What Are Death Benefits For A Surviving Spouse In Washington, DC?

As in most states, an injured worker can receive benefits to replace his or her lost income, as well as medical treatment and expenses. Within those broad categories, there are a number of specific benefits an injured worker may be entitled to, depending on the nature of his or her injury. Workers compensation benefits are not taxable. One of those benefits available to injured workers and their families after a work injury are death benefits for a surviving spouse following a fatal work accident.
Despite advances in safety, technology, and training, the fact remains that many jobs are dangerous. Even seemingly safe occupations involve some risk of injury and death. And the worker's compensation system can be tricky and complex. Speak to the attorney who literally wrote the book on D.C. worker's compensation. After you've lost a loved one to a fatal work accident or deadly occupational disease, the last thing you need to worry about is speaking to the insurance adjuster or trying to find all the answers yourself. 

Who Is Entitled To D.C. Worker's Compensation Death Benefits?

According to D.C. law, widows and widowers, and surviving children, are entitled to workers' compensation benefits for the death of a spouse or parent that occurred on the job. Dependency is determined at the time of the injury, or, in the case of an occupational disease, when the worker had notice of the occupational-disease. Most disputes regarding death benefits occur when the worker and his or her spouse are separated, or whether there is a dispute as to whether they were married. 

How Long Do You Have To File A Worker's Compensation Death Benefits Claim?

In the District of Columbia, death benefits must be filed within 1 year from the date of the fatal accident or occupational exposure that led to your loved one’s death.

What Type of Benefits Are Available To You & Your Children?

If a deceased worker leaves a spouse, but no children, the surviving partner will receive 50% of the deceased worker's average weekly wage. If the deceased left one widow and a child, the child will receive an additional amount of 16 2/3% in addition to the widow/widowers 50% benefit rate. If the deceased left just children behind, the benefits would then be divided amongst them at 2/3 the average weekly wage. So on and so forth. If there are other family members that were dependent upon the deceased at the time of the injury, the total will be divided 2/3 of the worker's weekly average wage.

Benefits for funeral expenses are also available, and any medical expenses associated with the injury or death would be covered by the workers' compensation insurance company. Notably, D.C. law does not include compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages. While the damage a surviving spouse and children will endur following the fatal work accident or illness will be great, unfortunately DC does not have compensation available for intagible losses. 

How Long Can You Receive Death Benefits?

There is no time limit on how long surviving family can receive death benefits in Washington, DC. A surviving spouse will continue to receive death compensation benefits for as long as the they do not remarry or enter into a domestic partnership. If a surviving spouse does remarry or enter a domestic partnership, they are entitled to a lump sum for 2 years worth of benefits and any children will have their compensation increased. Surviving children will continue to receive death benefits until they are 18 (or 23 if the child is still a student). 

Let An Experienced Worker's Compensation Attorney Fight For You & Your Family

Our clients work with one of the most experienced D.C. worker’s compensation and trial attorneys in the DMV, who literally wrote the book on D.C. Worker’s Compensation. Our clients also get our proprietary plan for handling their case together with our confidential playbook so they know what is happening every step of the way.
And as you can see from our 130+ reviews on Google, our clients receive the absolute best customer service in any industry. We make it easy for you to get started. Just call us at 202-393-3320 or click here to schedule a free, no obligation strategy session for your case!
Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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