When someone in your family works in a high-risk business, such as manufacturing, farming or construction, you probably worry every day about the potential for an injury at work. People get hurt on the job every day in Illinois, some much worse than others. A work-related injury can leave someone unable to return to work for a long time. For some people, however, the reality is that a work injury actually costs the life of someone they love.
If your family has experienced the loss of a loved one due to a work accident or injury, financial concerns are likely far from your mind at first. Grief is powerful, especially when your loss comes suddenly. You may find yourself swept up in the process of planning a memorial service and burial.
Afterward, learning to live without someone you once depended on can take all of your mental and emotional focus. However, you should also take time to look into the availability of workers' compensation benefits for your family.
Workers' compensation in Illinois protects those injured and killed on the job
The workers' compensation insurance system exists to protect workers and those who depend on them from financial vulnerability related to an injury or illness caused by work. That coverage also applies to those who lose a loved one as a result of a work accident or injury.
You must file a claim in a timely manner to connect with the benefits you deserve after the loss of a loved one. Thankfully, though the paperwork may frustrate, you will have access to a number of benefits that can offset the financial burden that comes from losing the support of a primary wage earner from your family.
Benefits include medical and funeral expense coverage and wage replacement
If your loved one received medical treatment before succumbing to his or her injuries, those medical expenses should qualify for coverage by workers' compensation insurance. This can significantly reduce the financial pressure on your family, particularly if there was emergency transportation, trauma care or surgery involved, all of which are quite expensive.
Your family or the estate of the deceased can also receive reimbursement for funeral expenses, up to $8,000, following the work-related death of a family member. This can also help a family struggling with a suddenly reduced income ensure their loved one receives a proper memorial and burial.
Finally, surviving dependents, including spouses, children and even parents or siblings can receive death benefits from workers' compensation, paid for up to 25 years or until the amount disbursed reaches $500,000, whichever is greater. The state sets a maximum amount of compensation, which gets routinely updated to reflect state average wages and cost of living.