy.
A skilled work comp attorney can help you conduct discovery, develop favorable evidence from the deceased worker’s doctors, and present your case at a workers compensation hearing to help you get the death benefits you deserve.
Funeral and Burial Expenses under Virginia Workers Compensation
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act authorizes up to an additional $10,000 in compensation for burial expenses
Common Workplace Accidents Causing Fatalities in Virginia
Workplace fatality attorney Corey Pollard represents family members and dependents of workers who die on the job because of:
- Being crushed between heavy machinery or vehicles and containers or walls
- Being struck by falling objects like heavy steel beams, which is a risk on construction sites
- Being struck by heavy machinery like forklifts and front end loaders
- Falls from trees, ladders, and scaffolds
- Motor vehicle accidents
Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. But we can help. Call, text, or email Corey Pollard, author of Frequently Asked Questions about Workers Compensation in Virginia, today for help with your case.