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Work-Related Deaths

Workers Compensation Death Benefits

My condolences to you and your family.


If your loved one died as a result of a work injury, you have my deepest sympathy. I am workers compensation death benefits attorney.  Renée Yvonne Gardner - (408) 214-5555. Your heart is broken but you are not alone - please contact me.

If your loved one passed away due to a workplace accident, you may make a claim for workers compensation death benefits. Depending on the circumstances, you may also file a wrongful death case, which I also handle.

Please read on to learn more.

What Type Of Workers Comp Benefits Are Provided To The Dependents Of The Deceased Employee?

Benefits can be paid to the dependents of someone who died as a result of a job-related accident or illness. These are called "death benefits".

What Are Workers Comp Death Benefits?

Death benefits are payments made by the deceased employer's workers' comp insurance. The payments get paid to a spouse, children, or other dependents if an employee died from a work-related injury or illness. Death benefits include reasonable burial expenses not exceeding $10,000 for injures on or after January 1, 2013.

Am I Responsible For My Deceased Family Member's Medical Bills?

No. Workers' compensation is to pay these bills. The bills are not your responsibility. If workers comp pays your deceased family member's medical bills, and you end up making a wrongful death civil case too, then workers comp insurance company has a right to be reimbursed for paying the medical bills. But, certain procedures have to be followed by the workers comp insurance carrier in order to demand this reimbursement.

How Are Workers Comp Death Benefits Calculated?

The amount of the death benefits to be received by any given person depends on the total number of people who come forward to claim they were economically supported by the worker who passed away. Death benefits are determined at the date of the actual injury; not on the date of death per Labor Code § 4702(a).

Death benefits are paid at the same rate as the employee's temporary disability rate (but not less than $224), under Labor Code § 4702(b). The amount of the death benefit depends on the number of total and/or partial dependents. The "temporary disability benefit rate" is two-thirds of the employee's "average weekly earnings", under Labor Code § 4653.

How much does workers comp pay for death?

Workers' compensation death benefits include:

  • up to $10,000 for burial expenses; and
  • up to $320,000 for the injured worker's dependents.

This is the maximum total payout no matter how many dependents. But there are exceptions to this rule, for example, when one or more dependents were:

  • under the age of 18 years old the date of the worker's injury, or
  • disabled on the date of the worker's injury.

In California, a minor is a person who has not yet had their 18th birthday.

How Much Do I Get If  My Family Died On The Job?

The below table shows 2021 Workers Compensation Death Benefits

For injuries on or after January 1, 2013:

  • Burial expenses: $10,000
  • 1 total dependent: $250,000
  • 2 or more total dependents: $290,000
  • 3 or more total dependents: $320,000
  • 1 total dependent and 1 or more partial dependents: $250,000 plus 4 times annual support for partial dependents, not to exceed $250,000
  • 1 or more partial dependents: 8 times annual support, not to exceed $250,000

For injuries prior to January 1, 2013:

Same as above but burial expenses are $5,000.

Who Gets Workers Comp Death Benefits Payments?

Death benefits are paid to dependents of the deceased worker. The dependents are called "claimants". Figuring out “dependency” is based on facts that existed on the date of injury, not on the date of death, per Labor Code § 3502. The temporary disability benefit rate is two-thirds of the deceased employee's average weekly earnings, under Labor Code § 4653.

Who Are Workers Comp Death Benefits Dependents?

A death benefits dependent is in “good faith a member of the family or household of the employee”, or is one of these people:

  • spouse
  • child
  • posthumous child (this means a child born after the worker died)
  • adopted child
  • stepchild
  • grandchild
  • father
  • mother
  • father-in-law
  • mother-in-law
  • grandfather
  • grandmother
  • brother
  • sister
  • uncle
  • aunt
  • brother-in-law
  • sister-in-law
  • nephew
  • niece.

At What Age Will The Child Of An Employee Who Died Due To A Work-Related Injury No Longer Be Eligible To Receive Benefits From Workers Compensation?

In the case of one or more totally dependent minors, after payment of the amounts specified above, death benefits will continue until the youngest minor's 18th birthday. Each disabled minor in will continue to receive death benefits for the remainder of their life.

How Are Death Benefits Paid?

Death benefits are paid at the total temporary disability rate, but not less than $224.00 per week. Payments are issued every 2 weeks.

When Do I Have To File A Workers Comp Death Benefits Case?

There are three possible deadlines:

  1. One year (365 calendar days) from the date of death, when the death happened within one year (365) days from the date of the injury OR
  2. One year (365 calendar days) from date of last payment of workers comp benefits to the worker who is now deceased OR
  3. One year (365 days) from the date of death, if the death happened more than one year after the date of the work injury.

A death benefits case can not be filed (started) more than 240 weeks (4.6 years) from the date of injury.


I'm Renée Yvonne Gardnerthe attorney at Gardner Law, death case law office. I represent people with personal injurywrongful death and work-related death cases.

If your loved one was killed as a result of a work injury, or work illness, please contact me. When a worker's death is caused by their job, special benefits are available. People who can get benefits are adults, minors and even babies in the womb, if they depended on the deceased worker for financial support.

The specific benefits available are based on the claimant's relation to the deceased worker, and how much the deceased worker financially supported the claimant before the date of injury, and other factors. In the name of your loved one who passed away, and your family, I will fight for what is right. Please contact me at (408) 214-5555 or here:

Making a false or fraudulent workers compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Call Renée Today

For one-on-one and personalized representation in serious personal injury auto accidents, wrongful death auto accidents, consumer protection or "cleaning" your criminal record, call (408) 214-5555 or fill out my contact form.