Does your family qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits?

When your loved one dies in a tragic workplace accident, you may be unable to process the realities of living without that person. Unfortunately, those realities often include financial difficulties for surviving family members.

If your family faces this challenging situation, you may be eligible for death benefits through workers’ compensation in North Carolina.

Types of qualifying incidents

Your family can apply for death benefits if your loved one died from an illness or injury that the state workers’ compensation program would have covered. When no witnesses saw the accident and the cause of death is uncertain, North Carolina will presume the death can receive coverage under the Pickrell presumption. Families cannot collect death benefits for fatalities that result from intentional self-harm on the job site.

Timing of the incident

The timing of the person’s death also plays a role in the availability of benefits. If the death occurs because of an existing work-related disability, your family can qualify for wrongful death benefits if your loved one died within six years of the original accident or diagnosis. You have two years from the final determination of disability date from the North Carolina Industrial Commission and must give notice of your intent to file within 30 days of the person’s death.

Only certain family members can receive workplace death benefits in North Carolina, including the deceased person’s surviving spouse and his or her children and stepchildren who are younger than 18.

If your family receives approval for workers’ comp death benefits, the monthly payment equals about 66% of the person’s average weekly wage.

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