How to Calculate Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits For the Surviving Spouse and Children


Posted by: Chris

Fatal injuries occur far too often in the workplace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there were over 5,000 fatal workplace injuries in 2017. No amount of money can bring these victims back, but the workers’ compensation program can provide financial assistance to the victim’s surviving family members. How are workers’ compensation death benefits calculated? Here’s what you should know:

Death Benefits For A Surviving Spouse

The victim’s spouse will receive a lump-sum payment of $100,000 through the workers’ compensation system. The spouse will also receive weekly payments equal to 70% of either the victim’s average weekly wage or the state’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower. Finally, the spouse will receive one final lump-sum payment if he or she decides to remarry in the future. 

Death Benefits For Surviving Children

Death benefits are slightly different for the victim’s children. If the victim left behind a spouse and one or two children, the workers’ compensation system would make a lump-sum payment of $25,000 to the children. The children are also entitled to weekly payments that equal 15% of the victim’s average weekly wage or the state’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower. This increases to 50% of the victim’s average weekly wage or the state’s average weekly wage if there is no surviving spouse. 

If the victim left behind a spouse and more than two children, each child is entitled to an equal share of a $50,000 lump sum payment. In addition, each child will receive weekly payments that equal 30% of the victim’s average weekly wage. This increases to 100% of the victim’s average weekly wage or the state’s average weekly wage if there are more than two children but no surviving spouse. 

Death Benefits For Other Family Members

The workers’ compensation system may award benefits to other members of the victim’s family under certain circumstances. For example, common-law spouses can receive benefits as long as they get a court to confirm that they had a common-law marriage with the victim. Legal guardians are also eligible for benefits if the victim did not leave a spouse or children behind. However, the legal guardian must prove that he or she was financially dependent on the victim in order to qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits. 

Was your loved one killed in a workplace accident? If so , contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you are fully compensated through the workers’ compensation system. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.