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Wrongful Death in Civil Court v. Fatal Claim Benefits in Workers’ Compensation

Having to face the loss of a loved one is overwhelming. These difficult times can be made more stressful with concerns of how you will take care of your family after your loved one’s passing. While gaining compensation for the death of a loved one cannot bring them back, it can ease the expenses and provide a level of security for your family. It is important to know what type of claim you can bring and when you can bring that claim.

A wrongful death claim arises from a death caused by a wrongful act, negligence, or unlawful violence. Such claims require a showing of:

  • Causation;
  • Fault;
  • Family survivorship; and
  • Monetary injury.

The claim can be brought by a spouse, child, or the parents of the deceased family member. If there is not an individual eligible to bring the claim, a personal representative may do so. A beneficiary can recover pecuniary losses which are monetary losses such as funeral expenses, survivorship losses which are compensation for loss of companionship and affection, and loss of estate damages. Loss of estate damages are calculated by subtracting the amount the deceased family member would have spent on themselves from his or her lifetime earnings. Damages are often calculated by taking into consideration the age, character, condition, earning capacity, life expectancy, health, and intelligence of the deceased family member.

Wrongful death actions can be brought with a survival action. A survival action occurs in cases in which there is not a sudden death. A survival action enables a beneficiary to recover for the pain and suffering and medical expenses the deceased family member incurred up until the point of death. These damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering compensation, and loss of wages.

A Fatal Claim in Workers’ Compensation arises from a death resulting from a work injury. To constitute a work injury, the injury must occur within the scope and course of employment. While a wrongful death claim often requires a showing of negligence, no such showing is required for a fatal claim in Workers’ Compensation. Compensation will be paid to the spouse or children. In order to receive compensation under a Fatal Claim, the beneficiary needs to have been dependent on the deceased family member for support. The beneficiaries are paid a percentage of the deceased family member’s salary based on the number of children, if any, or who the dependents are. Typically, a spouse will receive 51% of decedent’s average weekly wage.

Rudberg Law Offices, LLC represents grieving families who have lost loved ones in both wrongful death survival and workers’ compensation fatal claims. If you have lost a loved one, schedule a free consultation by calling 1.866.306.2667 or contacting our office online at [email protected]