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David Hawkins and his former law partner obtained $343,996.00 in workers compensation benefits on behalf of the widow of a deceased worker whose death arose in and during the course of his employment.
In Virginia, if an employee’s death arises in and during the course of his employment, the dependent spouse or child[ren] of a deceased worker are entitled to recover from the Employer for the medical and funeral expenses of their deceased loved one. Additionally, the dependent spouse and child[ren] are entitled to two thirds of the deceased workers average weekly wage for 500 weeks. This benefit terminates for a dependent child upon the death of the child and when he or she turn 18, or if he or she is a full time student when he or she turns 23. The benefit terminates for a dependent spouse when the spouse remarries or dies.
Often the Employer will deny that the death of the worker arose in or during the course of the employee’s employment and if that is the case, then the family of the deceased worker is forced to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to obtain these benefits. The Employer’s insurance carrier rarely agrees to pay for the full value of the claim if it believes that the claim is contested or there is a chance that the benefit will terminate upon the death or remarriage of the dependent spouse. If either happens to you, you should hire an attorney to represent you before the Commission. The burden is on the claimant to prove that the Workers’ Compensation Act allows compensation and without an attorney, the claimant may fail to prove all of the essential elements.
Unfortunately, the Workers Compensation Act does not provide dependents with compensation for the emotional loss of your loved one and in most instances workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy. However, if your loved one died during the course of his employment and as a result of the negligence of another person who does not work for the employer, then you may have two claims, one against the employer and another against the person causing the injuries.
Overbey, Hawkins & Wright offers free consultations to all personal injury and workers compensation victims. We will review your case for free and advise you regarding the proper steps you should take to protect your interest.