Who is entitled to Death Benefits in California Workers Comp?

Death benefits in California Workers comp system are awarded to temporarily or permanently injured employees who later die from the work injury.

Dependents are also entitled to burial benefits.

We’ll discuss the amounts of such benefits in a future article, for now, the discussion is of the people entitled to the benefits.

Someone who was totally dependent  on the decedent is known as a total dependent. A partial dependent is one who recieved some support from the decedent.

There’s a presumption after 1990, that the spouse of a decedent is totally dependent.

It’s not the date of death but the date of injury that controls the amount of death benefits.

If an employee had a pre-existing condition and then dies because the job aggravates the condition, there is no apportionment, or, in other words, the dependents

get the entire death benefit.

Proof of aggravation is usually done by way of medical reports. If there’s a dispute, death benefits will be awarded if there’s substantial evidence that the job aggravated the pre-existing condition causing death,

Even suicide can be compensable if it results from an aggravation of on the job stress.

Employee intoxication via drugs or alcohol which contribute to the employee’s death will almost always preclude the award of death benefits, however.

A partial or total dependent who files a claim for death benefits and which the employee does not object to within 90 days, is deemed granted.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers Comp attorney and would be glad to help with your WC claim. Call me anytime for free, friendly advice at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400 outside of Sacramento.

We specialize in on the job injuries where a third party is also a cause of injury or death.

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