Workers’ compensation benefits assist injured workers with medical bills and other expenses associated with work-related accidents. There are several types of compensation offered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), including awards for disabilities, wage loss, change of occupation and living maintenance. An injured worker’s dependents may also collect accrued compensation and file a claim for ongoing death benefits if the worker died as a result of a workplace accident or occupational disease.
Dependents of a deceased worker who was receiving workers’ compensation payments may be entitled to accrued compensation – any unpaid amounts due to the injured worker up to the date of his or her death. They must submit an Application for Death Benefits and/or Funeral Expenses to the BWC along with proof of their relationship to the deceased worker, such as a marriage or birth certificate. Surviving spouses and dependent children of workers who died as a result of an occupational injury or disease may apply for both accrued compensation and death benefits.
Dependents of workers who died instantaneously from their injuries as well as those who died later on as a proximate result of their injuries are both eligible to receive death benefits. Death benefits are calculated by the BWC and divided among eligible dependents. The BWC will distribute survivor benefits every two weeks until dependents are no longer eligible to receive them.
Ohio is one of several states that allows a deceased worker’s survivors to collect both worker’s compensation and wrongful death lawsuit awards. Workers’ compensation generally provides survivors with economic damages such as the worker’s lost wages and funeral expenses. In Ohio, survivors may also file a wrongful death lawsuit which, in addition to economic damages such as loss of support and services, allows them to seek damages for non-economic losses such loss of support and loss of care, companionship or guidance.