If you lost a loved one in a workplace accident in Scranton, your family is entitled to financial compensation and benefits. Especially after a death, seeking workers’ compensation death benefits may be far from your mind. However, the financial payout can help ease the burden of funeral expenses, any medical bills accrued, and any other expenses related to the accident and resulting loss.
The Scranton workers’ compensation attorneys at Munley Law know these cases require a delicate and compassionate touch. Our lawyers will bear the legal burden during this time so you can recover and/or mourn peacefully. You can schedule a free consultation today by phone or online.
What is the Death Benefit for Workers Comp in Scranton, PA?
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law requires the employer to provide $3,000 for funeral/burial expenses. Only certain parties can receive workers’ compensation death benefits. To qualify, you need to be one of the following:
- The spouse
- A child of the decedent who is either 18 or disabled
- A parent who relied on the worker for financial support
- A sibling who is either under the age of 18 or is disabled
- The guardian of the decedent’s children if they were not married
Recurring benefits are also available depending on the person’s relationship with the worker. A spouse can receive up to about 67 percent of the deceased’s salary until they remarry, depending on how many dependent children still live with them. Children can receive compensation until age 23 unless they have a disability or are enrolled in an accredited college or trade school. Finally, dependent parents and siblings can receive between 22 and 52 percent of the salary, depending on whether they were partially or wholly dependent on the deceased. All wage benefits have a maximum amount of $1,025 per week.
What Happens When Someone Dies While on the Job in Scranton, PA?
If a loved one lost their life in a workplace accident, the employer would first contact the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration within eight hours of the job-related fatality. If your loved one does not die right after the accident but within the first 30 days, a report will still need to be filed with OSHA. The fatal accident must also be reported to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within 48 hours of the incident.
Once the organizations have been notified, the family will receive the deceased worker’s final paycheck, which includes sick pay, vacation, and personal days the employee was eligible for at the time of their death.
To receive death benefits, you will need to act fast. Inform the company within weeks of your loved one’s death that you are filing a workers’ compensation claim on their behalf. You have three years to file the claim, but the sooner you start the process, the easier it will be to collect benefits.
If you need help with the workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to speak with an experienced Scranton workers’ comp attorney right away to help with the claim. We can walk you through the process and ensure the deadlines are met.
Can the Insurance Company Refuse to Pay Death Benefits?
Unfortunately yes. To be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits in Scranton, the following conditions must be met:
- The injury or illness was work-related.
- The illness or injury was immediate. If the worker passes away after 300 weeks, they may not be able to claim death benefits.
- The deceased worker was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
- The employee’s death was not the result of intentional harm to themselves.
How Often Do Fatal Accidents Occur at Work?
According to an annual report, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication processed 36,857 petitions in 2021. Total reports for workplace injuries and illnesses, however, totaled more than 154,000 during that year.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to workers’ compensation claims include:
- slips and falls
- lifting injuries
- falling objects or colliding with objects
- vehicle accidents
- exposure, either to loud noises or toxic substances
Injured workers may suffer from broken bones, bruising, concussion or other traumatic brain injury, strains and sprains, back or neck injuries, respiratory illnesses, or hearing loss/impairment.
Sometimes a work-related injury is more severe than initially realized and may result in the injured worker’s death. When this happens, a compensation claim changes to a death benefits claim.
Fatal work-related accidents are fewer per year than workers’ compensation claims, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 148 fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2020. Transportation accidents account for the most significant percentage of these fatalities at more than 30 percent. Falls, trips, slips, contact with objects and/or equipment, and exposure to harmful substances or environments all account for close to 20 percent of fatalities each.
If you have lost a loved one due to a fatal work accident, you are entitled to death benefits to help pay for related costs and to compensate for the loss of financial support.
Hire an Experienced Scranton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you secure death benefits may be the last thing on your mind after losing a loved one in a workplace accident. But Munley Law knows that there’s more to your claim than just collecting money. We know that the benefits families receive after losing their loved one can make it possible to grieve and remember your loved one in peace.
Our Scranton workers’ compensation lawyers will handle your case with compassion and gentleness, taking on the legal burden so that you and your family can focus on finding a way to move forward after your loss. We will deal with insurance companies and their lawyers so your family does not have to.
We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t receive any payments until we recover in your favor. We believe your family should be able to seek justice without worrying about a price tag.
Munley Law will bring all our experience to bear on your case, pursuing the justice and compensation you are entitled to with everything we have. You can schedule your free case evaluation today.
Scranton Practice Areas
227 Penn Ave,
Scranton, PA 18503