Understanding Death Benefits Can Help Employers and Families Move Forward After a Fatal Workplace Accident
No matter how careful workplace safety protocols are, accidents can still happen. For small business owners, the consequences of a fatal workplace accident can be devastating both financially and emotionally. It is important that employers understand the regulations and laws around death benefits in case they face this situation.
When an employee dies due to a work-related incident, their family may be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. Under federal law, surviving spouses and any dependents may be entitled to these funds. Generally speaking, the survivors are entitled to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage—as long as it does not exceed a certain limit—over a period of time up to 500 weeks after the date of death. The amount can also vary from state to state, depending on local regulations.
In addition to any applicable worker’s compensation benefits, other financial assistance may be available through Social Security or life insurance policies if they were held by the deceased employee. An experienced attorney or accountant should be consulted to help families navigate these complicated issues as they try to make sense out of an unthinkable situation.
For small business owners, it is important to understand their obligations when faced with a fatal accident at their workplace. First and foremost is making sure that necessary information about coverage and requirements is readily available for employees before any incident occurs and that supervisors are aware of those resources in case something does happen. Also, employers need to ensure everyone involved—including family members of the deceased—are given access to the required forms for filing claims and that information on local support services is available as needed.
Having proper processes in place will save time and money for employers as well as provide peace of mind for surviving family members who have already gone through an unimaginable tragedy. Employers should never underestimate the importance of offering timely and accurate financial support during times like these as it can go a long way towards helping individuals cope with such great loss while also providing assurance that the company cares about its workers both on and off the job.