The Bollinger Law Firm, P.C.

Fatal work accidents could mean benefits for surviving spouses

Sending your spouse out to work is part of most people's daily lives. The vast majority of working spouses return home again, to enjoy a meal and rest with family members before doing it all again. Sometimes, however, an accident happens at work that means your spouse won't be coming home again.

Losing a spouse in a sudden work accident or as the result of a work-acquired illness is tragic and difficult to process. Even if your spouse was ill for some time, it is hard to accept such an unnecessary loss. While grief is necessary and natural, don't let your sadness prevent you from seeking the compensation you deserve after this kind of loss.

What benefits can surviving spouses expect to receive?

In general, the benefits you can receive after the loss of a spouse related to a work accident or work-acquired illness will include several kinds of compensation. You can receive up to $10,000 toward the costs associated with a funeral or burial.

You can also receive medical benefits to cover the cost of any medical care prior to death. If your spouse received treatment or had a surgery before dying, this benefit will cover all expenses, with any co-pay or deductible. Additionally, you will receive benefits related to the wages your spouse would have made, paid weekly for up to 500 weeks or until a minor child beneficiary becomes 18.

Spouses, as well as certain other dependents, including children or dependent parents, could receive up to two-thirds of the deceased's average weekly income, up to a limit determined by the state of North Carolina. Remarriage typically means the end of these benefits.

Workers' compensation can protect you from the fallout of a loss

Losing a loved one is emotionally difficult, but it can also have an immediate and profound impact on your social status and your financial situation. While North Carolina workers' compensation can't make up for the lost support you received from your spouse, it can help offset lost wages and expenses incurred in the last days of your loved one's life.

Seeking these benefits is the right thing to do. After all, your spouse would want to know that you and any children you shared would have proper care and financial support. Workers' compensation can help your family continue to pay the mortgage, maintain insurance and keep food on the table when your primary wage earner dies as a result of his or her job.

While the benefits can't offset what you've lost, they can at least minimize the negative effects of the death on your life. After a loved one dies due to a work-acquired illness or a job site accident, you should explore all of your options for supporting your family.

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