Virginia Workers’ Compensation Death Benefit Attorneys
If your loved one has tragically died as the result of a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation. All Virginia employers with more than two employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which compensates their employees in case they suffer a workplace injury. If the employee dies, the family of that employee becomes entitled to receive compensation through workers’ compensation death benefits.
The death of a loved one is devastating. After such a loss, you need to take time to grieve and spend time with family. You should not have to deal with the stress of insurance companies and legal battles during this difficult time. CHASENBOSCOLO is here to help you shoulder this burden and get the most compensation possible. At CHASENBOSCOLO, we offer a 100% free consultation, so you can tell us about your situation, and we can start to make a legal plan. Call us today at (703) 538-1138 to schedule your consultation.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
A lawyer will handle all legal aspects of your case, such as filing documents, interviewing witnesses, and negotiating the amount of your compensation. It’s important to hire an attorney as quickly as possible. Workers’ compensation claims are subject to various statutes of limitations, which means that you have a limited amount of time to file claims. If you miss deadlines, you may not be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Making mistakes on any paperwork or documentation associated with your claim can also jeopardize your ability to receive compensation.
It can be hard to keep track of all these moving parts when also dealing with the loss of a loved one. You may also be in the process of making funeral plans, organizing childcare, and facing a new financial situation. A lawyer will ensure that all claims materials are submitted properly within all deadlines so that you don’t need to worry about it.
Hiring a lawyer will also help ensure that an adverse insurance company does not deny or reduce your claim. The insurance company may try to claim that your loved one behaved negligently and was responsible for their death, which would invalidate your claim. A lawyer will independently investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death and gather evidence.
You should not accept any money from an employer or insurance company before consulting with a lawyer. Insurance companies will usually offer a lump-sum settlement to the families of employees killed in workplace accidents. An insurance company will often take advantage of a grieving family member who is unfamiliar with workers’ compensation law and offer them a low settlement. An experienced workers’ compensation death benefit attorney will have a good idea of how much money you are eligible for, and can advise you on when to take compensation and when to keep negotiating. Our attorneys will negotiate firmly on your behalf, so you can focus on healing.
Why Should I Hire CHASENBOSCOLO?
At CHASENBOSCOLO, we understand how incredibly difficult it is when a loved one passes away. We are committed to supporting you and your family during this difficult time. We are passionate about creating compassionate, respectful, and professional relationships with all of our clients. At CHASENBOSCOLO, we prepare all of our cases to go to trial, which shows insurance companies that we are serious about pursuing your claim and are not willing to accept insufficient settlements.
We understand that you may be concerned that hiring a lawyer will be too expensive. At CHASENBOSCOLO, we offer our clients our No-Fee-Guarantee so that you don’t have to worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we take a percentage of your overall settlement or verdict amount at the very end of your case. There are no bills or fees along the way. If we don’t win your case, then you don’t owe us any money. We also offer a free consultation in which you can tell us about your situation, and we can give you an idea of your path forward.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
When an employee dies as a result of their work, their dependents may be entitled to funeral expenses and up to two-thirds of the employee’s wage for up to 500 weeks after the death. Funeral costs are covered up to $10,000. Dependents are defined as a spouse, children under 18, and children under 23 who are currently studying full time at an accredited educational institution. Other family members can also be eligible, depending on the situation. If there are multiple dependents, such as a spouse and children under 18, then the compensation is divided equally among them. Benefit payments will cease if the spouse remarries or if the child turns 18.
Your amount of compensation will depend on the degree to which you relied on your loved one’s income. For example, if your spouse was the sole breadwinner and you have no income, then you would be eligible for two-thirds of their income for up to 500 weeks. If you and your spouse both worked and had incomes, your compensation will depend on how much you each financially contributed to the household. If you relied on your spouse for half of the household income, then you would be entitled to one-third of their wages for up to 500 weeks.
Making a Workers’ Compensation Death Claim
In order to make a workers’ compensation death claim, several conditions must be met, including:
- The deceased workers’ fatal injury must have occurred while performing job duties. For example, a death that occurred while an employee was walking to a restaurant during their lunch break would likely not be covered. However, if they were picking up lunch for their boss, it is more likely that this would be covered under workers’ compensation requirements. One common defense strategy against workers’ compensation claims used by insurance companies is arguing that the injury did not occur during an activity related to the employee’s job responsibilities. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will gather evidence to support the claim that the injury did indeed happen as a result of work activity.
- The deceased employee must be an actual employee of the company and not an independent contractor. If work contracts were properly maintained and documented, this should not be difficult to prove.
- The fatal injury must not have been caused by the deceased employee’s misconduct, violation of safety regulations, or other reckless behaviors such as intoxication. For example, if a truck driver was killed in an accident in which they were not wearing a seatbelt, their family would likely not be eligible for workers’ compensation. To defend themselves against workers’ compensation death claims, employers and insurance companies very often argue that the worker behaved in an unsafe way and caused their fatal injury. It can be more difficult to counter this argument when the injury results in death because the employee cannot explain how the accident happened. To have a full picture of the circumstances under which the accident occurred, we will interview witnesses, investigate the scene of the accident, and hire any experts who can help explain what happened.
- The claim must be made within the statute of limitations. Virginia law dictates certain time frames in which different steps of your workers’ compensation claim must be completed. This time frame will depend on when your loved one died — whether it was very soon after the injury or several years later.
- The death must have been caused by injuries/illness that occurred while at work. Sometimes, employees will initially survive a work injury, but then die years later as the result of complications from the injury. Family members can still be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits in this circumstance. In this situation, medical documentation establishing that the death was directly caused by work-related injuries is crucial.
Compensation is also available for families of employees who died due to illnesses they developed or contracted while at work. Some illnesses take years to develop, such as lung disease caused by exposure to airborne dust or chemical particles. One common lung disease in Virginia is Pneumoconiosis, which is a lung disease caused by inhaling particles that are often present in mines, such as asbestos, silica, and coal dust.
If your loved one has died from workplace injuries, our team at CHASENBOSCOLO wants to express our sincere condolences. We know what an incredibly difficult time this is for you, and we are here to help and support you.
We know that no amount of money can heal your grief, but receiving the compensation you deserve can reduce stress and make your financial situation more secure. The lawyers at CHASENBOSCOLO have decades of workers’ compensation experience and will use every legal tool available to fight for your compensation. If you are interested in pursuing a workers’ compensation death benefits claim, please contact us today for a free consultation at (703) 538-1138.