Claims for Fatal Injuries On the Job in South Carolina
It is truly devastating to lose a loved one in a workplace accident. Losing a spouse or parent in their physical prime may leave your family without a source of income, as well. South Carolina provides a way for those who have lost a close family member to recover Workers’ Compensation benefits for a death. Where an accident resulted from the negligence or recklessness of someone other than the employer, you may also have grounds for a lawsuit for wrongful death against that third party. Read on to learn about your options to recover money damages after losing a loved one at work.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
Under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system, death benefits are generally compensated as follows: the dependents of someone killed in a workplace accident, or who otherwise died as a result of injuries received in an accident on the job, are entitled to receive 66 2/3% of the deceased person’s average weekly wages for 500 weeks from the date of injury. If the deceased employee had begun to receive weekly payments before passing away, then the family members will receive benefits for 500 weeks minus the number of weeks the employee received benefits.
Whether or not the employee’s death will qualify their dependents to receive Workers’ Compensation death benefits will depend on when the death occurs, and the status of the employee at the time of their death. Generally, dependents of the victim will receive death benefits when the death related to the workplace incident occurred within two years of the incident. The time limit within which a claim for death benefits can be made extends to six years If the individual was, at the time of their death, still on total disability (i.e., had lost both hands, arms, shoulders, legs, feet, hips, or vision in both eyes, or any two of those).
The role of fault in workers’ compensation death benefits
Even where the individual was partially at fault for the accident that resulted in fatal injuries, their dependents are still entitled to death benefits. However, if the employer can show that the employee was intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, or was acting deliberately in attempting to kill themselves or someone else, then their heirs will not be entitled to any Workers’ Compensation payments.
There are additional factors which can affect eligibility to receive Workers’ Compensation death benefits, such as whether or not children over 18 are enrolled in college or are considered unable to care for themselves, and the extent to which family members were financially dependent on the fatally-injured worker. Speak with an attorney to ensure that you receive the full compensation you’re owed after a loved one is killed on the job.
If you’ve been hurt on the job, or if you’ve lost a loved one due to a workplace injury, seek the compensation you deserve for your loss by contacting the Spartanburg Workers’ Compensation lawyer Chad Pye for a consultation, at 864-583-5658.