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Worker tragedies: Are families entitled to compensation in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

The construction industry, while crucial for development, carries inherent risks. Sadly, these risks can sometimes lead to worker fatalities. In the aftermath of such a tragedy, surviving families are left not only grieving but are also often left facing immense financial hardship.

Thankfully, Ohio’s workers’ compensation program offers death benefits to eligible family members of workers who succumb to work-related injuries or illnesses. This program, managed by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), provides financial assistance to help ease certain burdens in the wake of a work-related loss.

Who qualifies for death benefits?

Not all family members automatically qualify for death benefits. The BWC considers dependency on the deceased worker’s income. A surviving spouse generally receives benefits until they remarry or pass away. Upon remarriage, the spouse may receive a lump sum payout equal to two years’ worth of benefits.

Dependent children under 18 are also eligible for benefits. In some cases, older children enrolled full-time as students or those with disabilities may also qualify until they reach the age of 25. In certain situations, parents or other relatives who were financially dependent on the deceased worker might be eligible for benefits.

What kind of benefits are available?

The BWC offers two primary types of benefits: death benefits and accrued compensation. Death benefit is a bi-weekly payment calculated as two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, subject to minimum and maximum amounts set by the state.

On the other hand, accrued compensation refers to any unpaid wages or vacation time the worker had earned at the time of their death. According to a specific formula, the BWC will allocate the total death benefit amount among eligible dependents.

The loss of a loved one in a construction accident is devastating. While no amount of money can replace a life, Ohio’s workers’ compensation program offers crucial financial support to surviving families. If you have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, you can benefit from contacting the BWC and an experienced legal team to discuss your rights and options.