Workplace accidents occasionally result in the death of the worker. In such cases, the worker’s family usually wonders whether they can collect workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical and funeral expenses and lost income. Fortunately for Connecticut families, the state’s workers’ compensation system provides generous benefits for the family of a worker killed in a job-related accident.

The statute states that dependents of a worker who died “on account of death resulting from an accident arising out of and in the course of employment or from an occupational disease” are entitled to the benefits specified in the statute. Each family of a worker who dies from a job-related accident or illness is entitled to $4,000 as reimbursement for funeral expenses. Dependents who were wholly reliant on the worker for financial support are entitled to receive weekly compensation equal to 75 percent of the deceased worker’s net earnings. The rate of payment is adjusted annually.

If the surviving spouse is the worker’s sole dependent, he or she is entitled to receive survivor’s benefits until death or remarriage. If the deceased worker is survived by dependent children, all payments of survivor benefits are made to the surviving spouse. If the worker is survived by children from another marriage, the survivor benefits are paid to each surviving child. If a worker leaves children but no spouse, the children share in the benefits in equal shares. The eligibility of a child ends when the child turns 22.

Payment of survivor benefits can be complicated by the residency or citizenship of surviving dependents, by the children’s ages and other factors. Anyone who has lost a spouse or parent in a work-related accident may wish to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for advice on benefit eligibility, how to apply and whether to appeal a denial of benefits.