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Posted On 05.27.15 by in Workers' Compensation
Several months ago, the widow of a worker who lost his life at work finally received a decision from the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission that awarded her $400,000. The incident that took her husband’s life occurred almost two years ago. On that day, it was raining when the man arrived to work. As he walked out of his car, he put his hood over his head, and this was when he was accidentally run over by a co-worker. Since then, his surviving spouse has been fighting to get the death benefits available to her under worker’s compensation, and she was finally awarded compensation.
In Maryland, the workers’ comp committee uses a specific formula to determine the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that are provided. This formula is based on the worker’s average weekly wage. However, in the case of death benefits, the formula is a little different. For death benefits, the commission must first determine if the surviving spouse or children were dependents of the deceased worker. The commission must also determine if they were wholly dependent or partially dependent because this will affect the award amount.
This specific case took a long time to resolve because the commission needed to investigate the spouse’s dependency. Looking at financial records and the spouse’s testimony, the commission discovered that she was not working at the time and was wholly dependent on the deceased worker. This meant that she was entitled to two-thirds of his average weekly wage for as long as she would still be dependent.
Because both the worker and his spouse were at an age close to retirement, the commission decided that these benefits will end a few years after she becomes eligible for social security and retirement benefits, at which point she will no longer be dependent. She will receive a weekly payment of $721 for the next 11 years until she turns 70 years old.
Another reason this case took two years to resolve may be because of the complex questions regarding workplace eligibility. In Maryland, there are many requirements that determine if an injury is protected under worker’s compensation. For example, the injury must both arise out of employment and occur during the work period.
Just because an injury occurs while driving to work or in the work parking lot, it does not automatically mean that the injured party is entitled to benefits. There are still complex legal questions that must be answered, and that’s why it’s always helpful to get the assistance of an experienced legal attorney. Fortunately for the surviving spouse and her family, the commission correctly determined that she was entitled to benefits and now, she will be able to support herself.
If you have recently been injured at work or if someone in your family was killed in a workplace accident, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately. Our attorneys have experience helping injured workers get the benefits that they are entitled to, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
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