When someone dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, their dependents may collect Workers’ Compensation death benefits. The amount of death benefits available, as well as which dependents are eligible, vary by state. Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Employees are entitled to these benefits regardless of fault, however in exchange, they may not sue their employers in court. Workers’ Compensation is considered an employee’s exclusive remedy.
Under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws, all New Jersey employers who are not covered by federal programs are required to have Workers’ Compensation coverage or get approved for self-insurance. They must display notice of such coverage in a conspicuous place at the worksite and employees should be informed of their rights at the time of hire and periodically thereafter.
Types of Benefits
There are several types of Workers’ Compensation benefits available in New Jersey, including:
- Medical benefits: Covers all necessary and reasonable medical treatments related to the work injury or illness.
- Temporary total benefits: Provides workers with 70 percent of their average weekly wage when they are unable to return to work for more than seven days.
- Permanent partial benefits: Depending on the type and severity of the injury, these benefits may be available when temporary disability payments cease.
- Permanent total benefits: When workers are unable to return to any job, they may receive weekly benefits for an initial period of 450 weeks.
- Death benefits: Dependents of workers who died due to their work-related injury or illness may collect 70 percent of the deceased worker’s weekly wage, up to the legal cap set annually by the Commissioner of Labor.
Who is Eligible for Death Benefits?
To collect Workers’ Compensation benefits, a worker’s injury or illness must be work-related. Workers whose conditions were not caused or worsened by their work activities or environment may not be entitled to benefits. Similarly, survivors of deceased workers whose conditions were not caused or worsened by their job may not be able to collect death benefits.
In New Jersey, only those who relied upon the deceased worker for financial support at the time of their death can receive death benefits. Dependents include:
Dependents must be either under 18 or over 40 years old to collect death benefits, however there are exceptions. Spouses, parents, grandparents, and physically or mentally disabled family members may collect death benefits regardless of age and those between the ages of 18 and 23 may also collect death benefits if they are full-time students. However, spouses may only collect death benefits until they remarry.
Death Benefit Rates in New Jersey
In New Jersey, dependents may receive death benefits equal to 70 percent of the deceased worker’s average weekly wages up to the cap, which is based on the statewide average weekly wages of all workers. The maximum allowable death benefits for 2020 is $945. Death benefits are divided among dependents according to need as determined by the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Up to $3,500 in burial and funeral expenses are also available to the person who paid or will pay those costs. There are additional factors to consider when calculating death benefits, therefore those seeking compensation should contact a local Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can evaluate their case and help ensure that their rights are protected.
Vineland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Families of Deceased Workers Collect Death Benefits
If you lost a loved one to a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to death benefits. Contact an experienced Vineland Workers’ Compensation lawyer at DiTomaso Law to discuss your case. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Mt. Holly, Vineland, and Camden County. For a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 856-414-0010.