Article 41 of the Colorado code establishes a workers’ compensation system in Colorado that provides benefits to people who are injured at work. Under this system, employers purchase insurance and pay benefits for all work-related injuries. Sometimes, however, a work accident or work injuries can cause a death. When this occurs, the dependents of the person who was killed at work are entitled to benefits.
The death benefits provided to dependents of people injured at work are comprehensive and include payment of funeral costs as well as payment for the lost income that the deceased person is no longer able to provide. However, only certain dependents are entitled to these benefits and insurance companies often try to limit the amount they have to pay out or even deny claims entirely. If you are entitled to dependency & death benefits in Colorado, the Boulder workers’ compensation attorneys at The Dominick Law Firm can help. Residents of Boulder, Thornton, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Lyons, Mead, Loveland, Wheatridge, Greeley, Ft. Collins, Superior, Denver and the entire Colorado front range can contact us today at (303) 447-2644 or using our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.
Colorado Workers’ Compensation Laws and Dependency/Death Benefits
Several provisions of the Colorado Workers Compensation laws address death benefits due to dependents of workers who are killed at work. For instance:
- According to 8-42-114, dependents of someone who is killed at work are entitled to receive 66 2/3 of the weekly wages the deceased employee was earning, subject to state limits.
- According to 8-42-115, when an injury sustained at work is a direct cause of a subsequent death, the benefits paid depend upon whether the deceased has any dependents. When there are no dependents, workers’ comp benefits are limited to medical, hospital and funeral expenses as well as benefits that accrued during the course of the deceased’s life after the injury but before the death. Dependents and partial dependents, however, are entitled to up to 66 2/3 of the deceased’s weekly wages.
- According to 8-42-116, when workers’ comp benefits have not yet run out and the person receiving the benefits dies of something unrelated to a work-injury, dependents who rely on the deceased for support are entitled to continue receiving the money the deceased would have received if he had lived. If the deceased was receiving permanent total disability, the maximum period of these payments is six years. In other words, if your loved one is supporting you with workers’ comp benefits and dies of a heart attack unrelated to his work injury, you can still keep collecting his workers’ comp benefits.
- According to 8-42-117, when workers’ comp benefits have not yet run out, and the person receiving the benefits dies of something unrelated to a work-injury, partial dependents who rely on the deceased for part of their support may also receive a portion of the benefits the employee would have received if he had lived. 8-42-119 provides further details about the compensation available to partial dependents.
- According to 8-42-120, a dependent widow or widower can receive death benefits for life or until remarriage. If there are no dependent children, the spouse of the deceased may also receive a two-year lump sum payment upon remarriage, less the cost of any prior lump sum payments.
These laws are intended to make sure that people who lose their loved one as a result of a work injury do not also lose their means of financial support. Unfortunately, sometimes insurance companies will unfairly deny claims, terminate the payment of claims early or otherwise to try to limit the compensation of those left behind by the deceased.
The Dominick Law Firm can help you to get the dependency & death benefits you deserve. Our Boulder workers’ compensation firm has assisted clients with death benefits claims throughout Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield, Greeley, Ft. Collins, Superior, Denver and the entire Colorado front range. Contact us today at (303) 447-2644 or using our online form for a free consultation to learn how we can help.