Injuries in the workplace are an unfortunate reality, particularly in industries like construction and transportation. In fact, according to a report released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the transportation industry alone accounted for the highest number of workplace fatalities.

When an employee is fatally injured, it can be devastating for the surviving family members, both emotionally and financially. While nothing can bring the family member back, the survivors may be eligible to collect death benefits through the deceased’s Workers’ Compensation plan. A skilled Workers Compensation lawyer can thoroughly explain the benefits that you are entitled to, including a portion of the funeral expenses.

The BLS reports that workplace fatalities have declined in recent years. However, a significant percentage of fatalities are not covered under the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Agency’s investigative oversight, including transportation-related accidents.

  • In 2015, 69 workers suffered fatal workplace injuries in Maryland, compared to 74 workplace deaths in 2014 and 79 fatalities in 2013.
  • From 2014 to 2015, there was a seven percent decline in fatal workplace injuries.
  • Fatal work-related injuries peaked in 2006 with 106 deaths.

Common Causes of Workplace Fatalities 

A fatal injury is considered a work-related injury if it occurred while the employee was officially on the job.

Following are examples of some of the more common causes of fatal work-related injuries:

  • Transportation accidents
  • Fires and explosions
  • Physical violence
  • Slips, falls, or trips
  • Exposure to hazardous substances or environments
  • Contact with defective equipment or other objects

In the state of Maryland, when an employee is fatally injured at work, his or her employer is responsible for providing benefits to the surviving family, if the death was caused by an accident or injury at work, or by an occupational disease.

In most cases, the qualifying dependents include the spouse and the children of the deceased worker, although there may be extenuating circumstances that can affect a person’s eligibility. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can ensure that you understand your rights and that you receive the benefits that you deserve.

What You Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

The following will help you gain a better understanding of death benefits and what you can expect to receive from the deceased family member’s Workers’ Compensation plan:

  • You may receive benefits for a minimum of five years and up to 12 years.
  • The benefits amount cannot exceed Maryland’s average weekly wage, or two-thirds of the worker’s salary.
  • Children may receive benefits until they reach the age of 18, or up to 23 if they are enrolled in an approved education program.
  • The surviving spouse is eligible to collect death benefits for no more than two years after getting remarried.
  • The death benefits will be terminated after what would have been the 70th birthday of the deceased employee.

Surviving family members must file an application for death benefits within eighteen months of the worker’s death, if it was caused by a work-related accident.

If the worker’s death was caused by an occupational disease, an application for death benefits must be filed within two years of the worker’s death.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Families with Pursuing Death Benefits 

If you have suffered the devastating loss of a family member due to a work-related injury or illness, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. These benefits can ease some of the financial burden caused by the loss of your loved one. Our dedicated and compassionate team will guide you through every step of the application process and ensure that you receive the maximum benefits that you and your family deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.