A worker in Laurel, Mississippi was killed at his workplace earlier this month from a piece of equipment falling and crushing him. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident, and had to do so similarly last July when a man was struck by an 18-wheeler on premises. A company’s safety standards and best practices are extremely important when it comes to the lives and safety of employees. When injuries or deaths occur at a workplace, workers’ compensation death benefits come into play. Below we will cover how and who is awarded death benefits in the state of Mississippi after a workplace death occurs.

Who receives death benefits?

Family members that receive death benefits are persons that are presumed to be total dependents on the deceased, such as:

  • Any living spouse
  • Any unmarried child(ren) that are under the age of 18
  • Any unmarried child(ren) up to the age of 23, if pursuing a full-time education
  • Any unmarried child(ren) who are disabled and/or completely reliant on the deceased worker for financial support (this person can be up to any age)

If there are no spouse or children involved, other family members may be eligible for death benefits, such as:

  • Any unmarried sibling(s) or grandchild(ren) that are under the age of 18
  • Any unmarried sibling(s) or grandchild(ren) up to the age of 23, if pursuing a full-time education
  • Any unmarried sibling(s) or grandchild(ren) who are disabled and/or completely reliant on the deceased worker for financial support (this person can be up to any age)
  • Any parent(s) or grandparent(s)

For any of the above family members to receive death benefits, they must be able to prove that they were dependent on the deceased worker. They must also be able to prove their relationship with the deceased worker, the amount of financial support they were receiving and the duration in which they were dependent.

How are death benefits divided among eligible, surviving family members?

Death benefits are paid in the below amounts and in the following order of priority:

  • Surviving spouse only:
  • A surviving spouse receives a one-time payment of $1,000, and then will begin to receive weekly payments in the amount of 35% of the deceased workers’ average weekly pay.
  • Surviving spouse and dependent children:
  • The spouse receives the same benefits outlined above, and each dependent child receives 10% of the deceased workers’ average weekly pay.
  • If/when the surviving spouse dies or remarries, the dependent children’s benefit will increases to 15% of the deceased workers’ average weekly pay, each.
  • No surviving spouse with dependent children:
  • Each child receives 25% of the deceased workers’ average weekly pay, each.

How long do death benefits last for?

Death benefits may be paid out for a maximum of 450 weeks. However, under certain circumstances, death benefits may end sooner.

  • Surviving spouse:
    Death benefits end when they remarry or pass away
  • Surviving children:
    Death benefits end when they turn 18, unless they are pursuing a full-time education, then their benefits end at age 23

Whether you or a family member have been injured or killed in the workplace, you should take action immediately. There is no excuse for a person losing their life while pursuing support for them self and their family. For more information on death benefits and workers’ compensation, contact Hattiesburg attorney, Braddock Law firm today.