Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are concerns about whether death benefits are available to the families of people who have died because of the virus. The availability of benefits depends on the policies of their employer, as well as whether COVID-19 is considered a risk in the victim’s particular role.
If your loved one worked in an at-risk role and passed away due to COVID-19, you may be entitled to death benefits. If they did not work in one of these roles, it is still possible that their illness may have been work-related. Our attorneys can evaluate the details of your case to determine if you have a claim.
Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to COVID-19 Victims?
California has created rules which define when workers’ compensation benefits are available in relation to COVID-19 cases. The state has identified firefighters, first responders, in-home caregivers, others who work in healthcare, and more as at-risk employees.
Governor Gavin Newsom passed Executive Order N-62-20 on May 6, 2020. With the passing of this order, California workers received some economic protections from COVID-19 diagnoses. Employees that contracted the virus while working between the dates of March 19th and July 5th are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, as their illness is assumed to be work-related. This applies if a person has tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of working during the established time period. It is possible for employers to refute these claims; however, they must provide proof that the worker’s illness is not work-related. The executive order allows for death benefits provided to the families of victims as well.
Death Benefits in California
Death benefits provide compensation to the families of people who were killed because of an on-the-job injury or illness. Up to $10,000 in burial expense coverage is available to the families of people whose injuries occurred on or after January 1, 2013. If the deceased person had 1 total dependent, the dependent can receive $250,000. The state allows $290,000 in death benefits for 2 or more total dependents and $320,000 for 3 or more total dependents. If the deceased person had 1 total dependent and at least 1 partial dependent, the available benefits are “$250,000 plus four times annual support for partial dependents not to exceed $290,000.” In cases in which there are only partial dependents, the available benefits are “eight times annual support not to exceed $250,000,” according to the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.
If you are interested in speaking with our legal team, send us a message or call (310) 242-8933 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.