When a North Carolina worker dies, the state considers his or her spouse and children wholly dependent. Under Chapter 97 of the state’s general statutes, a widow, widower and children are the presumed dependents. This means that, as a spouse of a worker who has died, you’re entitled to collect benefits through the workers’ compensation program.
If you’re not a widow, widower or child of the worker who has died but were dependent upon him or her, you might still qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits. However, each case receives a review of its own merits, and you must meet the eligibility requirements. For example, you must demonstrate that you were dependent upon the worker in question for at least three or more months prior to the accident that caused his or her death.
North Carolina workers’ comp provides a percentage of the worker’s wage
If your spouse suffers fatal injuries in a workplace accident in North Carolina, you may have a right to receive weekly payments for a percentage of his or her average weekly wages. You may also receive benefits to help offset funeral expenses. The benefits you receive through the workers’ compensation program following the death of your spouse are not indefinite.
It’s important to seek clarification regarding Chapter 97 of the general statutes, as well as all relevant information, such as the time for which you’d be able to receive payments. It’s sometimes possible to receive a lump sum payment, which is another issue you’ll want to learn more about if your family has suffered the loss of its primary breadwinner in a workplace accident.
A worker’s death must have a direct connection to a compensable injury or illness
To be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits, your spouse’s injuries or illness must be part of the coverage in the workers’ compensation program. Whether he or she died in a sudden accident (like a motor vehicle collision) on the job or became ill after exposure to toxins in the workplace, there must have been a connection between the injuries or illness that caused his or her death and the duties he or she carried out in the workplace.
A death must also have occurred within a certain amount of time from the date of injury or the date of permanent disability determination. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits, it’s always best to seek guidance from someone who is well-versed in North Carolina workers’ compensation laws.