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Who May Receive Benefits After a Loved One’s Workplace Fatality?

Published April 9, 2019 by Matt Fendon Law Group | Workers' Compensation

Work-related fatalities occur far too often throughout Arizona. These accidents leave surviving relatives reeling from shock and grief. In many cases, the decedent’s income was for covering household expenses. Surviving family members may quickly find the costs of medical care, funeral expenses and legal fees too much to bear.

The state does offer workers’ compensation death benefits for surviving relatives. However, the state has strict conditions regarding who is entitled to receive a deceased person’s benefits.

Which relatives are eligible?

Arizona does not confer death compensation benefits upon just anybody who claims them. Arizona grants these benefits to only a few surviving relations: Spouses, minor children or stepchildren, parents or stepparents and minor siblings. In addition, the state has a hierarchy of relatives who receive priority.

If the victim of the workplace fatality has a surviving spouse and children, they receive precedence above all other eligible relatives. If the victim was single and did not have children, then his or her parents may receive death benefits, as long as they can show that they depended partially or completely on the decedent’s finances. If the deceased had minor siblings or stepsiblings who depended on them financially, they can receive death benefits as long as the parents are not eligible.

Obtaining death compensation benefits

Surviving relatives must also navigate the complex bureaucratic maze of workers’ compensation death benefits. Sometimes, relatives who apply for these benefits are turned down, even if they fit every qualification for eligibility. This adds even more pain to their emotional burden.

If your relative recently passed away because of a workplace injury and you are eligible to receive death compensation benefits, your next step may be to work with a legal advocate. No one should have to die because of a workplace accident-but if your loved one did, you should receive the benefits you deserve.

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