There is nothing more devasting that losing a loved one as a result of a work injury. When death results proximately from a compensable injury or occupational disease and within the statute of limitations prescribed under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, the insurance company will be liable for 500 weeks of death benefits in the amount of deceased worker's weekly compensation rate. A deceased worker's weekly compensation rate is 2/3 of their average weekly wage. There are minimum and maximum weekly compensation rates set each year by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Act also permits payment of up to $10,000 in burial expenses.
The Act sets forth an order of persons entitled to receive death benefits. Persons wholly dependent for support upon the deceased worker at the time of the accident shall be entitled to receive the entire amount of death benefits. If there are no whole dependents, then any person partially dependent for support upon the earnings of the deceased employee at the time of the accident shall be entitled to receive death benefits. The Act includes a formula for calculating the amount of death benefits owed to a partial dependent. In the deceased worker left no whole nor partial dependents, then the deceased worker's next of kin are entitled to receive death benefits payable under the Workers' Compensation Act. If the person or all persons who were partially dependent on the deceased worker also fall under the classification of next of kin, then they may be entitled to receive death benefits under the different payment structure set forth for next of kin.
The law regarding death benefits requires detailed statutory analysis. If you have lost a loved one due to work injury, contact the Olsinski Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation about your claim for death benefits.